Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Looking Ahead in 2022

It is impossible to be a Nostradamus when it comes to the future but it is worth looking at what lies ahead in 2022 and be prepared for what to expect, writes Prabhakar Mundkur

Omicron is the ongoing variant but the virus’s job is to keep surviving
Omicron is the ongoing variant but the virus’s job is to keep surviving

Pandemic

There is little doubt that the pandemic is far from over.  While many proclaim that the Omicron variant is the last dying gasps of a virus that took the world by storm, it is impossible to predict what the virus might do next.  It is our job to try and eliminate the virus from the world. It is the virus’s job to keep on surviving.  And with every step we take to pulverise it, it seems to have a mind of its own, and it keeps changing its colour and shape like a chameleon in its effort to fight back humanity. My prediction is that life might get better but the virus is here to stay in many ways.  That might mean vaccinations every year for a long time.

 

Health

India, unlike the developed countries, has never attached too much importance to public health.  The pandemic might well have changed that.  India spends only 1.3% of its GDP on public health while the US spent 18% of its GDP on public health in 2020.  While the optimists are always trying to assure us that we are close to being a developed country, that yawning gap tells us how far we might be from the health objectives of a developed country.  But our current emphasis on public health is likely to change slowly.

Don’t leave home without your health passport!
Don’t leave home without your health passport!

Health Passports

The pandemic may have started it, but I think health passports (or medical proof of vaccination etc) are here to stay.  Being healthy will become more important.  This will apply both to local travel and international travel. So along with carrying your driver’s license, Aadhar cards, passports and other documents, carrying your health documents with you will become important.

Spitting in India is prolific and a barrier to development
Spitting in India is prolific and a barrier to development

Social Behaviour

While the optimists tell us how we are racing towards development our social behaviour belies the fact that we are still a developing country.  In spite of the progress made by Swachh Bharat, other behaviours like spitting on the road, will be a barrier to development.  So is jostling each other in a queue, or to board a bus or train.  Until we learn to be more patient with each other and extend public courtesy to other citizens we might continue to exhibit all the signs of a poor country.

 

Smartphones will be our “go to”; but at a price
Smartphones will be our “go to”; but at a price

The Mobile Phone

The mobile phone will continue to be our repository of personal data.  Our health records, our bank accounts, our insurance, and every other kind of personal information will continue to be stored on this device.  

This will make us more prone to scam attacks.  

Too much private information is flowing to public domain
Too much private information is flowing to public domain

Privacy

It is about time that citizens get together to fight for better privacy laws in our country. Receiving a few scam calls a day has now become routine and we are almost immune to it.  The public tool of DnD is rendered practically useless.  Unsolicited calling needs to be banned.   Also our personal data is available to all and sundry.  Our health and car insurances, for example, have become public property along with our phone numbers.  Our car registration numbers are available publicly even through the most lowly apps in the market. So is our driving license and other details.  Too much private information is flowing in the public domain.  Our government institutions need to take this in hand. 

Wheelchair access is not up to speed
Wheelchair access is not up to speed

Equality for the physically challenged

We have a long way to go in making the lives of our less privileged population more comfortable so that they can enjoy all the good things that we do.

Most retail outlets, even the most well-known and prestigious ones lack wheelchair access. So do our theatres, public transport, other entertainment spots, our office buildings and a host of other venues.

This is unlikely to change in 2022 or even any time soon.  Our developmental planners need to be more evolved to think of these things.

In pursuit of all things that make us happy
In pursuit of all things that make us happy

Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is no longer a state of being, it has now become a pursuit.  Books, workshops, classes, yoga, meditation and other tools are part of the tool-kit for happiness.  The pressures of modern life have made us relatively unhappy and we will therefore continue to pursue happiness with increased emphasis even if it is through artificial means.                

Find peace with changing times
Find peace with changing times

Right v/s Left

Right-wingism is here to stay. While it may upset the left wingers, we seem to be a long way from tilting that balance.  There is no knowing how long it will stay, so those who are unhappy with it might as well find their own personal peace. Instead of resisting it, just be aware of it and don’t try to fight it is my personal advice.

Gone are the days when our nation was less corrupt
Gone are the days when our nation was less corrupt

Corruption

Corruption will only grow worse not better. By now it is in our bloodstream. We will not be able to overcome it through legislation.  It is now part of social fabric.  For us to be incorrupt we will have to become proud again.  Because a proud person would find it demeaning to accept money that is not due to him. The Swadeshi movement 75 years ago made us proud. 

The Swadeshi movement brought us commitment and pride in producing something that was Indian. If we were as proud as we were at the time of our Independence, we may become less corrupt.  A bribe needs to hurt your sense of personal pride. Today it doesn’t.

We need another movement as powerful as Swadeshi to transform the public mind.

The Year of the Tiger
The Year of the Tiger

 

The Year of the Tiger

2022 is the year of the Tiger.  It is a symbol of strength, exorcising evils, and courage.  May we all be blessed with these qualities in abundance to conquer our personal demons and obstacles that might come our way during the New Year.

Happy New Year to all!

Prabhakar Mundkur
Prabhakar Mundkur is an advertising veteran, a lateral thinker, storyteller and musician. A coffee aficionado, husband and a father of two, he also describes himself as dogs’ best friend.

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