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.