As I write – Saturday evening, just before 7pm in Delhi – there is a fair old storm overhead. The earlier torrential rain has eased up a little, but now the thunder has returned and there are strong winds. So all the windows we had opened, in order to enjoy the cooling rain, are now banging around, and we’re all rushing to close up again.
There’s nothing specifically troubling on my mind this evening, nothing more than the constant, ever-present background fretting over Coronavirus, but I find myself – well – fretting all the time about this awful virus, knowing all the while that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, other than keep me and mine as safe as possible.
The situation here in India is grim and getting grimmer by the day.
Last night we crossed the 4 million cases benchmark – with the fourth million taking only 13 days.
That’s what’s scary – the speed with which this awful virus is working its way through the country.
And just as scary is the apparent sense of drift in this country’s leadership.
To a lowly outsider such as your writer, it seems as though the governmental focus is no longer on the traumas that this country is enduring – Coronavirus, a dire economic situation and Chinese sabre-rattling on the Himalayan borders – to name but 3.
Instead we are treated to photos of the Prime Minister feeding a peacock.
The PM will not be taking questions in the next session of parliament, we are informed – as it is, he doesn’t do press conferences at all – so there is no way anyone can ask him what he’s doing about the pandemic, or the economy, or the Chinese incursion.
In his monthly radio address last weekend Mr. Modi talked about popularising indigenous Indian dog breeds, and the need to manufacture traditional toys locally.
We learn that the government will no longer spend our hard-earned taxes on diaries and calendars. No more governmental coffee table books. No using imported paper for printing of books.
All totally laudable decisions, I hasten to add (especially the indigenous dogs bit) but it all seems a tad beside-the-point-ish in the greater scheme of things. And it is precisely that greater scheme of things that is not being addressed.
4 million cases and rising.
Delhi’s figures are on the increase again. Yet bars are being opened and the metro will re-start from Monday (admittedly with stringent social distancing measures in place, we are told).
And so I sit at home, hunkered down, month after month, and I fret.
I am, of course, grateful that I have a home in which to hunker down, and money for food, and that we are all healthy, touch wood.
I do not take these privileges lightly. In a country like India, where tragically poverty is ever-present, you do not take anything for granted.
But I feel as though our government is taking us for granted.
It is presuming that we can all be diverted by photos of feeding a peacock, or talk of cutting back on departmental calendars.
That, in a nutshell, is why I fret.
Thanks for letting me talk aloud.
Stay safe, everyone.
Brilliant update Christine. Having been at a distance in the UK since last March, will be flying into it all this Thursday . Currently distracted by the bureaucracy of the multiple forms to be uploaded before travel. A form option tells me I am a stranded Oci in the UK!
Ah, so flights are operating “normally”, then? Prepare yourself for heat and humidity here. Hope the journey isn’t too bad – all masked up etc etc.
Hmmm Christine! Seems there’s more than one troll after you!? Just ignore them!
It’s a State government problem now what I make out of the centre,s attitude
I think you’re probably right, Balbir. Shifting responsibility…
People in tanzania do not know what corona is. They are laughing at the world.
Really Saad? Tell me more, my friend.
Christine Pemberton no covid 19 in tanzania. No lockdown even for one day. Hospitals are empty. Corona clinics have been dismantled. No one we know has the virus. No one we know is unwell. There is no fear. There is nothing. Tanzania has called their bluff and is winning big time.
Saad Bin Jung
Sadly the neighboring countries hate what president Magufuli has done.
He took samples from papaya and goats and gave them human names and sent them for testing to the best clinic in the west. All showed positive for corona covid 19. ???? such is the situation ..
Now if that has not made a monkey out of all those that went in for lockdown then what has?
Christine, one thing you are wrong about – he can fool us. His approval rating is the highest since he became PM. 78%. Time to bang thalis!
I know, my friend. I know.
Here is what the telegraph had to say..
Wow! What a punchy article, Madhusudhan. Thanks, I hadn’t read it when I blogged. Excellent read.
