Is there no end to the sinister avatars of this damned virus. Nah, I’m not referring to the new strain which has put newer strain on China’s image and health services. The pressure is not just on them because, when Wuhan/ Quingdao sneezes, the whole world catches cold feet. However, my bitterness against this never-ending SARSon da saga is for a different reason: Apart from changing the meaning of life, it is squeezing the life out of meanings. ‘Infectious festive spirit’ used to be a metaphor. Apt because it was in the air, everyone caught it, and it spread quickly to Dada-Dadi, dandiya grounds, Durga pandals and discounted appliances, both digital and fidgetal. Now, courtesy the new Big C, ‘infectious’ has become the literal adjective. As a result, its noun, ‘spirit’, could evaporate faster than a carelessly uncapped bottle of Vodka. Uhmm, maybe not. To the nightmare of Harsh Vardhan and his health’s angels, Bong throngs have already declared that ‘Pujo shopping is our barthright, and no Cobheed-Shobheed will stop us from crowding Goriahat.’
The virus has also changed the meaning of festivals. Nastily repurposed them by turning them from safety valve to pressure cooker itself. A Brit sociologist had once predicted that, if there weren’t mass Durga Puja celebrations, there would be mass suicides in Bengal. Now that’s been upended. Festive bonding could have healed the months of despair. Instead, salve will become fatal sting.
However, sense and subdued decibels will mark my local Navratri. The usual Bolly ‘n’ bhajans celebrations of our housing complex have been called off. The slum-surround is unlikely to lasso the night with the booming loops of old staples. Looks like SRK’s ‘Lungi’ will finally fall off, and the ‘One-legged Hen’ of the suggestive Lavani number will chicken out.
However we can’t blame the virus for the skewed worship. The season’s deity is Durga astride her mount, but in our augmented mythology, the two have merged. The Gir lion is himself the embodiment of Shakti, say the bhakts, bullying and bullied. So, to him alone must we pray to slay the multiple Mahishasuras which have left us and the economy bleeding.
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Alec Smart said: “Finally freed, but will Kashmir really get to sing ‘Meri Mehbooba’? Or read ‘Omar Chitra Kahani’?”
DISCLAIMER : This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.