Part 1

I am called Covid-19, a word that the whole world is familiar now. If ever there was a word that was created and mouthed by billions across the world in a matter of weeks, it must be this strain of mine. Don’t blame me, I gave enough warning when I appeared in different forms earlier. Most leaders seem to be wearing rose tinted glasses that even Elton John would envy!

I tired laying my hands on my birth certificate. President Trump called me Chinese so I went there to seek a certificate. They confused me further saying I could be American or Nigerian or a lab fertilized being but not Chinese. Sigh! Getting an identity is proving very tricky. I seem to be omnipresent yet wherever I go, they tell me I came from outside! Where, outside, I wonder since I don’t even have a passport though I have a name! Can you imagine my plight? 

Scientists and researchers and virologists and epidemiologists the world over have set aside all they were doing and are thinking about me, breaking me down, testing all types of blood, where parts of me reside. They’ve already found that rubbing me with good old soap tends to dissolve me. Somehow I escape and seek other gullible fellows. Yet they keep looking to completely get rid of me.

Let me ask you one think. In the past couple of decades the people who claim to have OCD and keep sanitizing their hands, their homes, their kids, the playground and whatever, are they stronger now? Do they have immunity to my cousins and siblings and those others called bacteria? See, I’m indiscriminate and much stronger than they are! Actually I’m see the lighter side now.

Would anyone believe it, this time last year that many around the world would be cooking a lot more, doing their own work and many would be losing their daily jobs or holding their breath everyday expecting the worse? You have to give credit where it is due. I’ve helped in some small way to pause people’s life and give them time to think. But I wasn’t aware about this virtual thing called Netflix, Prime, Voot and their poor cousins! Now they fill human minds with all kinds of ‘content.’ Hey Ram! Yes, Ramayan and Mahabharata also come out of the dusty shelves and air themselves.

Whatever you may say, I’ve taught you all how to wash your hands #virusclean. There also Lambuji Bachchan comes, all suited and booted, showing you’ll how to do it. I thought somebody else could have a chance, no? 

Sing Happy birthday say the epidemiologists! Couldn’t they think of anything else? Thinking of birth when I could be the cause of early death? These experts are too funny. They talk of pandemic and all kinds of numbers are thrown about. Makes my cells spin. 

Remember Mr. India and how much fun he had teasing the folks around him? Well, I feel like Mr. World without the muscles of course, as I multiply and watch the scared faces!

Seriously, the world has to thank me, as the trees, and flowers and many animals now are feeling a lot freer and happier. Just the other day the tiger at the Bronx zoo came in contact with me. He was utterly bored. Nobody was coming to see him. He was lamenting not living in the wilderness, like his ancestors did well before the industrial revolution!!

Goose’s Gala –  Around the World in 100 days(Part 2)

I wanted to go back on history of 200 years or so before the coal engines were invented, but Prasad ji , the lazy guy growing a beard has distracted me with his kind words. He credits me for teaching humanity that we can save the world by simply lying on the couch all day, watching TV and eating popcorn. What’s wrong with that I say? How long can the world enslave you! I wish many were like TVS, one minute playing with his grandson Arjun, and the other having a few beers with his buddies! 

And out of nowhere, Chiva’s dad hammers me and my grandfather, Corona Virus. Can I help it if nothing was done when the bats and fowls and pigs carried my ancestors to all parts of the world? I thought a dog lover would be kind to me. I guess I’m to be blamed a bit but that is who I am! How can I change my nature? It’s been a slippery slope for me in 2020, what with most folks trying to get rid of me with ordinary soap! 

I’m still young and I need you elders to help me understand the ways of the world. Chinese products are in every country, many travel to the big dragon to view their achievements in awe but when it came to me they waited for 2020 to own up to me. I felt so sad for Dr Li Wenliang and his colleagues when they saw me sprout but were gagged and punished. He should have been a hero but I got him dead.

All kinds of funny things seem to be happening. They are calling me a pandemic but I hear it’s led to a lot of people panning each other. I happened to hear on the Television in the hospitals around the world that they blame each other’s religious gathering for me increasing my presence. Maybe it’s true or maybe it’s not. But if these activities and thoughts were kept inside oneself, television news wouldn’t be so bad and TRPs would be based on real positive, clean stuff. No? And who knows, the avatar of Arnab wouldn’t appear and friends wouldn’t argue and lose their friendship over this guy with ulterior motives. You have to believe me, I go to places where many can’t.

One thing I really loved is that people all over the world are appreciating and honoring doctors and nurses and all healthcare personnel for their tireless work at the risk to their own lives. Otherwise, relatives of sick people many times yell at them for not being super human and not always curing their loved ones. 

I know I’ve been bad and I take responsibility for taking away the lives of Chinese, Italian, American and other country’s doctors and nurses who spent decades to train themselves. If only the Chinese had not allowed me to travel out of Wuhan, all this wouldn’t happen, no? After all I didn’t even have a name then and no travel documents! 

Goose’s Gala –  Autobiography of Covid19 – Destination Unknown (Part 3)

May is coming to a close and as the tropical summer gives way to the south westerlies, the hope that the Indian blistering summer would finish or weaken  me has not borne out. Amphan blew up bridges, cars, trees and roofs but I think I’m not badly affected as I’m too light and the waters from the Bay of Bengal was not soapy at all! Some teased, ‘just like demonetizing 86 percent of currency didn’t change the colour of Black money!’ Certainly, currency has become more colourful, almost Pride in its outlook, but I understand black still rules. 

Shutting the door and everything else on my face was an easy tactic. Now that the meek voices of the experts and the economists are heard, people have again picked up courage to face me, mask et al. So many figures and graphs are hurled around, I’m on to a next wave in some areas. Finally, some people are unafraid of me. Calling for elections and identifying weak MP/MLAs was easier they say, than deciding how to open the lockdown without having to face a backlash. So what if ‘Acche din’ was elusive,  herd immunity could at least be ‘Accha hai.’

Now I’m being numbered for various purposes. Gone are the days when Patient Zero was the target. Having got zero, leaders now realise that some positive numbers are required to make zero mean anything. I learn that 5th person after 7 PM, 101st employee in government offices, 51st person in a wedding, 4th person in a car and the 31st in a bus will receive me. It’s made my life easier and also a bit harder. How do I count, where do I start and how do I actually identify these people? Where do I get the zero to start? My life is very complex.

Over five million have received me already but my plight is in the realm of nothingness. My life takes on an interesting turn, who knows what happens next? Or where do I go from here?