Art n Life

Virtual Corona-haunted habitations !

Desh Bir | April 12, 2020 12:52 PM

We are passing through the most horrendous times in the wake of the global terror let loose by the COVID 19 which appeared in China in December last and is well on the way to assail the entire human population. Such ubiquitous sense of fear had never left the world so aghast and emotionally  benumbed. There is fear lurking in the air that it might assume the proportions of an epidemic spelling out devastation at an unprecedented scale.

The Indian  nation is reeling under the rigours of a lockdown  clamped   some twenty days ago. Many states have imposed a curfew  . Masks are missing and sanitizers  have practically vanished  . Neighbours have become strangers   and relatives are no more welcome in this land of proverbial hospitality. Milkmen and vegetable  vendors , policemen , doctors and health workers , grocers and chemists seem to be the only people of some gut and grit , braving the threat to their safety.

All others who do have homes and roofs    are largely hiding like the timid hares   in their burrows. The Air Quality Index has improved phenomenally and even during the night I can see the street lights vividly up to a long distance  . In so many Indian towns and cities like Haridwar , Chandigarh , Delhi , in Kerala , in Japan , Chile and Peru wild animals have been shown on TV as venturing on to the roads from the neighbouring wilds  as they find the city roads noiseless , man-less and threat-less. They seem to have swapped roles with man for some time. Street dogs wonder where humans have vanished all of a sudden. Localities present a desolated scene. Everyone is indoors. Birds look for their share of offal from human kitchens , but find none.

In an attempt to avert a community spread of COVID 19 in a densely populated country a lockdown ,and curfew in places, are being implemented. Trains are being converted into isolation wards. Major  auto-companies have been told to manufacture Ventilators .The nation is gearing to a state of readiness to face the worst , while also trying to contain the  malady and minimize its impact on the poor who will have to pay the maximum in terms of loss of life.

The hapless and the homeless stuck in distant places as daily wage earners are trying hard to get back home , though desperately and ignorantly and innocently  defeating the idea of social distancing which they simply cannot understand while there is no roof over head and no food to fill the belly.

At mid-day I   take my dog for a walk. I was scared by the eerie silence and absence of human faces anywhere for a kilometer around , though there are houses and houses on all sides. It was like Walter de la Mare’s poem “The Listeners”----“Is there anybody there ?”

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