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Is it a crime to have fun during a pandemic?

IPL must run as must Netflix and their influence contributes to our well-being in an underrated yet meaningful manner in such trying times, writes the Managing Director of Inexgro Brand Advisory

The IPL has quickly become India’s favourite whipping boy as many question its relevance during this stressful period. It is being considered a sin to partake of its indulgent excesses – as participant, beneficiary or mere spectator. While to the contrary, I do believe that a regular dosage of levity, consumed responsibly, is as important as every other precaution.

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On the IPL though, the reactions have been rather frenzied, even from those who watch the games regularly. Most staggering is the defiant stand of the New Indian Express, choosing to deny its readers even basic coverage. Before getting into any advanced value judgments, we must consider the economic implications if the IPL were to be suspended. The rich players will not be affected but the entire support eco system, including media channels, hospitality, contract labour and so much more will be stripped off precious revenues. Surely this is a good enough reason for non-suspension of a revenue-generation activity in these difficult times.

But there is yet another valuable reason as well, which is the pursuit of happiness that cannot be denied to any living being. We are all combating the problem in varying degrees of the continuum, from direct damage to indirect effects. In peaceful India which has never seen a crisis of this nature, this is nothing short of a full-fledged land war and exactly the reason why we need every possible light-hearted diversion.  This includes Netflix and every other fix and certainly does not exclude social reunions and even marital unions that are being conducted under constrained circumstances. I am tempted to cross-refer to World War concerts, when the finest talent of Hollywood and Pinewood were summoned to entertain the troops on the frontline, from Hedy Lamarr to Marliene Dietrich. It is unreal to believe and expect that we must be sombre all of the time to exterminate a present evil as that is a terrible untruth.

So, here is my take on all who think that having fun at these times is a function of disrespect or plain bad citizenship. It is important to be dutiful, responsible, helpful and sensitive– when it comes to work, the conduct of life or any other such personal or societal function. However it is equally important to maintain an emotional equilibrium for that will help us combat this crisis manfully – which may be sport, music, exercise or the occasional indulgence. This will help us focus on the necessary while steering clear of the macabre, as there are multiple provocations on print and electronic media. In a strange way, the regional elections also serve as sufficient distractions and while they are under the judicial scanner, at least some part of attention is diverted.

Brands must play their role in ensuring this normalcy and this includes easy availability at the correct levels of pricing. The entire ecommerce industry, local or aggregator, must contribute to reducing stress through optimal deliveries while the same is true for the aggregator taxi services. As long as every business comes to the party with fair and inspired practices, the morale of society will be intact and we will all be in a state to ensure a semblance of normalcy. Special home consumption bundles or packs can help us stay at home happily and that must become the objective of FMCG and similar products. While an entire public private infrastructure grapples to handle the pandemic in an efficient and competent fashion.

In sum, it does not make sense to vilify indulgence activities at the present time, for both economic and societal reasons. IPL must run as must Netflix and their influence contributes to our well-being in an underrated yet meaningful manner.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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