The Panger Games: How The Pandemic Is Infecting Our Anger
Man's World|February 2021
Have you experienced the rage that comes with seeing friends and loved ones deliberately take pandemic protocols lightly? I know I have
Amit Vaidya

So we’re just about coming around to the one-year anniversary of when the entire world got affected by the coronavirus. We’ve learned a lot, waited a lot, and we’ve also got many reasons to be optimistic, as numerous vaccines make their way through the global population. Here’s hoping the variants don’t catch up.

But alongside the global pandemic, another virus has seemingly crept its way into our bloodstreams — anger. Pandemic anger, or “panger” as some have referred to it, is a specific form of anger where individuals are unable to manage their emotions when seeing loved ones, friends, or others deliberately failing to follow the rules or abide by the scientific guidelines recommended.

In a country like India where temperatures are already high (from our cooking to our emotions), it’s no surprise this kind of rage has also been slowly seeping into many folks. Sadly, or rather more frighteningly, I would absolutely include myself as one of those suffering from it.

As an immunocompromised individual, I’ve spent years at the end protecting myself from many things that most folks took for granted. I’ve not really suffered any kind of mask/ face shield or sanitizer/cleanliness fatigue. Even quarantines and lockdowns haven’t phased me the same way as it has most folks. I’ve always had to stay one step ahead, be it in my travels or in my day-to-day errands, to make sure I was both comfortable and safe. I’ve seen the repercussions of not following such a lifestyle. And so, imagine my level of anxiety now when speaking to loved ones or friends, and seeing how nonchalantly they behave during Covid.

The other day, I had gone to my hospital in Kochi. It was a long day as I had to fast for certain tests, and then I had booked back-toback appointments with different departments to minimize the number of trips I’d need to make there. I got hungry, and I wanted to find a safe space where I could remove the gloves, the mask, and face shield, and have enough space to be calm and eat. Thankfully, the hospital has a large self-service restaurant, which mostly adheres to all the same safety guidelines as the hospital. The tables are socially distant, all the employees are gloved and wear masks, and there is even a total count done of the number of guests in the restaurant at any given time.

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