chmask-ericwycI do not know whether the citizens of United States take Mr Trump literally or seriously, or both, and I am glad I am not subject to that trilemma. But I was thrilled when he called the Chinese Virus a Chinese Virus, as in calling a spade a spade, which none of the governments of the countries being barbecued by the hellfire had the balls to address as such, including ours, which has only begun to taste the embers.

I prayed it was more than a covfefe moment of the mighty POTUS, and that it would last till the culprit is squarely stamped and labelled with the ‘V’ word. Blessed be the immortal soul of John Keats, that uncrowned prince of Romantic Poets, who recognised the fragility of joy and beauty and expressed it in poem after poem. In this case, my happiness was so short-lived, Mr Trump trashed the christening ritual before I could count all the vowels in coronavirus, and his brief whatchamacallit resolved itself quickly after a chat with Dear President Xi. But then he has had a penchant for friendship with the diabolic dictators of the orient.

I wonder how many of us remember Wang Weilin? Truth be told, I had the luxury of combing the server farms of Google for the uncouth secrets of the wicked world before I tossed that one at you. I am confident not many have heard of that name, leave alone recalling it with a degree of certainty. Wang Weilin was the man who brought the juggernaut of tanks to a standstill, no matter how temporarily, about thirty years ago in Tiananmen Square, before the protectors of the Middle Kingdom went berserk and mowed down over ten thousand protestors. Ever pondered where could he be now, this fearless Tank Man?

Perhaps the name of Dr Li Wenliang will ring a bell though, related as it is to an ongoing cataclysm. The ophthalmologist who as early as December 2019 messaged his friends about the clear and present danger of a virus on the loose, one that had made seven people seriously ill in the hospital he worked at. He reckoned all of those patients were linked to the live animal and seafood wholesale market in Wuhan. As soon as the screenshots of his WeChat message became viral in the medical community, he was summoned by the authorities and handed over the Chinese equivalent of third degree. That, Dr Lee contracted the fatal disease himself, is an expression that we are free to embrace or take with a gunny bag of salt. He ceased to be alive on the evening of February 06 and the smarting crowds burst in a rare rebellion. Voila, he was brought back to living by the redoubtable Chinese administration and put on ‘life support’, and made to die the following day, if BBC were to be believed. Such a Wuhan moment! Such a Tiananmenesque end!

Quasi-quarantined in my home, the diminishing neurons inside my skull are grappling with more conspiracy theories than there are strands of hair on the top. Being a peaceable human, I have learnt to focus on the virtues of both situations rather than tormenting my soul with the same. I have discerned the demonic capability of the Middle Kingdom to roll the scourge of Tiananmen down the streets and households of Lombardy, Tehran and Madrid, and New York too. Except that these tanks are microscopic and invisible, and made in Wuhan, perhaps in a live animal and seafood wholesale market, or maybe that is an euphemism for a strategic scientific laboratory. And while we are at it, permit me to confide in you that Chinese researchers appear to have developed the Neuralyzer, the electro bio-mechanical neural transmitting zero synapse repositioner, used by the Men in Black to wipe certain portions of memory from the brains of selected subjects. Maybe that, or Mr Trump expects some input from Beijing for a mission close to his heart.

Meanwhile, an Armageddon is unfolding on the streets of Delhi where thousands of migrant workers are flocking the roads, even as India enters the fourth day of a comprehensive lockdown. There is no denying the predicament of the odd bunch walking back to their villages hundreds of kilometres away, gripped by the uncertainties, but the explosion of clueless legions is the handiwork of none other than the broadcasting media. Need I remind the planet the role played by our over-vigilant, livewire television channels during the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai? The live broadcast helped the terrorists inside the hotel under siege strategize and ambush the commandoes. The woes of the marathoners during the current lockdown could have been easily addressed by the local administration in the larger interest of saving us all from the contagion, but the media had to jump into the rat race of beating each other in dramatization of the exodus. Quickly enough, recriminations were flying thicker than the virus and the flummoxed leaders had to arrange for food and transportation, feeding and fattening the vicious circle. The bitter truth is more than lack of jobs and rations, these migrants are terrified of meeting their end in the pandemic and want to escape to the perceived safety of their rural homes. With this humongous charade, the lockdown goes for a toss! How many of these migrants could be bearers of the virus? Is India ready for what these masses might unleash in its rural underbelly?

Yet again, such a Wuhan moment!

15 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more, Uma. I did enjoy the wag who referred to the Kung Flu. It would’ve caught on and annoyed the heck out of the Chinese Communist Government – but apparently it was “insensitive”. The world is not going to go back to the way it was, and hopefully more people will begin to see through the tyrannical aspects of most governments.

    1. Kung Flu, indeed! Along with tyrannical regimes, time has come to name and shame the hallowed institutions like WHO and United Nations for their partisan approach and blatant hypocrisies. The virus is a wake up call.

