One of my all-time favorite movies to watch is “V for Vendetta.” Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, The film is set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, and it tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey, who is rescued from a life situation by a masked guy known only as “V.” Incomparably charismatic skilled in the art of combat (source). I particularly like one of the scenes in the movie where the protagonist “V” says, “Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the Vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. [carves “V” into a poster on wall] The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.”(source) I have to say, never before have I heard such a thought-provoking introduction. Not only did “V” introduced himself with a charismatic persona, but he also quite literally made use of the words starting with the letter V so many times. I have to say I was quite impressed.
Having said all that, I thought the movie was quite an exciting theatrical, particularly from the perspective of the protagonist V. It made me feel that the director used “V” to represent “We the People” quite well figuratively. As I was watching the movie, The thought crossed my mind quite often, it still strikes me as I am writing this excerpt, but it sure did tickle my brain. V could represent “We the People of the United States,” which happens to be the first line of the constitution of the United States, and it represents the supreme law of the land.
Let’s assume for a moment that “V” is “We” as in “Us” the people of this great country who happen to be a vaudeville in this stage of life where a comical situation lets call it the pandemic of coronavirus has made us sing, juggle, dance to the rhythm of uncertainty and chaos as both a victim and villain by the deviations of Fate. I mean, if we rewind the past five months of the year 2020. We see that so much has happened that does not have a reasonable explanation. Discussing all the major event that has taken place throughout the year is beyond the scope of this article, but I would highlight the occasions where I feel I have become the victim and the villain by the vicissitudes of Fate.
I don’t know where to begin this paragraph. As I watch or read any news media, I am bombarded with the news surrounding George Perry Floyd Jr. George’s death gave rise to international Black Lives Matter protests, calls for police reform, and legislation to address racial inequality.(source) Every time I read about George, the first thing that comes to my mind is the last words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe“. I begin to visualize the pain he went through before he passed away. Words can’t describe the pain. It is quite unthinkable. I feel like a victim. A victim of a society where we could not do anything but observe a man pass away while struggling to breathe over nine minutes for a mere twenty-dollar bill.
As my day goes by, I look at myself in the mirror to see what has happened to my face, the hidden nose, mouth, a ribbon running past my ears holding a mask so tightly to protect me form Coronavirus disease makes me feel like a soldier of fortune that has been deployed to battle against an invisible enemy that can travel from one person to other via air. I take a step back and begin to question reality. How did this global pandemic happen? Is this for real? Why were we so ill prepared for an event of this magnitude? As I remark upon the paradox, I feel stricken by the rather comical handling of the epidemic of coronavirus. I feel perplexed, and my mind gets boggled yet again asking the questions, what are the chances of my survival? Could this have had been completely avoided? I mean just the other day, I was able to breathe air freely and all of a sudden, within a matter of days, the government took the unprecedented step of extending a lockdown to the entire country, shutting theaters, cinemas, gyms, salons, discos, restaurants, and pubs and banning funerals and weddings to prevent us from being infected with the novel coronavirus disease. Life took a U-turn as adapting the new lifestyle began to impact my mental health. The mind was filled with depression and anxiety. The lockdown gave me a new look, extra long hair strands that extended past my nose, a N95 mask that covered by nose and mouth, the fresh air dimming my spectacles every time I took a breath all became the new norm. I felt helpless yet happy to be alive at the same time.
Having an analytical background, I began to think realistically about the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus. While monitoring the daily rise in cases followed by an increased number of deaths, while looking at the extreme measures government had taken to save lives by shutting down the economy, my health and safety became my utmost priority. I kept myself confined within the walls of my own house, where despite all the negative news surrounding COVID 19, I felt safe and virus free.
With my mind filled with anxiety and depression, I thought that it would be challenging for millennials such as myself and Gen Z to recover fully from the negative externality of the pandemic. To improve the cost of the epidemic, we needed an adequate amount of testing. Still, an even more difficult decision was to either continue with the containment practices or to wait and develop herd immunity. In either case, the actual economic cost of living or I should say the real financial cost of surviving increased exponentially and was directly proportional to the socio-economical activities performed by the infect and the susceptible individuals during the pandemic. Life could only go back to becoming normal or before pre-COVID times as soon as we get a vaccine that had to capacity to make us immune to the COVID 10 disease.
