When Corona Becomes a Memory

By Devraj Singh Kalsi

The world of advertising is already getting creative to give a positive spin to the image of corona virus. Digital media is flush with out-of-the-box renditions. These wonderful interpretations indicate we have the rare ability to mutate this symbol into something exciting.  

Despite its malevolent impact on human lives and livelihood, the image does not look threatening in isolation. When we look back a year or so later, we are likely to remember a lot regarding the pandemic including the lockdown. By that time, the image of the corona virus will be present all around us in a myriad of forms, a living memory eliciting a host of conflicting emotional reactions ranging from anger to awe.

The world of art is certainly going to get busy, with a slew of contests and competitions to promote the novel corona virus in various forms of art, to serve as useful reminders to the global community. A framed post-card size photograph of the corona virus on my writing desk – just like a photograph from a memorable holiday – is my idea of remembering the Covid-19 times.   

Amusement parks are going to have a giant, bright-looking corona virus installed right in the middle. With crowds milling around to get clicked against this backdrop and post it on their social media handles. Installation art inspired by the corona virus is likely to be treasured in museums and other exhibition spaces, with connoisseurs and dilettantes standing in front of these majestic creations to eulogize the arty assets. Expect painters to mount something novel about the corona virus for us in art galleries, perhaps something profoundly abstract to wow our imagination. Writers and poets immortalise the virus in their inimitable verses and voices – through engaging stories and soulful poems. Photographers comprise the only disadvantaged cabal of creative honchos fully deprived of the chance to shoot the invisible virus.  

The pitch is perfect for marketing wizards to capitalize on the corona virus. It will be a tasty surprise if bakeries come up with corona-shaped cakes and pastries for gastronomical delight. Corona ice-cream sounds cool to beat the summer heat. Melt away your fears with yummy sticks and cups of frozen flavours. Bite into a corona chocolate to feel like a warrior who survived the pandemic. Relish traditional Indian sweets like corona laddoo or gulab jamun. Gobbling up the virus in its sweetest form infects you with a vicarious sense of invincible power.

Corona stickers and magnets on the fridge door refresh memories every time you pull the door. Keeping it full of essentials had become quite a challenge – how the booze rack looked deserted during those dry days. Corona lamp shades near the bedside remind you of how widely you read during the lockdown phase. Let imagination run wild to think of where and in what form the corona virus can be immortalised.  

Apparel brands are sure to launch a new line of clothing. Winning the big fight against the corona virus creates heroes everywhere and they need visual celebration of their grand conquest. T-shirts emblazoned with corona virus on the back or right in front for chest-thumping. Caps, handkerchiefs, and several other accessories carry the imprint wherever possible. Jewellery makers roll out a corona collection of ear-rings in gold – those dangling pieces remind women how the virus battle kept oscillating between hope and despair. Expect watches to become trendy for youth again. A corona watch shows what times the world has been through – the immense suffering of lovers who could not meet for months during the lockdown. 

Lovers will remember the unbearable pangs of separation just as couples will remember how their marriage plans were stalled. There will be a new term entering the dictionary – coronafied in love. To hint at forced separation due to an extraordinary situation like pandemic.   

Players will kick corona virus-shaped balls in the playground. Workers will have corona virus-shaped punching bags to vent their frustration of losing jobs during the crisis. Building entrances and residential complexes will have a dedicated corner for the corona virus where visitors will offer donation and bow down prior to entering the elevator. A precautionary step to appease the demi-god, to keep people safe. Corona virus-shaped dust-bins in every street corner will remind us of sanitization and hygiene drives. Corona virus-shaped bottles of hand sanitizers or room fresheners inside washrooms will serve as quick reminders of the harrowing past. 

Just like individuals and corporate entities deliver something innovative to keep the memory of the corona virus alive, nations should also come up with something novel – erect memorials where people can go and pray for the peace of departed souls who lost the battle against the corona virus. 


Devraj Singh Kalsi works as a senior copywriter in Kolkata. His short fiction and essays have been published in Kitaab, The Bombay Review, Tehelka, Deccan Herald, The Assam Tribune, The Sunday Statesman, Earthen Lamp Journal, and Readomania. Pal Motors is his first novel.

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