There is a specific condition called ‘Covid fatigue’. Just as things had started to look up, and the gloom was lifting, came the awful news about a possible lockdown. Rumours have been flying for the past few days as citizens dissect each new Covid update in search of signals — will they? Won’t they? Only the CM knows for sure. The signs are pretty ominous, going by the statements issued by Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal explaining the surge in cases, and cautiously admitting it could be on account of overcrowding in local trains.
A daily tally of 1,167 cases and 4 deaths. Like the authorities are saying, it’s make or break over the next 10 days. Some building societies have been the naughtiest. 22,976 maskless Mumbaikars were fined in a single day, with the BMC recovering Rs 45.95 lakhs in fines. But we still have not sudhraaoed. How stupid are we? You know things are critical when Mumbai’s iconic Oval Maidan is declared out of bounds by BMC.
Frankly, I am done! Yes, my mask stays on and I will adhere to all Covid protocols etc. but I cannot take any more Covid talk. I wake up to an inbox choked with Covid info. Strains, mutants, complications — ab kuch bhi hone do! Worst of all are the self-styled experts doling out unasked for advice: “Please wait for further data before you take the vaccine.”
I feel like shouting, “You wait.” Honestly speaking, if I get it, I will take it. I no longer care if it’s from Pune, Hyderabad, China or Timbuktoo. The challenge is to get it! Have you tried to register on the CO-Win portal? No? Go try… the BMC pleads there are technical glitches. Guys, you can say that again! I know of frontline workers, senior citizens at that, who managed to get their first shot minus any gadbad. But when they lined up for the mandatory second shot, they were informed the records didn’t reflect their names. Even a paper receipt of having taken the first shot, made zero difference. They were advised to repeat the shot they had already taken and try their luck later for the second round. This is absurd. Without efficient systems in place, the roll out of the precious vaccine has no meaning. But there is a silver lining for senior citizens and those above 45 with co-morbidities — coming up on March 1, it will be possible to pay and get the vax at private hospitals.
Knowing us, there will be any number of people ready to flout rules, bribe, jump queues vaghera.A few privileged, well-connected friends have managed to score the first shot somehow, but minus the all-important certificate with the date and stamp on it. Some others have taken ‘Covid trips’ to Dubai, since they are hell bent on taking the Pfizer vaccine and no other. Still others are willing to wait for the skies to fully open, and take the vaccine in America.
Meanwhile, erudite scholars across the world continue to propound new theories about the efficacy of each vaccine in the market. The more I read, the higher my levels of confusion. The new mutants are adding to our complete bewilderment. Apparently, these strains behave differently. It’s no longer a loss of smell that alerts patients, but a discolouration of nails!
I spend a lot of time staring at my nails these days. Like so many of us who have reached a point where we are saying, “Bas!” and leaving the rest to fate, I have switched off from all the Covid info well-meaning friends love sharing. I keep telling them to send me silly stuff — jokes, memes, naach gaana videos… kuch bhi. A Covid-obsessed mind often turns morbid and negative — fragile mental health is as scary and potentially destructive as the virus itself. No wonder Japan has created a ‘Minister for Loneliness’, boldly addressing an emotional crisis, other governments continue to neglect even as countless citizens fall into a bottomless pit of anxiety and depression.
Aah well, being philosophical and fatalistic has its uses. I prefer to focus on life rather than agonize over death. I just wish we had a well thought through vaccination programme in place so that we could all get on with our plans more efficiently. As of now, I have no idea when my turn will come. But I am equally sure, ‘apna time aayega’. Till then, there is always Bling Empire to distract me with its delicious vulgarity.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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