Two countries, India and Taiwan where I have spent extended period of my life on this blue planet are battling against disasters. One left trail of catastrophic damages and thousands homeless while another one has potential to overwhelm whole world in the future. Taiwan is still reeling in typhoon morakot aftermath while India is grappling with Swine Flu (H1N1) and desperately trying to arrest the spread of it.
It sucks not being able to help Taiwan recover from Morakot. Having donated some money to the relief fund it still bothers me that I haven’t physically helped out with relief operations. Lack of communication skills and not being able to drive a car are the things that discourages me heading out to the southern Taiwan which is where the catastrophe struck. Wish I was more courageous.
On the other hand, Pune, my home in India, is now described as an epicenter of H1N1 in India. With as much as 16 deaths out of 44 reported so far in Pune I can’t imagine the scenes back in the city. I have been constantly asking my friends and parents about the situation and with no 100% cure at present it sounds pretty scary.
My close buddy Manoj wrote an email last week to me and others about the current state in Pune. Here it is presented with his permission.
Bloody swine flu!
Air is poisonous. Roads are deserted. Paranoia is the state of mind. All television news channels are as usual playing the only news. Reading newspapers is like reading obituaries. Masks are suddenly sold at prices burning holes in pockets. Cell phones are ringing. SMSs are making rounds to spread awareness, rumors and jokes (latest I got was not to throw old bras as they can make two masks). Exit traffic is taking toll while no wants to enter the city. Everyone wants to have fruits now. Health is top priority. Ayurvedic savants are offering solutions and delivering sermons together. Lines outsides medical stores is the only crowded place apart from screening centers of course. No one can deny panic in there. Doomsday theories are been circulated. All of a sudden Gods must be getting hiccups. Yeah, swine flu has changed the lives of Pune and for that matter soon will change the entire nation. And to add more pain multiplexes are asked to shut down and I couldn’t catch Kaminey on its release day and still not able to.
After in house arrest for almost a week a whole day in office is somehow lifting the grim clouds around me. Last Monday (Aug 10) was traumatic. Felt a little feverish, and was more than sure I caught the deadly virus as Sonali(wife) felt a little feverish too. Twice is not coincidence. Fortunately that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t be sure anyways. May be I got it and got over it. Those who got it and recovered supposedly develops higher immune against the notorious virus and faint are chances that they will get it again. But the little fever caused our parent a few sleepless nights. Same is the case with our rest of group. Prasad and his wife were asked to pack their bags and hit Nasik asap. One of our friend is in love as in “frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” mode. Meanwhile many, many Ayurvedic remedies and medicines have been couriered to Kothrud(Pune suburb). Cell traffic on my mobile was on toll last week. I was freaking out. Had tones of stuff to do but wasn’t feeling like it. At last, last night after giving in to the temptation, we sneaked out of our apartment like our parents are watching us to hit Rahul by eight thirty and catch the late night show of Kaminey but auditorium was dead silent. No one welcomed us in Mangala either. Business is badly hit I can tell. Apart from few watchmen and guards whole scene was bleak. Bummer.
To find some sort of recreational activity Vickya(brother) talked me into buying a pirated DVD with latest films released. I preferred to watch Luck which is nothing but pure garbage. But it was good garbage which I wished I should have watched with Prasad to appreciate more of this parallel cinema. It took our minds off flue for sure. No causality is been reported since 48 hours. May be it’s cause of all crowed places like theatre, schools, colleges, hotels are shut down. People also making a point not to pile on. Everyone is scared. Me too. Woody Allen once said, “I am not afraid of death; I just don’t be there when it happens”. Well my sentiments exactly. What is it with the my places I inhabit? Outside Latur people only recognize it by earthquake, now onwards Pune by swine-flu. I am suddenly afraid to migrate in the name of national security.
While Pune is coming back to normalcy and Ganesh festival starting on Sunday, I hope the charm of Pune returns sooner than later.
Earlier in June I had canceled my planned trip to Pune and postponed it till Nov-Dec. That was before H1N1 outbreak in India. Now as much as my parents wants to see their grand daughter, concerned about her health and ours, they have ordered us to postpone our visit until there is a 100% cure available for H1N1. I will also suggest everyone who is planning to travel India in coming months to put it on hold or if not avoidable then take exceptional care to prevent contracting any flu.