We live in a strange world.
A world where the poor walk miles to get food.
A world where the rich walk miles to digest it.
And that is fine. Fine if everyone is living their own lives with no interference. But is that the case?
Just came out of the 14 days of isolation that has been mandated to ensure that the virus does not spread from me.
[Quite an experience which I will share in a subsequent blog.]
But these 14 days of lack of engagement brought some clarity of thought on what exactly has been happening around us. A whirlpool is sucking us all in!
Overlapping the days of isolation was the biggest annual event of this part of the world. The Durga Pujas!!!
The event when, other than religious customs, people enjoy a carnival of art and sculpture through which Devi Durga is represented. The event, when, at least in Kolkata, lakhs of people hit the road to enjoy. The event generates $4.5 billion worth of business, a significant part of which percolates down to the base of the financial pyramid.
Artisans, decorators, temporary food stall providers, road side vendors, traditional drummers (dhakis) and many more wait for these 5 days (now probably extended to a fortnight) to earn their annual means of sustenance.
However, last year the attack of the virus had cast a cloud of gloom on the festival, as we were asked to stay indoors. And justifiably so.
Since then we have gone through a lot.
Several versions of restricted mobility, campaigns for vaccination, agitations for free vaccines, withdrawal of services for those who exercised their fundamental right of not taking the vaccine – the list of events is huge!!!
And throughout the year, we found a group of ‘knowledgeable’ individuals telling us what to do. And rebuke us if we decide otherwise. All on the pretext that our callousness will kill them, and so we should be obligated to comply.
Politicians turned into medical professionals. Cardiologists turned into virologists. Physicists turned into statisticians. Journalists turned into policy makers.
In a nutshell, if we go deep, intellectuals exploited COVID for public relation management of personal profile.
And all this, with confidence. Confidence that they have the right to decide what we should do.
But to what avail?
When I got infected, I wanted to move to an isolation facility, only to find that all private ones were closed or transformed for some other purpose. With numbers coming down, it did not make economic sense to operate them.
Totally agree with that.
But then the same people started shouting during the festivals, rebuking those who wanted to be on the roads. Apparently these people were messengers of death who will kill us all!!!
Let us stop the Puja celebrations again this year, even if it means that those at the bottom of the pyramid will lose an opportunity of income and sustenance.
Justified medical reason indeed.
But wait! Do you see the paradox?
Economic rationale win for large private healthcare businesses, while medical reasons prevail in case the impact is on the financially less-abled?
If we are to celebrate the festival the same way as we did last year, what, then, did we do during the year, allowing these know-alls to bully us around?
COVID is here to stay. We do not know how to eradicate the virus. The vaccines are just to ensure that the symptoms are less severe.
So even next year, we will be living with the virus – a few getting infected; many of whom will be asymptomatic. Unfortunately a handful will be succumbing to comorbidities or other complications as well.
If we accept this fact, then is it true that, by opposing the celebrations, the COVID bullies actually want us to abolish Durga Puja for good???