When The Mask Falls Off - Short Story

When The Mask Falls Off
When The Mask Falls Off

"In this terrifying world, all we have are the connections that we make." - Bojack Horseman

We used to wear a mask - hide our actual thoughts, interests and opinions as if a dystopian dictatorship is censoring us and painting a generalized public opinion. We were scared of being judged and then being isolated from everyone. Stigma lead to discrimination which further intensified the stigma. Something false which was said too many times became part of people's identities ultimately. It wasn't visible, but it was the case with almost everyone. No one knew their own true self - true voice - it was silenced and suppressed by the many bombarding public opinions and trends.


It was regarded like any other pandemic - deadly, but something which can be overcome in a year or two. It's been two decades today since the first case. But it's not the disease or the number of deaths, which is driving everyone into darkness, it's the home confinement since twenty years. There are teens who have never stepped outside their houses in their lifetime.

You might imagine this as the worst of times, where people kill each other as in most of the crises. Surprisingly though, despite the gloomy environment all around us, this crisis has brought the best out of us and everyone has come together to help us all survive.

Funny, how internet was thought of as a luxury rather an utility - without it, we will lose the last ray of hope. The world is now connected only through internet. The disease is everywhere in the air. An air purifier is the most essential thing in houses, even more than internet. Every other essential - food,water,medicines etc are home delivered by the government. Celebrities are not movie stars or football players, but rather the brave people who venture out in this toxic air, in their heavy hazmat suits - medical staff and delivery folks who visit people's houses, the government  which has been working relentlessly to provide the people with essentials, scientists who have been working closely with government for generating food supply and keeping the air clean in living spaces. The rest of us all folks keep the internet up and running. The suits are expensive and government can't afford to give it out to everyone or keep the air clean everywhere. And hence, the home confinement.


People trust each other better now. Sure, we can't afford to lie each other, but we don't actually have to. We don't have any ulterior moves. There's nothing to sell and nothing has to be influenced. Somehow, we have figured out the priorities gradually. We aren't obsessed with our body imperfections and we don't bother to conceal it with days spent on grooming and dressing it all up. We dress up for ourselves, we take care of our body for ourselves. We have embraced our "perfect imperfections". There's no competition to best other's story or skill. Hustles have gone back to being hobbies and providing the bliss for just indulging in the activity itself, instead of focusing on how it can generate money.

There's no superficial layer and a zillion layers underneath it, till you hit the raw core. There's no mask. Yet, everyone got more connected. We are more vulnerable - which has turned out to be better than hiding your true self from the world.

We miss the world, but we are more true to each other and - to ourselves.


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