In this ‘A-Z of Lockdown’ series, I've attempted to alphabetically present topics that have grabbed mass attention, made the headlines, or has been put to heavy use across the world (some specific to India only) amidst the pandemic. It may very well redefine what the English alphabets stand for (at least unofficially)! Let’s find out what letter stands for what nowadays, shall we?
If you like my content, I’m glad to say that it isn’t the first time I posted stuff like this. You can see another similar post I have done on Bored Panda here.
L For Llama
In the worldwide quest for finding a cure for COVID-19, Winter, a cute Llama growing up in the Belgian countryside, could emerge as the provider of a viable treatment. Let’s hope that this research turns out to be a successful one!
M For Mask
In the wake of the pandemic, the demand for masks has skyrocketed. There's tension in the Marvel and DC universes as well. Everyone wants the face mask in their team! Should it join DC or Marvel? And why? Let me know in the comments section!
V For Vaccine
Researchers around the world are working tirelessly to come up with a cure for the deadly virus. Hopefully, whosoever succeeds in doing so will utilize it, not for personal gains, but to benefit the entire humankind. Meanwhile, the vaccines are having a friendly race amongst themselves. The prize is worth it. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid world trip!
A For Alcohol
Z For Zoom
Since the announcement of lockdown in most parts of the world, services/businesses that could operate remotely quickly adopted the concept of 'Work-from-home.' This resulted in, among other things, a proliferation of online meetings and webinars! Although the Zoom app has been heavily criticized for security and encryption reasons, one cannot deny the fact that, out of 10 meetings/webinar requests, at least 6/7 are on Zoom. During the Lockdown period, Zoom has surpassed veterans like Skype and Google Meet in terms of popularity and usage, at least in India.
B For Bed
For many, the bed is the new favorite workstation for work-from-home. The flexibility it offers is truly unmatched.
N For Netflix
With several streaming options that some of us (the privileged plebs) have access to, binging has overtaken all other forms of entertainment. Especially now when staying indoors is highly recommended, for our own sake. On the brighter side, these platforms have somehow managed to convince us to stay at home, thereby reducing our chances of getting exposed to the virus.
O For Ozone Layer
The massive hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic is now closed, as per the UN World Meteorological Organisation (23 April 2020). The hole had formed due to the presence of ozone-depleting CFCs in the atmosphere, and extremely cold winter in the stratosphere. Fun fact: This plugging of the ozone layer has nothing to do with the lockdown. According to scientists, it has been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, the high-altitude currents that bring cold air to the polar regions, and nothing to do with the changes in air quality around the world.
E For Essential Items
For smokers, cigarettes do qualify as an essential item. However, the sale of cigarettes was banned in India for a while. Did they consider our thoughts before imposing a blanket ban on the sale of tobacco products? NO! Is cigarette still being sold illegally and with increased tariff? YES!
H For Hand Wash
Remember how we used to gleefully ignore our parent's instructions of washing hands after coming back from outside, before eating, etc.? Well, well, well. The universe does work in mysterious ways! Anyway, don't ignore the "20 seconds" rule. Also, keep the tap turned off during the rinsing process! Don't give rise to another crisis while trying to address one. Summer is here.
P For PPE
In the war against COVID-19, the significance of the PPEs is self-explanatory and non-negotiable. There shouldn't be any IFs and BUTs. And not just for the health care personnel, but also for the sanitation/municipal workers, who are risking their lives daily to protect ours!
C For Crude Oil
The lifeblood of the world economy suffered severe blows recently when its demand went down to an all-time low. With no or little domestic needs amidst Lockdown, most countries refused to purchase it, leaving the oil-tankers stranded in the open seas across the globe. However, given the urgency to revive economic activities, it'd regain its throne in no time! It'd be "Bye Bye, Clean Air" soon.
F For Fake News
This issue has been plaguing us for quite some time now. What is equally surprising, bewildering, and disgusting is that, even during an unprecedented situation like we are in right now, the agents of chaos are still very much active, relentlessly spewing venom.
G For Gourmet Cuisine
This lockdown has brought out the inner 'Gordon Ramsay' in everyone (well, with a few exceptions, of course!). From baking banana bread to cooking fancy pasta to preparing exotic salads, quite a few have become culinary artists.
