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Sunday, Jun 21, 2020 16:30 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jun 21, 2020 10:50 [IST]

Adapting to the new normal

Window Seat

Mrinal Chatterjee

The term ‘new normal’ is used to imply that something which was previously abnormal has become commonplace. The term arose from the context of cautioning the belief of economists and policy makers that industrial economies would revert to their most recent means post the 2007-2008 financial crisis. This word came to vogue from 2009-10. It is being increasingly used in the context of the changes brought in life, lifestyle and economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life is changing- fast. Social distancing, staying indoors, covering the face when one goes outside- these practices are changing the way we interacted with each other and the society at large. It is also impacting the way we have learnt to work and do business, the way we have been imparted education.

This change is shaking us, rattling us, confusing us. It takes time to adjust to the change. In normal times change happens slowly and we adjust to the changed circumstances at our own pace. However, the pace of change has suddenly become so fast that it is becoming difficult for us to keep pace with the changed environment.

Expert voices from different fields are telling us to prepare for the “New Normal”. A recent research conducted by Well Being Trust, an American Academic of family Physician warns that the social, economic and psychologicalramifications resulting from the current pandemic may lead to a growing number of suicides born out of sheer despair.

Human beings have the gift of biological and psychological of plasticity, the ability to adapt to changing environmentwith thoughtful and creative responses through such adaptations our ancestors increased their chances of survival throughout evolution. 

Louisiana State University business professor named Leon C. Megginson said in 1963 that “According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

Once we stop despising whatever is coming our way and face it with courage and mindfulness, the worst gets over and the new possibilities emerge. In the present circumstances, therefore, we need to modify our responses and be prepared for the new normal.

Framing Issues

The media coverage of the plight of hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers returning home brought into focus their problems. It made the well-heeled class aware of the invisible people who build a city and form its lifeline, who run factories, who sell knick-knacks at the pavement and golgappa at the bazaar. It underlined the necessity of a comprehensive data bank of migrant labourers and a safety net.

Young film actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has brought the issues of depression and mental health into public discourse.Coverage of his death in some television channels have also brought public criticism. As a former journalist and presently media teacher, I believe- dead bodies deserve dignity, and there has to be some poise in its coverage.

Tailpiece: Next Caller Tune

During this crucial time, mask is not a mere accessory! It's important that we wear it properly and use it as a protective measure against COVID-19.

The next BSNL caller tune should be to ask People to wear masks that cover their mouth and nose and not their Chin.

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Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and translates poetry. An anthology of his translated poems has just been published.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi