The Beginning of a New World
TThe post Corona era would witness a fundamental schism as the world emerges into the ‘next-normal’. New world leaders and superpowers will take charge of the world as the United States inches closer to its loss of the superpower title. That being said we will witness a dramatic restructuring of the social and economic order of the world.
This pandemic is a major health crisis at the onset, the focus on health and hygiene-related factors are going to increase manifolds. Sanitiser is set to become the new ‘Ganga Jal’ which will be widely available in every nook and corner of public place and transport. Similarly, personal health is expected to see a paradigm shift from clinic appointments to tele/video appointments. Junk food could become ‘junk’ to a great extent altogether and hygiene parameters of the food joints shall be the top priority over ambiance and taste.
Eating habits and choices are expected to change not only for outside food but for home-cooked food as well. Organic fruits, vegetables, and a host of other organic products could make their way into our kitchens. ‘Haldi ka doodh’ and the ‘Indian Kadha’ could gain their long lost importance alongside ‘warm water’.
Similarly ‘yoga’ and ‘meditation’ are set to take a center stage in the daily routine of people’s lives amongst the already popular ‘workout sessions’.
Work culture is also expected to convert from meetings in Starbucks to Zoom. Remote teams would become increasingly common and managers would need to enhance their team management skills. Companies that are still in the traditional pen-paper mode, would either shut down or shift to the digital way of doing business. A new wave of start-ups in the AI space could emerge, claiming to construct better prediction models.
Spending on credit would reduce, as people would rather earn and spend unlike the western model of spend and earn. This would lead to better financial planning (especially for those who had just enough or no savings to survive through this situation). A safe and sound passive income could start supplementing the savings of households. As health would become the top priority, it would be no surprise if health insurance finds its place in people’s financial statements. The present situation gives a good understanding of the essential, non-essential, and luxury items to every stratum of society, and hence people could become more rational in their spending habits. That being said, people would value their holiday time more and they might be willing to spend more than the current levels.
The biggest shift is expected in the way people travel. People would learn to travel contactless. As social distancing norms become the new normal, air travel is expected to take at least 1.5x more time than what it takes today (end to end). Confirm train tickets will be available for quite some time as people start avoiding non-essential travel. Public buses and metros would be far less crowded than the pre-Corona era. Thermal thermometers along with sanitization tunnels would be present at every entry/exit point. Non — AC cabs will become popular again and air conditioning will no longer be the first choice.
The design of all community places would undergo significant changes in order to facilitate social distancing. For the starters, there are reports that retail outlet layouts at the airport are being reworked. Architects have already started brainstorming the possible design changes of the common spaces in residential and commercial complexes. We might also see some socially accepted restrictions in malls, theaters, etc. in times to come. Masks, would be the new ‘cool’ thing to wear and the ones not wearing it would be frowned upon and they might not even get access to public places. Social gatherings are expected to come down, as big fat Indian weddings, kitty parties, religious gatherings, and all such communal gatherings would see a rapid decline in terms of attendees. In fact, if the Coldplay concert in India was to happen in the post Corona era, tickets would have been sold at one-fourth of the price.
As people put more emphasis on their personal health and take appropriate measures to protect themselves, they will also start caring about their house help’s health. The ones who can afford might also pay for their healthcare. The society could become more caring and empathetic. While going through this pandemic, people have also realized the true beauty of mother earth. The clean waters of our rivers, less pollution, and the sparkling flora and fauna have given us a better living world. Although it would not be continued at its present levels, but people would become more cognizant about this factor.
Personal information like travel history, phone tracking, health history, etc. which were already under the theft scanner, is expected to see a surge. As the governments increase their surveillance efficiency through various mobile apps, drones would most likely become a common sight for any kind of surveillance. Not only the govt, but the society will also see a shift in the way it consumes personal information. On a lighter note, the question to be asked before marriage would be ‘kya aap covid tested hain?’ instead of ‘kya aap manglik hain?’
pandemic would become a part of the curriculum for many educational institutes and will also serve as one of those stories for our grandchildren, similar to ones we heard from our grandfathers about the world wars. Movie and web series directors and stand-up comedians would produce a host of content related to this pandemic.