Addicts of yester year had an anthem song which they sang (Jhoom (sway) baraabar (Unabashedly) Jhoom (sway) sharaabi (those satiated by alcohol) once the heady liquid of the gods (soma) unlocked all inhibitions. Today’s addicts may as well sing ‘Zoom baraabar, Zoom hamesha (forever)’ as they “Zoom in and Zoom out” all day and well in to the night locked up in their little spaces desperately trying to make conversation to beat boredom in the wake of Covid 19.  Zoom, the most favoured among a long list of apps with fancy names is truly booming and touted as the perfect antidote to boredom. “How many?” maybe the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) as business honchos, spiritual gurus, networking predators and all and sundry address people whose faces pop up on screens and enthuse them to give their valuable advice. Numbers today have become a major inspiration to a world, accustomed to viewing people in numbers (tested, recovering or dead) since the pandemic with deadly repercussions numbed the world. Alongside this maze of numbers and efforts to produce a vaccine are the non-stop conversations that isolation seems to have spurred and advice on courses (from yoga to yodeling) and skills (gardening to language learning) that can be acquired. “This is the best time” you can hear optimistic voices croon about what is possibly the worst time of our lives when loss of livelihoods threatens to be as severe as the loss of lives.

 Multiple groups yearning for the “I’ve done it too” tag join networkers and the inner engineering brigade, adding to the traffic of laptop and mobile parties. Will this overt marketing and outer conversation succeed in quelling fears and anxiety about a world that may have changed forever?  Frankly I have no answer to this as my conversations are mostly internal with the windows visible to none. The inner voice for me has been strong, growing into voices over the years alongside changes that constantly define and redefine life. Back in my school days we sang a song penned by an unknown author that spoke about the inner voice that struck a chord. The song goes “There are voices all around us, our enemies and our friends/ Do this, don’t do that, the chorus never ends/ But I shall always listen to that quiet inner voice/ It’s still and definite and I have made my choice”. The inner voice experience is to an extent, a legacy from my dear father who quite often put up his hands in desperation after an intense inner conversation although he was normally the most cheerful of men who lit up the surroundings with his subtle humour, endless anecdotes and wisdom. Back to the subject of change and coping with it. I am not against listening to view points, expert advice, master classes or music sessions. An open mind and willingness to learn are always welcome but it is the endless conversations and analyses that leave no time for a calm inner reflection that are becoming worrisome.

 The pandemic has shown us the interconnectedness of the entire world and the need for social   interaction which makes life meaningful. At the same time we need enough time to reflect and gain inner strength to accept change. The greatest lesson for me in these times is the acceptance of   unforeseen changes since acceptance alone places us in control of a situation.  Beautiful lines from the book “Conversations with God” are an ode to change. “Celebrate the shifting sands as they form new mountains you would climb and atop which you will build your new castles. Yet understand that these mountains and castles are monuments to change and not to permanence”. Whether you Zoom in or not, make sure to listen to your inner voice and reflect on, accept and celebrate change, the only constant.