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From “THE MASK” to “the masks” and what then?

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

What comes to your mind, if someone says “the mask”? Just a couple of months back “ the mask” meant either the 1994  film “The Mask”, or the masks used by surgeons and medical staff in operating theatres or a mask when someone occasionally puts one on while cleaning, to be safe from dust.

That was all that the word “mask” used to mean. But not now. Now the word mask has become directly related to the Coronavirus. The first thing that comes to our mind is nothing else but what we are putting on our faces right now. Most of us are using a mask when going out of our homes. In most of the cases it is now a legal requirement.

So nowadays life with a mask on has become a necessity, a common practice, a legal requirement, and is socially accepted.

I wonder if rarely in the past, finding someone wearing a mask covering his/her nose and mouth, others would to turn to look at them. A mask had been used only by sick persons, and that too was a rarity. Even then such people would try not to wear a mask, just to avoid being the centre of enquiring looks by passers-by. A mask in public places was not just part of the social norm.

I do not know, if the writers and producers of the film “The Mask” had ever thought of the present times, while working on that particular film about 26 years ago. I wonder if Jim Carrey had ever thought that the mask would one day become a reality, and everyone everywhere would be using it.

I am sure there are quite a few people, like me, who still do not like using a mask. Everyone has got his/her own reasons for not wearing it.

Most of those who do not like using the mask are those who are basically stubborn. They do not accept a change in their usual lifestyle and social behaviour easily. They simply feel happy and adjusted in the way that they have been through for the whole of their lives. A sudden change in that set up instantly springs a reaction from inside. This is why I do not like using a mask. I usually keep a mask with me, and only put it on when entering a market or close to a public place. I usually do not use a mask while running or long distance road walking.

But there are many who have adjusted themselves to the changed circumstances. They appear at ease wearing a mask.  They no more consider a mask as something out of routine.

However there are some who in fact do not like wearing a mask, but due to the requirement of their place of work, they do have to constantly wear the mask throughout the period of their work shift. Yes, I mean those people who work in markets and superstores. For them wearing the mask is a necessity, whether they like it or not, but they do not have any option. I wonder how they feel once they finish their work shift. Do they immediately take off their masks and put them in their pockets, and take a deep breath, or do they just even forget to take the mask off. The situation of course differs from person to person.

I happened to discuss this point with a couple of people working in superstores. Their response is simple. For them, masks are just part of their uniforms. Though in the early days they found themselves somewhat disturbed, with the passage of time they found themselves adjusted to wearing masks.

However for certain, each of them to whom I spoke, take their masks off immediately after finishing their work shift. Unfortunately, they have to wear the mask again until they reach their homes.

I wonder, what will be the first reaction from such people when the mask wearing does not remain a legal requirement?

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