Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXI No. 12, October 1-15, 2021


You’ve heard the old saying – The best revenge is to live well.

Well, looks like the many-headed have taken that adage to heart and have now managed to turn a once simple act of going on a trip into a deadly psychological weapon. Except – the object of this point-proving exercise is not an undeserving sibling or cousin out there living your life, or a friend who betrayed you – it’s a virus.

You must have noticed that when lockdowns go through their periodic cycles of easing up, it’s as if a vast, universal gate has been flung open, and everyone takes to the hills – quite literally.

There’s a distinct sense of ‘so-you-thought-you’d-break-me’ about the sheer travel frenzy that is unleashed, locally for most part – since some countries are still murmuring in dark corners about the wisdom of letting our citizens in.

‘So what?’, snort the suitcase packers, ‘Plenty to see and do right here.’

And off they go. ‘That will show them…and the virus’.

And there’s the nub.

It is a virus – virulent, sly, rampant, yes, but oblivious to grand gestures.

You do realise the virus has no idea what you are doing and isn’t going to sob bitterly into a discarded mask over having been defeated.

Brainy folk whose job it is to ‘medisplain’ us to ourselves have analysed this phenomenon as a sign of ‘lockdown fatigue’ and warn that this reaction to the deadening monotony of the past many months could prove dangerous.

There is another inadvertent angle to this situation – it’s as if the virus has shone a light on those you thought you knew very well, bringing forth new facets, hidden sides, to their personalities.

The quiet ones who were always almost painfully addicted to following the law have turned strangely defiant when it comes to wearing a mask.

“I’m choking!” they snarl when you point out it isn’t their chin that’s the danger.

As for the lies – ‘I haven’t been anywhere, seen anyone’ claim many, forgetting that their various social media platforms have already betrayed them.

And so the hordes are off – biking up hills, cavorting under waterfalls, sight-seeing, catching up in restaurants… ‘as long as it’s in the open, nothing will happen’ declare those who can apparently command the future…and all of this hysteria has added one more divide to a landscape already riddled with so many.

The ‘Let’s-party-ers’ as against the more cautious ‘Let’s-wait-a-bit-ers’.

The first lot of ‘Let’s’: Make plans! Move it! Let’s ride off in all directions!

The second lot: I’m not too sure. Maybe not.

First: How long do you intend waiting?

Second: Don’t have an answer, but a bit longer maybe?

First: Don’t be such a bayanthangoli.

Second: Hey! Who you calling bayanthangoli?

First: You! Who else?

Second: Oh really? Ever heard of asattu dhairyam?

First: Better to be a bit asadu than a shivery-spook like you.

Second: Hah! Remind me to repeat that when I come and make faces at you in hospital, you…you…Point-Prover!

First: Bayanthangoli!

Very painful – this breakdown of relationships over an uncaring virus.

‘Revenge tourism’ – the latest buzz on the streets.

A word of caution?

Pause before you declare: “I don’t care. I’ll have a good time even if it kills me.”

You don’t want to give those dramatic exit lines and last-words too much power.

– Ranjitha Ashok

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