This week I happened to see a movie called ‘In this corner of the world’ , a Studio Ghibli production and along with that I also read a book by Scott Galloway named ‘Post Corona’. Both these pieces revolved around a common theme of how the world had changed, where the former dealt with the before and after of World War II and the latter dealt with what could be the potential aftermath of the current pandemic. While the movie appealed more to me as it dealt with how one processes change(ones that affect the society as a whole ) and anyone who uses art to process change would be amazed at how beautifully the movie has portrayed that, but with all that art a little realism is also required. That realism or rather an analysis of how much our society has changed in the past 10 months and how much more is bound to happen is shown by ‘Post Corona’ .
‘In this corner of the world’ builds around a girl named Suzu Urano, who uses her art to make sense of the world she is living in. She moves to Kure after getting married, a town near Hiroshima , and the movie displays the everyday nature of her monotonous life (before being struck by the bomb) . This mundaneness is almost beautiful as when the world changes dramatically, it is the everyday monotony that we crave just like I do now. Today, a simple act of watching a movie in theatre with friends seems like something that happened a lifetime ago. It is not surprising but rather how familiar living in a post pandemic world is similar to living in a post war world. Except the landscape of the cities hasn’t changed as much as much as it did for Hiroshima post the atomic bombing but the pandemic has changed things for the better and for the worse.
Scott Galloway in his book mentions that the US recorded a decade of e-commerce growth in the span of 8 weeks. The interesting thing that he mentioned was that we could take any trend in any of the spheres, be it social,business or personal and whatever would have happened in 10 years would happen this year(positive or negative trend). Simply put, if the office that you work/worked in had a weak balance sheet, the company would have probably laid people off or dissolved or cut down extensively on it’s budget and services. If your company was in the essentials sector, or tech (Apple took 42 years to reach 1 trillion dollars but 20 weeks in 2020 to reach 2 trillion) then those companies will emerge stronger when this ends. The negative trends have accelerated as the airline industry as well as the hospitality industry have taken the biggest hit this year. The rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. The pandemic has disrupted the education sector, which is better on the macro scale but remote learning is no walk in the park. It has also exposed how we fall short globally when dealing with health of the society and in it’s way has opened up new ways of delivering services. ‘Practo’ in India saw a 1000 % increase in it’s registration this year when it came to consulting a doctor online. Telemedicine has been one of the biggest boon of this pandemic( it helps in seeing the silver lining during a particularly grim period).
A lot has changed, the big four companies Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple have capitalized on the crisis and when the merger and acquisition scenario plays out entirely, these four giants are bound to emerge even stronger. Amazon built on the opportunity that pandemic presented. In May 2020, Jeff Bezos told the investors that the 4 billion dollars in profit that would have received would be reinvested to develop world’s first ‘vaccinated’ supply chain. An expansion in the health sector would not happened this quickly had the pandemic not happened. With staying at home, one of the prime sources of entertainment, Netflix saw the subscriber growth increase by 110 % in the first half of 2020. Their stocks went up by 50 % since January. Ed-tech also has seen a major boom this year. Platforms like Byju saw a growth in revenue of more than 100 %. Anyone who invested in Pfizer would have seen the growth scaling this year. This has been a crazy year where either the growth has accelerated at an unimaginable pace or closed the business in a matter of 5-6 months.
This year has also fed on our anxiety and if you are like the most, you might have had a tough time keeping yourself sane,motivated and healthy. With no certainty in sight, we all resort to methods that help us sail through tough times. ‘In the corner of this world ‘ captures that feeling, where when so much is changing , it is the fragile elements of humanity that keep us sane: art, dreaming, love etc. That hope has been missing for a year but it is in these tiny moments that are garnered by art or whatever it is that keeps you going, that one feels hopeful for a better tomorrow 🙂