Author’s note: This article is purely sarcastic. Please vaccinate yourself. Stay safe. Stay sane. I have received both the doses of the vaccine, so perhaps, all this writing is just a serious side-effect.
Dear Covid vaccine,
I pity you. You must have imagined that the urgency with which we went into your research and its outcome would establish you as one of the most important life-saving medications available to mankind. You could not have been more wrong. Some people would admit that it is already a miracle that we have multiple personas of you available within a year of the outbreak. Probably, some nations and their scientists would appreciate it. Well, how has your Indian experience been?
I must admit, you started off with a bang. Indian companies were giving competition to their Western counterparts in research and after that, in production. The irony last year was that we were producing you in bulk, but we simply did not need you. The Indian population was already immune, many said.
You were turned into a joke, a meme. No one took you seriously. In an era where Indian parents expect their children to score 101%, you were only 80-94% effective across various types. Add to that the complications that arose after receiving your shot — mild fever, malaise, pain in the arm, fatigue. Such serious side-effects. You were like a joker to Indians, not the type who makes you feel better, but the Batman movie type.
Why would the Indian population risk you when they thought they are already immune and victorious against the virus? This is the land of people who cannot contract Covid as long as they wear a mask around their neck to protect their thyroid, or around their ears (When was the last time I saw such a sacred thread hung around the ear?). They can contract the virus while they are working for their daily livelihoods, but never when they are attending political rallies for, the virus is s**t (maybe, of a bovine animal) — scared of politicians themselves.
Some of your competitors in the country are the ones who have been clapping, banging thalis and lighting lamps to ward off the virus. Politicians have been ordering the virus to leave the country by using certain types of ablutions in all forms available (eating, drinking, local applications, bathing, incense). Young people were seen partying in private areas and finally, celebrating all the important (and unimportant) days of one’s life in the Maldives. All of these have been extremely effective as you must have realised.
We had forced corona away and had a surplus of you. Hence, we decided to use you as part of a barter exchange to earn friendship. Abundant volumes were sent to different nations in their bid to control the pandemic. Just like the pandemic, the praise and self-praise were unprecedented.
Well, your opponent, the virus, is free and not a slave of humans. It is, surprisingly, smarter. It followed the innocent people who were assembled together for little merriment, politicians and made its way back to the social domain. Well, slowly, we realised that you are somewhat important, but now, you are suddenly unavailable, albeit only to the common people. The politicians and their families, their extended families, the film industry and the cricket industry have all been receiving vaccine jabs at their whim.
Western countries are now discussing your third booster call in a few months’ time for their populace. It is easy for them to say these things. The effort to run a country of 1.4 billion people is something they cannot comprehend and I sincerely appreciate it. You must surely know how China is faring. Sorry, we won’t look at China because: a) we don’t like them, b) all this is their doing, and c) their reports are never true. They don’t give their people the freedom to not wear masks, go to private parties, visit green zones such as Goa and convert it to a scarlet red zone, and also, the right to choose not to take the vaccine. So, boo China, yay India!
Today, we don’t have enough space to perform the last rites of their loved ones, enough wood to cremate them, enough land to bury them; rivers are being used for the same. Who has the time to think about you when people are running from pillar to post to procure oxygen? Just recently, I saw another gem of India mocking and laughing at people complaining of breathlessness and lack of oxygen.
He called the nostrils two oxygen cylinders, legs as doctors and hands as nurses. I hope all his devotees, which includes our hard(ly) working politicians, follow these suggestions. That might take load off the healthcare system and also planet Earth in general. Seriously, I know yoga helps improve our health, but it is a lifestyle that has to be built up, and right now we do not have enough time to wait for this lifestyle to show effect. The only asana a gasping person might perform is the shav-asana.
Where do you stand currently, dear vaccine, in the political or apolitical discourse of the country? Should we receive you in 4,8, 12, 16 weeks or whenever you are available or if we even survive till that time? We need about 200 crore of your shots to vaccinate 70% of our population. It may take months for that to happen, which means more new variants may emerge by then and make this vaccine ineffective.
So, no offence, but to us, you are just a fall-back option, a cheap (or expensive) gimmick till people realise that yoga can cure all diseases. What’s your use anyway if people still have to use masks and are unable to spit paan or their mycobacterium-riddled sputum wherever they want? You do realise that this is a free country, right? You must be aware of the blame game that goes on in India — the uncaring politicians, reluctant people, biased media and the privileged celebrities.
Sometimes, I wonder if we will ever reach a time when eventually, there will only be three castes: that of politicians, their rally participants and media-persons (this includes all of us who are so hung up on social media). And in which social order? It does not matter, because as I have told you, you are just a joke. Tell me, honestly, has the rabies vaccine ever cured people who are bitten by the mad dogs of religion, caste, politics and media? Do they not go on infecting or killing others?
Important message: Please stay at home and venture out only if absolutely essential. When you venture out, wear masks. Maintain social distance at all times. Wash your hands regularly. Vaccinate yourself. Please.