March 25, 2020

Carona Virus and the Generation Gap

Posted in Chit Chat at 4:39 pm by వసుంధర

Here is a very relevant and beautiful article on the title subject, which should be read by present and older generations:

Fighting with my father

Because he wants to go out and buy chicken with Covid-19 in the air

Now it’s not that i don’t understand my father. Or his generation. This is a group of people who have internalised a different notion of risk acceptance. The world they lived in forced them to tolerate a high level of risk, you had to ride a speeding bus by balancing on the edge of the last stair, holding sweatily onto a rod with your nose nestling in some stranger’s armpit, it was either this or not going to work. They let us play cricket on the streets with cars rolling by, they didn’t call to find out where we were every few minutes, because we had no mobile phones, and landlines didn’t work much anyway.

Public outreach is not going to change this mental model of risk. Any janata curfew will ultimately be broken, because people of a certain age, paradoxically the one that is most at risk, aren’t going to take it seriously. Add to it WhatsApp conspiracy theories which thrive on confirmation bias and so-and-so said this-and-that, and what we have is a ticking time bomb whose clock is now just a tick before blastoff.

The only way out is conversation. Talk to your elders. Give them the “or Gabbar Singh will take you away” conversation they once gave you. Use every emotional atyachaar trick you know works on them, accept you are over-reacting (don’t get into that futile science argument) but still insist they stay home. Because ultimately what will make them stay at home safe won’t be headlines or the PM or mathematical models from WHO. It will be you.

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