‘Please ‘fikar’ not… sab kuch under control hai’

I love the Bambaiya hybrid lingo — nothing competes with its zing! When a lab assistant called to say this to me, I smiled through my discomfort… and temporarily obliterated the nightmare brought on by the second surge. The cheery reassurance was much needed, as was the prompt house call made by that near-extinct species known as General Practitioners (GPs). The family physician is a rare treasure in an age of super-specialists. So, when I was feeling low and decidedly under the weather last week, I gratefully accepted my daughter’s recommendation to get hold of a neighbourhood GP to come home and do what good GPs do — thoroughly check all parametres the old fashioned way — you know, the good old stethoscope to see if the chest is clear, a torch to look at the back of the throat, and a mercury thermometer to take a reading of the body temperature, followed by a blood pressure check and general observation of a small walk around the room, condition of the eyes and elementary questions about diet, rest and bowel movements! I’d forgotten what all of this felt like — it’s been years! The lady doctor was thorough, polite and efficient — what she prescribed was not difficult to follow and within hours I was feeling so much better.

Given the precariousness of the COVID-19 situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra, citizens are desperate for relief measures and a relaxation of the present rules which don’t make much sense. Looking at the masses assembled during the election rallies in West Bengal (millions minus masks), one wonders on what basis government authorities declare strictures on others, while the nation’s top netas ignore Covid protocol. Building societies have become power centres in themselves, forming their own arbitrary rules, which nobody dares to challenge. Since we are in panic mode, it hardly helps to be told we may soon run out of vaccines! Amidst all this chaos and the trauma of losing livelihoods once again, comes political manipulation of the worst kind, involving gall-bladder stones, postponed surgery, sackings and appointments, enquiries and accusations that are in no way an improvement on the earlier chaotic situation. Who benefits? Not us!

Twenty eight-year-old Anmol Ambani (Tina and Anil’s son) is rapidly emerging as the brightest Ambani of his generation — articulate, good looking, outspoken. When he posted a series of tweets criticising the latest lockdown, he received a massive amount of support — not surprising, given that he’d tapped into popular sentiment and asked a few tough questions. He stated that lockdowns ‘destroy the very backbone of our society and economy.’ He questioned what qualifies as ‘essential services’, pointing out that actors, cricketers and politicians are carrying on with their ‘jobs’, but ‘your business or work is not essential’ adding later, ‘each individual’s work is essential to them’. He nailed it. I didn’t quite go along with his ‘sinister conspiracy theory to establish a new world order’ etc. However, this is the privilege of youth — air your views aaram se, and start conversations.

Good news, Mumbai! Sonia Sethi (IAS 1994 batch) has many impressive firsts to her credit. She is also one of the brainiest and most attractive women I know! Currently, this wonder woman with zabardast academic qualifications, is serving as Additional Metropolitan Commissioner (MMRDA), where she is spearheading the ambitious Mumbai Metro Project of 14 lines (337 kilometres). Earlier in the week she reached out to share some amazing news: She is busy with the commissioning of 35 kilometres of the Metro Line 7 and 2A, in the Andheri, Dahisar, DN Nagar suburbs. Maharashtra Day (May 1) is likely to be super special this year, with a trial run for the Metro being planned by her hardworking team. This is a huge achievement for all those involved in the ambitious project, spearheaded by one of our most dynamic bureaucrats.

I first met Sonia a few years ago during a girl’s night out at a popular Sobo bar. I was struck by her dazzling personality and great looks. We got talking and I almost fell off my bar stool when she gave me her background. Today, she is helming a hugely challenging project that is going to transform Mumbai pretty radically. It is inspiring stories like Sonia’s that provide a glimmer of hope and a much needed booster shot of dazzle. I’m looking outside my window at the deserted, silent streets of one of our busiest business precincts. This is no way to live! ‘Khul ja Sim Sim’ I feel like screaming and rushing out to grab a coffee, catch a movie, hug a friend. My heart goes out to young parents struggling to hang on to their sanity with the torture of home schooling getting extended till God knows when. Sab log pagal ho rahey hai. Dear God — bas, khatam kar do yeh Covid-Wovid. Bahut ho gaya…



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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