At a time when people are dropping dead owing to this virus, there is a whole host of people going live on social media. The Man from Madras Musings notices that anything and everything is grist to their mill – haircuts, washing vessels, cooking, workouts, yoga sessions and much more. MMM realizes that he should be thankful these publicity stunts don’t have anything of a more intimate nature.

That these are mere stunts MMM has no doubt about, for he is of the view that all of these people, celebrities every one of them in their own right, have been so much in the limelight that they cannot imagine life outside of it. Which is why all these desperate attempts. But MMM has to give it to them – they being masters of how to appear before the camerathey manage to make most of these shows as aesthetic as possible. That cannot be said of the mango people as a politician’s son in law, (or was it brother in law?), described the rest of us. Taken up by the rich and famous going live, a whole lot of others have decided to follow suit. Unfortunately, cameras pointing up nostrils, lighting more noticeable by being absent, and singing offkey do not make for good programmes. But if people are willing to make public displays of themselves, who is MMM to complain?

And then we have the grim left wingers who have long ago given up on smiling. To them doom is always around the corner and even the thought that it is already upon us does not get them to bare their teeth. This lot, who probably cannot detect humour even if it is served up to them on a plate, go around trashing anything and everything. If someone put up a video of some food item they cooked, the immediate response is about how insensitive the whole thing is considering that so many others are starving. True, but cook shows have always been around haven’t they? As has starvation. While not for a moment condoning the insensitivity given the times, MMM must point out that these displays of food are not in any way stopping the flow of relief to the deserving. So why not just accept these culinary displays as another aspect of life’s infinite variety? By the way, MMM has been asked by many as to why he does not go live – watering plants, being kind to dogs, looking happy among flowers, etc. but he has chosen to resist this temptation thus far. 

He did however accept a couple of invitations to talk online. MMM did not realise that he would have a kind of ringside view of most participants and was rather shocked to find that many of them, chiefly male, turned up in sleeveless vests and were not above scratching themselves. Some lounged about in bed and sofas and kept lifting their arms. It was enough to put MMM off for life. The women, and in this the lady from Lancashire who once took umbrage over MMM writing in such vein will forgive him, were better turned out but a couple were in their nightgowns, rather like Wee Willie Winkie of the nursery rhyme. 

Like the go live shows, liked and hated in equal measure are these lockdown laughs – you know that perennial supply of jokes on life during lockdown. They had their heyday during the first three weeks and then even as the lockdown kept getting extended, people grew steadily tiredand have stopped circulating them. But while they lasted, they had a field day. Jokes about husbands learning to cook, women having to work from home, manage the kids and cook for them, the travails of washing vessels in the absence of domestic help, the queues in front of the few shops that have been kept open, and the non-availability of liquor have all circulated, been laughed at and gone. Now these is a sense of foreboding. It is like one of those wars that jingoists assure us is already won and then when it comes to the actual fighting you realise that the enemy is quite well equipped and not the walkover we thought they would be. 

Be that as it may, MMM prefers these laughs any day when compared to those go live programmes. As is often said, laughter is the best medicine, and so may we have the courage to at least smile through these times.