The battle is on. In India. Against Coronavirus transmission. With grit. With courage. With determination. Where victory is the only option. Every country to her own citizens. Save. Protect. Prevent.
In India. Everyday s a news. It is no more a battle happening in the icefields of Siachen. Or the deserts of Rajasthan. It is happening in my house. In my neighbor’s house. Yesterday, three apartment societies close to our apartment has been shut down. Shut down? We ask each other. What does it mean? Gates closed. We learn. Residents locked. Wow!!
Polio eradication. Was a different battle. An urgent but over a time. This one is almost a battle that I am watching on a bridge on the river Kawai. Hand to had fight. A general is speaking virtually. Stay indoors. Practice hygiene. Report if you have fever.
And commanding units are working 24-hours. At Indian Council of Medical research. At hospitals. Soldiers with stethoscopes around neck. Soldiers in white saris and aprons. Soldiers driving ambulances. In a battlefield. Soldiers dispensing medicines. Soldiers testing samples in laboratories.
This a battle against human race. And then came the grim news. The virus is killing our parents. Our grandparents. Our elderly specifically more. We are enraged. What? Papa-mummy. Grandpa-granny. Virus, you dare. We buckle up. We will win.
Report comes from Kolkata. Bus conductor pouring sanitizers on hands of passengers. Report comes from Kerala. Passengers coming out of a bus lined up for washing hands.
Report comes from airports. Our fellow citizens have returned from Iran. From Italy. We celebrate. In our homes. In our own way. Someone hugs a dear one. Someone clenches a fist. Someone claps.
And we call friends. How is your son in USA? How is your daughter in Amsterdam? Good. Great. Stay safe. This shall go away. We hear of our friend’s son returned from Germany. We clap. Mousumi and me.
Rumors fly. One says some nonsense. Others protest. With angry emojis. Speak science. Read ministry and WHO guidelines. We are in a battle. That we must win. No time for nonsense. We will have those later. Jokes? Fine. Good destress. But no rumor. No rumor.
The apartment society is full of people. Working from home. Basking in sun in their verandahs. Sipping tea. Children playing in green lawns. Running around. Club shut. Gym shut. Parlor shut. “Can we meet in the evening? Whiskey? They say alcohol is good for health in these times.” Laughs. “I was joking. But bore ho raha hoon. Can we meet? Only two three of us. Allowed. No? “
Life is different. But the battle is on. Our leaders have somehow given the message. This is serious business. And we will do what we can. But you must take care of yourself. And each other.
Maid comes. Coughs. Perhaps innocuous. Outside door. “Go on leave. We will pay you. Come after 14 days.” Poor lady is baffled. Walks away. At the entry of the Society there is a temperature monitor. And strict surveillance of visitors.
It is a unique state we are in. Uncertain. Nervous. But determined. Perhaps the national song today is the song that all of us know in our own languages. “We shall overcome some day”.
As we see the numbers rising. Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh. Bihar. For the first time some stray morning walker asks “Why is Gujarat not reporting? Are they testing?” Science. Everyone is suddenly talking science. And science only.
The known critic of everything and anything that is government asks angrily “Why is the Protest still on in Shaheen Bagh? They are posing a health risk.” This is the same man who waited three hours in traffic jams happy that someone was protesting against the Government.
The Nation is united in its battle. Absolutely. As one. That is why India never fails. Because of her citizens. In times of crisis, in times of battles. One India, one Nation. Speaking science.