WHAT NEXT?


Thoughts. Multiple thoughts. Multiple, random thoughts. Scary ones at that. Thoughts that I try to put in words, but do not have the courage to do so. Once it's put in words, it seems more real. As it's in black and white. And what is in black and white somehow feels real. There is no ambiguity. I might be accused of spreading fear. In fact, I am. But then I'm scared as well. And venting it out on this space is the only outlet at present.
We are facing scary times ahead. For now, we focus on what needs to be done. But what happens after? If we make through safely, that is. The danger is real. The authorities are doing as much as they can do. But it's only so much. If Nature decides to calm herself down, we're through. Else, doomed.
Genomic shift, Genomic drift. Important, 5 marks question- I find I have marked it that way in my Microbiology textbook, way back in second year of medical school. I loved Microbiology, always wanted to be a Microbiologist; even secured a place for myself in one of the most prestigious institutes in the country. At the last moment, I changed my mind. We tackled H1N1 (Swine Flu) during internship, it felt very real then, especially because a classmate lost his Dad to the deadly disease. 
The present pandemic that has paralyzed the entire globe, is NOT a simple one. It is NOT a simple flu. People have recovered, ONLY if identified, treated and isolated at the right moment. Many people however, have not made through, when the disease progression is not in control. It is sad when people choose to believe the rubbish that circulates on social media, than free authentic information that is being handed out from many sources. What's more, people take offense if it's pointed out. Maybe they want to hear what they would like to hear. That it's OK, that it's not dangerous. A false sense of comfort for the troubled mind? 
Sab theek hai, kuch nahi hoga? Sab theek NAHI hai, jenaab!
A lockdown, at the moment, is the only plausible solution. However harsh or impractical it may seem. People criticising the steps, have no idea what a mass community spread in the country would mean. This was something I'd been scared of since long. When I voiced it aloud in February, the response was why I was making a dooms day prediction. I convinced myself not to overthink. Maybe that was what I secretly wanted to hear too. A false sense of relief.
Add to that, the recent instances of holding mass religious gatherings, and then trying to escape being quarantined. Recipe for disaster! Misbehaving with healthcare workers, manhandling them, spitting on them. SPITTING! Can it get more disgusting than that? YES! I don't want to mention it here though! 

The uncertainty is unnerving. Barring our grandparents generation, we haven't faced a crisis such as this. Where the primary villain itself is a tiny invisible, yet invincible particle. Something that cannot be tackled by all the combined forces of the "developed"world. Is that why we're scared?
Many epidemics and pandemics have happened so far. Many of them, rather, most of them, seemed to affect the lower socioeconomic strata. People who lived in mosquito infested slums, with no access to clean water, with no access to clean and healthy food. This one, however, seems to directly go for the rich. The influential and the commoners - both are affected. Is that the reason we're more scared? Because, this is one of those rare problems, where money cannot be used to find a solution? 
Ignorance is bliss, they say. I see some people enjoying this phase. Like it's some sort of a picnic at home. Remember, this is a lockdown. It means different things for different people. What is enjoyable for one, may mean dredging out the last bit of resources at home, for another family. I wish people would be more mindful of what is posted on social media. Everyone may not afford to stock up on food the way many of us have. 
We cannot, at the moment say till when this phase will continue. Dark predictions continue to appear each day. The only thing that is sustaining me right now is Hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a better tomorrow, where, having gone through such a dark phase, I/we try to be more responsible beings. More empathetic towards others' needs. More responsible towards nature and resources. Will we? Or would we just forget all this, once things are ok?

So, what happens next? How long do we wait? 

As I finish writing this, I'm still hoping someone tells me, "Oi, this entire thing has been a really evil practical joke for April fools' day. Get back to work from tomorrow!"
We make so many plans, while, Life, quietly smirks!


(The pictures are photographs of beautiful paintings from the vegetarian restaurant at Hotel Raama, Hassan, where we stayed at in December. You can read more about our trip HERE)

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