BY KHADIJAH QASIM KAMILI
With a strong surge in the second wave of this dreadful disease engulfing our lives, it is essential we get back to wearing masks to protect ourselves and our loved ones. For purposes more than one, face coverings have quite an importance. It is human nature to feel important, be represented, and to manifest upon your living the right to speech and expression. Words vocalize your thoughts and enable you to be a change in this ever-changing world. If one was to snatch away this right, your rebellion wouldn’t be questioned.
In the words of Anarchist V from the revolutionary 2005 film ‘V for Vendetta’, “beneath this mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” This quote brought to me a sense of security in trusting my beliefs. No one knows them and understands them as well as I do. But to enable this security, I would want to accelerate my actions rather than have them shut out.
In this new world order revolving around the pandemic and public safety, masks have not only allowed us to embrace the quiet roar but also produce and adorn outspoken slogans as boldly as can be. In the public eye, lips are hidden, not sealed.
To express defiance, political inclinations, humor, unique aesthetics, and other alluring choices being vocalized, face coverings have been highlighted in the public eye for the year we have just witnessed. Be it the fabric they use, the design they print, or the slogans they present – masks have enabled many to represent what they believe in and wish to show support towards, especially through social media.
Actors of Netflix’s ‘The Kissing Booth 2’, had taken to their platforms to design five individual masks, the sale proceeds of which went to five different charity-based foundations for the disabled, sick, and needy. Bollywood’s Konkana Sen Sharma donned Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetic line through wordplay, “naqab mai bhi inquilaab, hum bolenge”, indicative of the anti-CAA protests that took over India worldwide before the outbreak. The United States of America popularised the Black Lives Matter movement through their coverings as well, to ensure the provision of justice.
Others are expressing their uniqueness by allowing masks to be an extension of their personalities. Some are designing masks out of socks, while some are stitching dialogues from the 21st Century that pop culture is spreading the word for. Since the lockdown had enabled us to discover our long-forgotten interests due to the race for success, we had confided to the folds of baking, painting, writing, and sit-down vocalism at our own terms, and we see this opportunity come back to us only because of our ineptitude with the previous.
Let us take this time to absorb the misunderstood, and learn to be a better version of ourselves. If you’d like to use masks as a tool for protest, or simply as an accessory, go ahead. Protect yourself and others by curbing the virus, not your thoughts. Don’t think of it as a gag, but an inspiration to keep going. With the year coming close to an end, yet COVID-19 not, it is essential we go back to following SOPs without feeling caged, but rather empowered with a personal touch of our own.
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