The pandemic in India helps astrophysicists come to grips with a cosmic enigma

A side-effect of the coronavirus in India has the international astrophysicist community all abuzz with excitement at the unique opportunity it has provided to study at close quarters a profound cosmic enigma, namely the phenomena known as black holes.

A black hole is created when a super star explodes leaving behind a compressed ‘singularity’ of infinite mass with a gravitational force so powerful that it sucks in everything that comes anywhere near it, including light itself.

That’s always been the trouble with black holes. You could study them from afar – which is what scientists did – but you daren’t come too close to them because, if you did, you’d disappear inside them and never come out again, like the veterinary dentist who put his head in the lion’s mouth to check the beast’s teeth for cavities and no hair nor hide of him was to be seen thereafter.

When the second wave of the coronavirus struck India a whole lot of things mysteriously began to disappear all of a sudden.

Of course in India things – Alphonso mangoes in season, Bengal’s famous hilsa maach, tickets for the latest Bollywood blockbuster – long had a way of disappearing from the open market.

However, such vanishing acts were minor in nature and of temporary duration, as in the case of the Alphonso aams which would reappear in relocated avatar in the oil-rich sheikhdoms of West Asia.

But when the second wave of the pandemic hit India, the disappearances assumed epic proportions: millions of doses of vaccines produced within the country gone without any clue or trace of their whereabouts or whenabouts, the same with supplies of oxygen, and ventilators, and anti-virus drugs.

These strange goings-on gave rise to much speculation. Were they the result of some jaddugiri, some sorcery, which – Chhoo mantar! – could make solid objects dematerialise into nothingness? Had the Bermuda Triangle, known to gobble up aircraft, emigrated to India?

Pooh-poohing such superstitions, science solved the riddle. The disappearance of all the missing stuff proved the existence of localised black holes.

More specifically, it proved the existence of a desi variant of black holes, to be labelled BM SHRI 420. Or, Black Market Shri Charsoh bees.



This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.


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