These are fretting times. Most of my patients that I see are suffering from extreme stress due to Covid, the political clime and the uncertainty of everything. I know that my emotions, sensitivities and general sense is always on high alert and that’s just stressful in itself. It’s the reason I go out with a camera to remind myself of the beauty of the world and document. it. Meditation and staying in the present is some relief before the next wave of fret and thoughts arrive with tsunamic (is this even a word… it is now) force. And then remember to breathe as it all recedes. Hugs Christine. And pay no attention to the trolls. Write. This is historical.
Thanks, as ever, my friend. Tsunamic is now most definitely a word
govt. has abandoned the covid because there is no easy victory there, which they thought would happen in 21 days
I’ll probably get trolled again for saying I 100% agree with you. Weren’t we told it would be over by August 15th? Something like that?
we were told govt. is on top of this, use patanjali, some ayurvedic medicine, papad, bang thalis, light diyas – everything but science,
Ram Venkatraman hope my trolls don’t start on you now…
Christine Pemberton: You must learn to ignore comments by lunatic saffronites.
Trying, Noni, trying, but their level of discussion is just rudeness.
I’m so sorry, my friend. I feel your pain.
Trust you’re all safe?
You expressed just what so many of us are feeling
Hope you are all safe & healthy, dear friend?
Yes, we are well praise be. But like you, thinking and fretting too. Too many things to worry about makes one develop a protective layer of nonchalance which is alien.
You all take care. Hugs
I too wish for a day when there is something positive to write about in this country that is not overwhelmingly overshadowed by the horrendous reality of our times- political, social and well…Covid-related. Meanwhile, I say keep away from nasty people and to a large extent from the news too.
There are days, Devyani, when I am tempted to stop reading the papers and stop listening to the news, but…that is not the way a responsible citizen should be, right? It behoves us all to be aware, just as it behoves our government to keep us informed. Well, I like to think that is how things should be.
Christine Pemberton I have always been an avid news reader/listener, believing, like you, that that is what a responsible citizen does, but during lockdown, I distanced myself from the tv and radio. I just read headlines on the BBC website. I think there was a point where i needed to protect myself from the anger and frustration of exposing myself to the incompetence and posturing of our current leaders.
Penny Winter yes, I know what you mean. AND I follow the UK news online, so there are days when I feel my blood pressure is going to go through the roof. More than anything, it’s the posturing and downright lies that make me furious.
Christine Pemberton I decided that it is sufficient to know they lie, I didn’t need to know the specifics as there is nothing I can actually do about those lies other than get angry. What I did decide to do once face masks became mandatory was to make them for friends/acquaintances and to charge £5 for them. All of the money goes to the Hereford food bank. That is something I can do and I suppose is my political protest at the actions/inaction/incompetence of our gvmt.
Penny Winter Good for you!!
I don’t think there’s a government in the world that knows what to do about Covid-19.
We have to look after ourselves, not expect to be looked after by a bunch of politicians.
We have to do our own risk assessments. Parties are risky. A wedding or funeral is not a safe space. Clubs are risky. Outdoors is much safer than indoors. Schools are probably ok. Handwashing is much more important than masks, even though masks probably help a bit.
We have to take our own decisions as individuals and small family groups.
I totally sympathise with how you feel.
Liz JS THIS exactly.
Liz JS exactly!
Liz, I 100% agree with you about the need to protect oneself. Here, though, we have the added strains of a collapsing economy and serious border issues, neither of which we can control.
I cn understand why you fret,I would,too,based on what you just shared wd us readers.
I do wish for a day where you’d either write something postive about this country or maybe leave it.
Why are you so rude?
Christine Pemberton and I notice his profile on FB is locked!
But Christine you are not alone in fretting! I think there are many who see their leaders and governments talking about minor issues – and not leading on those issues that are uppermost in our minds. Here it’s Brexit, Covid, the awful attitudes to finance and transparency of this Tory govt. it is very stressful and deeply unsettling! ?
Criticism, if and when there is, should be welcomed positively, as I do. If you can’t take it, tough!
However, what is not acceptable is the level of rudeness you have displayed. One really suggests you should wear your boots and start walking out of this page, before you are booted out.
I usually block such obnoxious people and delete their comments