  2. And excellent post I enjoyed that. Slightly different point of view who is the idiot who told POTUS to warn New York that he was thinking of closing the whole state down and banning all travel. How How is that for starting a stampede. It’s like calling fire fire fire in a crowded theatre. There should be a small island somewhere in the middle of the ocean where all of the trumps of this world can be placed

    1. Perhaps we shouldn’t fault these modern day thinkers for what the Maker clearly withheld from them! I love the idea of the island somewhere in the middle of the ocean. However, I doubt if a small one will do. Many thanks for your time and precious words.

  3. I agree, the media channels have kind of fanned the panic among the public but I believe the Central government too has to bear some of the blame for the current mess in India, because of their no or poor pre-planning before announcing the lockdown and the equally poor Public Distribution System. Lockdown was essential and is the right step, however prior to taking the step, I wish they had given a thought about the poor prople at the bottom most strata providing ration or food or monetary help. Before announcing the lockdown, had these migrant labourers been given some time to return back, such a situation might not have risen. Just like demonetisation, the lockdown too was poorly implemented and people were taken by surprise. Whatever provisions and announcements were made by the finance minister and the PDS system were to be first put in place and then lockdown was to be implemented. But alas, they were caught napping. Most things are disorganized in India and our administration is rusty and creaky.

    Some irresponsible people too are to be blamed (and by people I mean those who didn’t strictly follow home quarantine rule of 14 days after returning back to India after a foreign travel – a la Kanika Kapoor who went on attending Holi functions and several other such foreign returned fellows). In spite of so many advisories issued by the Central and state governments, these people acted so irresponsibly, taking things lightly. This “chalta hai” attitude is what ails our country.

    I wish we the citizens as well as the governments were a bit more proactive, right from the time when the first positive case came to light on Jan 30th! We were late by at least 3 weeks in taking preventive steps. We are often caught doing catching-up act in most cases with “aare, iss situation ke baare mein toh humne socha hi nahin tha”! We remained busy with Trump satkaar, Delhi elections, Delhi riots, Shaheen bagh and CAA-NRC.

    1. You have summed up the state of affairs and the response by Indian state manifest in its misplaced preoccupations in a telling manner. What has added fuel to the fire is the madness of notorious media, and unpardonable conduct of elements like Kanika Kapoor. Thank you for enriching the discussion.

  4. These are times for many conspiracy theories at a time when even the established media organisations are playing the game of one upmanship to viral their fake news.

    I understand that Spanish flu did not originate in Spain. Yet no one objects when it is called so. In contrast so much shame is attached to name this flu after the Chinese perpetrators.

    Nice to read a new post from you after a long time.

    Stay safe from the virus and the scaremongers.

    1. The Chinese represent the finest example of the principle of might is right. It would be a crime however not to point an accusing finger at the perpetrators of the massacre that is yet to come to a halt.

      Thanks for your continued support.

  5. My husband has also wondered just how this virus managed to shut down most of the world so quickly, and exactly where it did come from and why. I suspect we will learn some answers eventually, but not all of them. Unfortunately, governments always put their own interests first, and the interests of the people they are supposed to serve last.

    1. I swear by the Great Central Black Hole, this is a gargantuan mess up by the governments in most corners of the planet, not to speak of the sinner-in-chief. Humanity will be pay an unforgettable price for the self-induced-genocide, one that will reverberate over centuries.

  6. Ah, Umashankar, the vast universe has thrown the rule book out of the window, leaving space for man to dissemble. One-day resurrections and mobs where the streets should be clear: it is all the stuff of a globe having its patterns broken. Our routines cannot help us now, but perhaps if we learn to take each second’s strange developments with the same grace as an eagle surfing the currents of the air, we’ll learn something entirely new.

    1. It is said much of the universe is made of dark matter that has proved so elusive to mankind and yet is everywhere out there. Some say there are things called anti-matter waiting to collide with its counterpart constituting us. We have been desperately hunting for clues that will rewrite the laws of Physics as we know them. Perhaps this virus is the key to understanding the mysteries of existence, or at the very least, humanity? That, or the brinkmanship of the agents that control our lives.

      The metaphor of eagle is potent and beautiful at once. It is both a vision and an inspiration. Thank you, ever.

  7. Uma Shankar ji – you have said it all and there’s not much I can add. Thanks for reappearing after such an extended absence – how I wish that your reappearance would have been for postive circumstances. Sometimes I think that I’ll wake up and know that this is a nightmare. Please keep writing…..

    1. I deeply relate with the way you have been feeling. As I wake up each morning, I find it hard to believe I cannot just walk out the door for a refreshing walk, and that the world is so much the worse for the unpardonably irresponsible manners of a certain state or community. Our fate as a race hangs by a thread thinner than a strand of hair.

      I keep promising and reminding myself to add to my desolate chronicles, despite the molases of mundaneness gripping my neural vestiges of late. Many thanks for the encouragement.

  8. Hello Umashankar, I have my own conspiracy theories and we seem to be in synch on many levels! I enjoyed how you’ve expressed your thoughts. You made a heavy topic very readable with a wonderfully deft and sardonic turn of phrase. Relieved to note that the numbers in India — as per the world news — are unusually low.
    A penchant for friendships with diabolical dictators … I’m smiling widely. Yes, for sure!
    Take care, be safe. Keep smiling — in spite of. 🙂

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