The combination of the rise of the “Black Lives Matter” moment during the “Coronavirus” pandemic somehow added smoke to the fire. As a common man, I thought that while one incident impacted my feelings and made me emotionally distraught, the other changed my life. Every day, as I step out of my house and come back home, my consciousness begins to challenge my thoughts, I ask myself what if today, I contracted the coronavirus? Am I showing any symptoms of the disease? And then as I head over to read the news, in hopes of finding a vaccine for the illness, I get depressed looking at the “Black Live Matter” moment watching the protestors while knowing the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic stand on the street to fight for their rights and justice.
The opinion of what is right and what is wrong can always be debated. The leftist and the rightist have their version of what’s right, but I know that what’s right for me may not be right for you. In all modesty, all I want today is for everything around me to become peaceful and for people to build persistence to devote themselves to bring a level of tranquility to calm their minds.
There is always Hope and Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of the elements, and no matter how hard and challenging life is, Hope is a feeling that no one can take away from us. It is an intangible asset that has the potential to vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
The protagonist V conveyed that the valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin; that which closely resonates with the truth about corona virus as its subliminal impact can be seen from the current state of the economy. If the virus has not impacted our health, it most certainly impacted our wealth; its influence can be seen on our mental health, our overall well-being, and, more importantly, our future. While coronavirus made nature breathe naturally, It made me wonder if I was worse or better off today as compared to the beginning of the year? Ironically, I am breathing fresh non-polluted air, that may be mixed with coronavirus. I still can’t make up my mind, but looking at life from a myopic view, I feel I am at the worst point of my life, and no matter how hard I try to face life, the fear of uncertainty consumes me.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Sometimes, I wonder if I, as a common man, find it so difficult to make sense of the new reality, how would a person in the position of power perceive and envision the unsolved puzzle that has led to this version of reality? The fact of the matter is that we have an invisible enemy on the loose that has the potential to eradicate everyone from the face of the earth. If we do not follow the rules of engagement, we become its victim.
Now, knowing this grim reality, should I say that the virus is the villain, or shall I look further down the streets while I drive my car to come back home and read the emotions in the eyes of the fellow protestors and call those sentiments the villain. No matter how I perceive my reality, I know that either of them impacts me to a considerable magnitude. If the virus does not affect me, its unprecedented economic consequence will take turmoil in me as I try to normalize my reality.
I know most of my colleagues that have lost their livelihood, their jobs, their savings have depleted, and there is no way for them to recoup their lives back. While the economy can best be defined under recession, the common man is struggling to manage their expenses as they keep piling up.
Let me share a real-life story; A friend from Varanasi, India who ran a Yoga and healing center called me and told me that his newly started business was on the verge of failing. I asked why, and he said he was barely breaking even. He was contacted by his landlord to vacate the premises that he was using to conduct business and that he wasn’t able to make ends meet. While his decision to shutdown made perfect sense to me from an economic and financial perspective, what didn’t make sense was while the invisible villain, coronavirus, didn’t impact his health, it utterly destroyed his livelihood. I was deeply saddened by his story. My friend lost his job, his means to support his family, and was actively looking for employment, which given the economic conditions was quite hard to find. It made me realize in the words of the protagonist “V” that the totalitarian nature of the virus vouchsafed the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition, thus directly a common man.
I know what you are thinking, I have referenced a protagonist V dialogue quite a lot while I gather my thoughts. Still, I couldn’t help my mind to stop believing the theatrical nature of reality as it became lost within the thin lines of the character “V’s” Dramatis persona. It stands, my needs are more significant than my wants, and I know that there is no economic theory that can help satisfy my need or my desire.
Still, I do know to the extent of my knowledge that an infusion of building Hope towards a correct path for justice and a deep level of understanding while keeping our ego on the sidelines will help us win at least some type of battle someday. To my knowledge, no economic model can define the financial turmoil created by the pandemic. Still, if we tweak our business model and try to apply principles of collectivism, the ones found notably in third world countries and use their approach to our individualistic attitude, we may someday win the economic war. Any life matters, be it the lives lost by the pandemic and the ones that have a historical inference. What is precious is bringing a smile on everyone’s face as we make sense of the brave new world and the new world order that “V” have now become part of.
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