New Delhi, Laughter they say is the best medicine. At least to beat the blues resulting from the coronavirus lockdown.
Subtle and sharp, sarcastic and self-deprecating. And sometimes just downright rude. There are wife jokes, husband jokes, boss barbs, Modi jibes, weight gain worries and the inevitable China insults. Humour in all forms is the panacea it seems for people around the world who are united in their need to laugh or at least crack a smile in these troubled times.
As three billion people across the world stay indoors in a lockdown never before seen on this planet, some are sharpening their creativity and the rest are having fun with the jokes flooding in through memes, cartoons, videos, one-liners and others.And they are all going around the world in minutes, thanks to the ubiquitous social media, particularly WhatsApp.
No subject is out of bounds as people all over use wordplay, clever drawings and other witticisms to mirror a society, warts and all, going through its worst crisis in a century.
One pocket cartoon shows a bride flinging a garland at the groom on the other side of the fire. Given the threat of coronavirus, both are in masks and the priest is seated a distance away.
Another perhaps reflecting matrimony many years down the line has a woman, her brows knitted together as she wields a spoon over a wok, and her smiling husband slouched on the sofa watching Lock-down special on TV. “No, he is not helping at all. He just claps for me for a full 5 minutes a day,” she complains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged people to stand on the balconies of their houses for five minutes on Sunday, March 22, at 5 pm and clap as a sign of thanks for emergency and healthcare workers.
From memes featuring prominent politicians to hilarious work-from-home jokes, from bad puns to good cartoons, Indians and others have taken to Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook in a bid to tackle the stress from the spread of the virus, which has affected more than 530,000 people and claimed over 24,000 lives. In India, the disease has hit more than 720 people and killed 17.
“Ghar se taali bajane ko bola tha, dhol manjira leke raste pe kirtan karne ko kisne bola (I had asked you to clap in your homes, who asked you to go out and celebrate while playing musical instruments),” reads one meme.
and there is this cartoon that makes fun of the new ‘work-from-home’ trend with panic-stricken passengers on a plane. “This is your pilot speaking. I’m working from home today”, reads the text.
The work/stay at home dogma takes a swipe at the couch potato too a split frame of a man fast asleep on the couch with a remote in his hand and the words 2019 Lazy Bast***’, and the same pic below but this time with the label 2019 Responsible Adult’.
Many posts are quirky and slightly snide wordplays — “Villagers in Punjab are still wondering who the hell is Soshail Distan Singh?”, for instance, or “Xi Jinping’s message to the world: No Ming Ling”.
“Finally got the Hindi name of social distancing ‘TAN DOORI”‘, reads a WhatsApp forward breaking up word for food cooked in a tandoor to tan’ (body) and doori’ (distance).
With India under an unprecedented 21-day lockdown to curtail the spread of the disease, a meme makes a reference to India’s richest man, Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani, and his palatial 27-storey residence Antilla in south Mumbai.
“Lockdown ki wajah se aaj maine pehli baar apna pur ghar dekh liya (It is because of the lockdown that I got to see my whole house for the first time)”.
A widely-shared meme on the lockdown features former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, released from detention in Srinagar earlier this week. It shows him with his hand on his forehead and a text saying, “When you spend 236 days in lockdown, and on the day you get out, the govt imposes 21-day national lockdown.”
The meme later got approval by the National Conference leader himself, who re-tweeted it and wrote: “These are serious & scary times so a little humour doesn’t hurt”.
And then there is this one that says, My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
There are also several posts trolling China either for allegedly spreading the virus to other countries or its peculiar eating habits.
“Ek toh pehle China ko Jain banao (Firstly, make Chinese residents follow Jainism),” tweeted one Karan Sitlani, referring to the vegetarianism of the Jain community.
Another Whatsapp forward takes a jibe at the Chinese products, “Coronavirus won’t last long because it was made in China”.
The novel coronavirus, which originated in the central Hubei province of China in December, according to two recent studies published in the journal Nature, may have originated from bats.
Videos are making their point too.
One doing the rounds has a wife telling her husband to call the house help because she hasn’t come for three d