Silver Lining

There is a saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining”. This is true for Covid-19 pandemic lockdown as well. Social media is full of information on how nature is reclaiming itself and crime is on the decline. Another reason perhaps to cheer is that hospitals are receiving fewer non-CCIVID-19 patients.

Out-patient departments (OPDs) in most hospitals are closed. Hospital authorities have been discouraging patients’ attendants and relatives from visiting the hospitals. And there is no rush in the Emergency too. Is this an indication that sickness has reduced to some extent?

One surely agrees that road accidents have decreased because not much traffic is on the road. But why are patients of heart attack, brain haemorrhage or hypertension on the decline? Why is there no complaint of negligence in treating someone?

Reduced numbers can be seen at cremation grounds. The Dom-Raj family, caretakers of Varanasi’s cremation grounds, is also amazed at this, as they used to see a rush every year during this season (end of winter). It is truly amazing that all diseases appear to have suddenly disappeared. Does the Coronavirus kill all diseases?

Surely not.  While not taking away from the service rendered by doctors in these difficult times, questions are now being raised about the health care business. Many a time, even when there is no major ailment doctors proclaim a patient ill.

Marry doctors create these problems themselves by injecting fear psychosis among their patients. Now, during this lockdown, corporate hospitals see most of their beds empty. Usually, even for a minor ailment the hospitals would mint money from patients.

Another reason perhaps is that people are now eating homemade food, not hotel food. With time on their hands, quite a few people are practicing yoga and doing exercises while staying in pollution-free home environment. Surely, if the system works well and people drink clean water and eat healthy food, then half of the diseases would get cured on their own.

A study conducted two decades ago in Canada, when doctors were on strike for a long time, found that the death rate was very low at that time. Staying healthy is another part of our lifestyle, which depends not only on the doctor. As Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Hindu Swaraj, doctors never want people to be healthy!

Birds Gone Crazy

Over the past ample of weeks, early mornings have begun to sound different One is invariably woken up by a cacophony of bird calls. All hopes of getting up late are set aside as the chirps, tweets and whistles force one out.

Intact, a colleague complained, “Even the birds appear to have gone crazy during the lockdown!” An ornithologist friend explained that this is any-way migrating season when the spring and summer birds return to Delhi and its surroundings. It’s just that this year, without any human disturbance, their numbers are many more and they appear to be more vocal.

A possible scientific explanation is that without any noise pollution – from people, vehicles, motors, trains and planes, to name a few sources – they increase their own decibels. This, coupled with the silence, leads to a louder range of bird songs and calls. A delight to all bird watchers but perhaps not so much for late risers!

Smoker’s Pleasure

The ongoing lockdown has hit smokers as well as paan and gutka addicts particularly hard. With kiosks and most shops shut, cigarettes are procured with some difficulty but paan is almost impossible to obtain. Being confined at home only makes matters worse.

Many men and most women do not smoke at home. Now, being forced to stay at home, smokers are finding it hard to give in to their craving. A colleague, who had not smoked for a fortnight since the lockdown began, as he had exhausted his stock of cigarettes and was unable to find his brand at the local shop, is one such “victim” of the lock-down.

He narrated how he went out a couple of days back, properly wearing a mask and gloves, to a grocery store a little away from home to buy gram flour (besan) as his wife planned to make pakodas that evening. As he stepped into the shop he was met with a pleasant sight that made him want to jump in joy.

Right at the entrance were the cigarettes he craved for. As he greedily picked up a good number of packets, he could not help asking himself, “Should the shopkeeper have kept the cigarette packets in the front? Did I go to buy cigarettes? I went to buy besan!”

Tailpiece

By the way, the lockdown is a must, but think about how it cautions us alongside the pleasant feeling of being on a pro-longed vacation.