W For Wuhan
The coronavirus outbreak came to light on 31 Dec 2019 when China informed the WHO of a few cases of pneumonia (unknown cause) in the Wuhan City of Hubei Province. Since then, the virus has spread across more than 200 countries and territories, with over 5M, confirmed cases, and around 330K casualties. Although Wuhan is considered the 'epicenter,' quite a few media houses have expressed concerns over the official figures shared by the Chinese Govt. PS: Google, as we know it, is banned in China.
K For Kerala
When it comes to dealing with large-scale medical emergencies, the State of Kerala leads by example. Be it the Nipah virus of 2018 or the recent COVID-19; the state machinery has always lived up to its well-founded reputation, proving yet again that proper investments in the health and education sectors do pay off. Cheers to their tireless efforts!
U For Unemployment
As always, the pandemic has hit the economically weaker and vulnerable sections of the society the hardest, leaving them without jobs, food, and even shelter. People attempted to walk back to their native places thousands of kilometers away, out of desperation and helplessness, severely weakened by the pangs of hunger and exhaustion, carrying along with them a few possessions and the last of their savings. The visuals of thousands of fellow Indians (including children, pregnant women, and elderly) will continue to haunt some of us for a long time. News of down-sizing, pay-cuts, job termination, etc. are commonplace nowadays, proving that even the lower and the middle-income groups aren't spared.
Y For Yoga Mat
I'm sure many of us, locked up in our houses, cursing our bad fortune, decided to give it a go at a healthier lifestyle. Measures such as cutting down on the outside, junk foods, interacting more with family members and dear ones, restarting a hobby, and, of course, exercising, were a few of them. I'm confident quite a few have been successful in their endeavors. I'm, however, worried about the rest (including myself). Just a little. About the last measure. Will our old pairs of trousers still fit? What if we could utilize the opportunity life gave us? What if that poor yoga mat didn't collect dust the whole time? What if...
I For Immunity Boosters
It turns out our elders were right about the health benefits of these average daily ingredients. These gifts of nature boost the immune system, making our bodies more resilient and hence less vulnerable to infections in general.
D For Dalgona
The latest sensation in the world of beverages! I was mighty surprised when I learned that Dalgona is indeed served cold. I haven't tried it yet. Have you? Should I? Am I missing something?
Q For Queue
No matter what they say or claim, you can be sure of one thing: when asked to stand in a queue while maintaining physical distance and discipline, we, the people of India, certainly won't, no matter what! Even grave warnings about the deadliness of an invisible virus end up in the trash. Be it outside liquor stores, grocery/ration shops, or ticket counters, witnessing such scenes is commonplace. The typical response amongst people, when asked to queue up, is "Kyun?" (which means 'why' and sounds very much like "Q" (how ironic!).
S For Sanitizer
Well, what can I say about the new magic potion? Errr, I mean magic lotion... Sorry, sorry, magic solution! Till we develop a sure shot cure/vaccine for this virus, this is our best defense, since it helps sanitize our anxiety levels as well, in addition to its usual germ-fighting capabilities.
X For X-Rated
It was indeed breaking news all over the internet when one of the top adult entertainment sites made their premium version free during the lockdown period. This initiative was taken to make social distancing successful by encouraging people to stay hooked to their website. The free subscription first started in Italy, followed by Spain and France, and has now been made available globally.
R For Ramayan
All existing TV sitcoms had stopped airing new episodes. To entertain people during the lockdown period, the Broadcasting Ministry of India decided to re-telecast the two most potent weapons (lethal combo of nostalgia and faith) in its arsenal: the mega-series duo of Ramayan and Mahabharat, based on the Indian epics with same names. It had the desired effect.
T For Transport Modes
With the nation-wide lockdown being slowly lifted, the various modes of public transport/paratransit will soon appear on the streets again. For them, it'd be like coming back from a sabbatical.
J For Jugaad
The term 'Jugaad' refers to a flexible approach to problem-solving that innovatively uses limited resources. This pandemic has brought out some of the finest innovations imaginable, a testimony to the ingenuity and the problem-solving capabilities of the human mind. From making new face masks using various materials (t-shirts, etc.), public transport with segregated chambers (e-rickshaws) to developing apparatus to maintain social distancing (delivery of milk, grocery items, etc.), we are witnessing a burst of creativity all around. If necessity is the mother of invention, then frugality is definitely the father.