D is for Distancing

Hello and welcome to this year’s edition of the #A to Z Challenge.

As mentioned in my theme reveal, CoVid has undeniably impacted all our lives and introduced us to many new things, ideas and words. Some of them are literally life changing while others we hope will soon vanish once the Virus vanishes or mutates to a harmless little creature.

Join me as I share with you new lessons and words that I have learned through Life In the Times of Corona.

Distance is a familiar concept

Social distancing was one of the better outcomes of the pandemic . No longer was I considered a prickly pear or weirdo when I did a Namaste or asked someone to back off while waiting in line. I was appreciated as a socially aware and well meaning global citizen .

In the Indian context, greetings were always exchanged with a slight bow and folded hands. And always with a respectable distance. The polite Namaste has a grace and dignity about it, a humble recognition of the soul in front of you.

The word Namaste is a Sanskrit word that actually means I bow to you.

Keeping people at an arm’s length was a familiar practice too.

Personally speaking, as a little girl, if my dad wanted me to get to do something, he only had to threaten me with a kiss and I would quickly run away and do it. I just hated to be hugged and cuddled.

Don’t kiss me!

This explains why I am averse to casual hugs in greeting. So often I find myself hugging a complete stranger just because everyone in the room has hugged him!

As for kissing: that is a complete no-no.

During my college years, I attended the Alliance Francaise to learn French. I loved those classes that taught us the language and the culture. They were fun. Most of the teachers were French and we tried to pick up their innate style and “frenchness”.

But the one thing I couldn’t stand was the greeting with a kiss on each cheek! Some of my friends carried this on to our meeting outside of class just to establish how different we were from the others.

More horrifying than this was greeting a delegation of Dutch businessmen.

Imagine three wet kisses planted by 4-5 Dutchmen in quick succession! Yuck !

Luckily this has been replaced by the completely fake air kissing ‘muah,muah’.

Handshakes,bearhugs & queues?

Shaking hands is marginally better thought not my preferred choice of greeting.

I once had the misfortune of seeing a man pick his nose before he came out of the shadows to greet us. At that time I took shelter under the guise that I was in ‘purdah’ and could not shake hands with strange men . I just nodded my head in greeting as I did a namaste.

Being just about five feet off the ground , I am mostly swept into bear hugs that leave me either crushed by someone’s bosoms or suspended over a heaving tummy.

It’s not only greeting but even standing in a bus or train which in close quarters leave me smelling underarms! And waiting in queues with heavy breathing round my neck ….. ugh. Ugh ugh.

So you can see why I was thrilled when Social Distancing became the norm .

Supposedly the virus is transmitted through the air and an infected person can transfer it by sneezing , coughing or even talking.

Luckily, the virus can’t jump beyond six feet so everyone is advised to keep a safe distance from one another.

Do send in your comments and see you tomorrow.

Ciao

By Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking! And how could I forget blogging ????

21 comments

  1. Oh Unishta, I totally understand that you can feel bad about kisses (I mean in the life before Covid). We, French, are used to kiss on cheeks at least twice (but I see you had experience with 3 kisses, and in some areas in France they kiss 4 times!! Yeah, it’s too much, even for me). Of course we don’t do it anymore since social distance is the new norm. I miss it though, because I mostly kiss my friends and people I like (for strangers, we do handshake, no kiss!!). It can be seen as a very intimate gesture, but in my opinion a hug in the US way is much more intimate than our kiss. Except the cheek, bodies do not touch.
    Anyway, no more contact now, and it’s pretty amazing how French people have learned so quickly how to avoid contact with others. Sad, very sad…
    Well, this looooong comment to tell you, don’t worry, you didn’t offend me nor French people ;)))
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

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  2. Loved reading this post. Had a few Ha! Ha! moments too– thank you.
    Although, I do like to hug my friends and family and miss giving/receiving those, I’m all for ‘social distancing’ in public.
    And that ‘parda’ trick– have used it. You gotta do what you gotta do to keep safe:)

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  3. Haha Loved it.. and being am Indian i could relate to each and every word.. we all have been brought up with the teachings of social distancing .. it was really not comfortable to adapt the hugs and kisses culture.. all thanks to the virus that world has understood the meaning and importance of distancing and respecting ..

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    1. I’m so happy to know that I’m not alone in not wanting to be touched. The new generation of Indians happily hugs and kisses strangers though

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  4. Shouldn’t it be called physical distancing instead of social distancing? Anyway, loved your take on kissing. That’s a rather silly habit except in bed with the right person.

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    1. Yes perhaps it’s more physical than social but for some reason that’s the word used these days . I suppose one only needs to be distanced in a ‘social’ setting. If you are alone you are isolated anyways … ?

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  5. While I enjoy and miss hugs, I do understand that it’s not for everyone. I have a few close friends and family members who I know don’t enjoy that type of greeting. It will be interesting to see how people approach greetings once COVID is (hopefully) gone. Weekends In Maine

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  6. Loved it. Esp. the part about being able to smell sweaty underarms. As much as I am constantly gloomy about the virus, I am really glad about the concept of distancing 🙂

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  7. The hug thing was a bit odd. I like to think of touch as an expression of emotion, and so why hug a stranger you never met before? But in the US it was a thing (for some people) before COVID, and I found it odd. But now we’re bumping elbows and fists. Somehow, I think that’s even more odd.

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    1. I’m glad you agree that it’s a bit strange to be so physical with strangers . And bumping elbows or pumping fists is equally odd . Perhaps it is a tribal thing to show acknowledgment of the other person in a peaceful way that makes us want to greet strangers with touch .

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  8. I like very firm, squishy hugs, but those kisses, yuck. Even worst, people in your personal space, breathing their breath on you and inches away. Ugh! Worst thing ever. I really appreciate social distancing, for sure! And I work hard to avoid crowds. Yep, I am a weird person, too!

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