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Google searches for Neha Kakkar were higher than those for coronavirus last week. Is something wrong with our priorities?
Singer Neha Kakkar released a new song ‘Khayal Rakhya Kar’ a few days ago. In the music video, she is starring with her husband Rohanpreet Singh and is seen with a baby bump. As a part of the promotions, before the release of the song, she had shared an image of her husband and herself with the baby bump.
This meant that Google searches about Neha Kakkar’s pregnancy spiked exponentially because everyone found themselves very interested in her personal life.
Although it was only for promotional purposes, her fans interpreted the post as an announcement of her pregnancy. Thousands were seen to be congratulating her or Tweeting about it. A section of people was found indulging in blatant misogyny, shaming and joking about Kakkar’s private life with Rohanpreet Singh.
At a time when India has over one crore active COVID-19 cases and as many as one and a half lakh deaths caused by the virus, these Google searches indicate that people’s focus has shifted elsewhere. There is a new far more infectious strain of the virus spreading in the UK and India has temporarily suspended flights to and from the United Kingdom.
At the same time, there are a number of vaccines in the process of being introduced to the market. Any information one can get their hands on about these is pertinent. But at such a time, this shifting focus points at something grave.
The Google searches on Neha Kakkar surged above the searches on coronavirus and related issues on the weekend, particularly on December 18th. But this wasn’t an isolated event. Earlier too, the number of searches about IPL fared significantly higher than COVID-related searches. This indicates the growing indifference and lack of concern regarding the pandemic in India.
Footfalls in various public places are recording a rise. Religious and cultural festivals are being held, people are seen to be going out, partying, more frequently. People are seen to be blatantly flouting all the COVID-19 guidelines.
Understandably, 2020 has been beyond hard. India witnessed the unprecedented migrant workers’ crisis. The economy is in shambles, unemployment rates are concerningly high.
Women who occupied a position in the market or public life were forced to retreat into the spheres of domesticity, especially domestic workers. The toll the lockdown and work from home aided by the capitalist structure took on the mental health of people is undeniable and extremely pertinent.
It is natural now for people to feel suffocated and feel the pandemic fatigue in the ‘new normal.’ But the pandemic is not yet over.
India needs to take the pandemic seriously for their own sake, for the sake of their neighbours, friends and families. The various stages of ‘unlock’ does not imply that situations are normalising.
We have to keep on our toes, stay at home whenever possible, wear a mask and use sanitisers. And always keep up to date on any new information on the virus on the internet. We have far more important things to look up than other people’s private affairs and rumours.
Picture credits: Neha Kakkar’s Instagram
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An undergraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional
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