Covidiots: Here in my backyard

There is an elephant in the room. The pesky flu is all over town. Old and kids, rich and poor, are all, included in its tour. If you fail to self-isolate, maintain social-distance and clinical hygiene, wash hands regularly, and apply your mind to avoid fake news, herd-mentality and other absurdities, be sure, you’ll make entry in its tour-diary. Remember, COVIDIOTS are cosmopolitan, found all over the world. After watching the brave, warrior-tipplers (bewdas), standing neck-to-neck, in the serpentine queues and jostling in the scorching summers for a possible queue-jump, to buy liquor (and serve Indian economy) there is no doubt that even when people can practice social-distancing they seem culturally opposed to the idea. The genre of COVIDIOTS is certainly as global as Coronavirus.

If the Covid ratio of 10:1 in favour of Jammu is indicative of the prevalence of COVIDIOTS in Kashmir, let’s face it, chips are down that the catastrophe isn’t the result of the inane virus alone. For sheer survival in the (conflict) situation of dehumanization, and economic and political uncertainties, Kashmiris have learnt to be dissenting, defiant, and incredulous of the existence of good. We’ve grown unreasonable and idiotic out of fears, doubts, and despair & can’t differentiate between friends and foes, good and bad and halal and haram. As the pain of the loss-of-ownership prevails, the insatiable and unrestrained desire to defy is a possible reason why people violate orders of social-distancing.

When the domestic flights operated, travelers returning from abroad were packed together in buses at Srinagar airport. What made these people most uncomfortable was the hotchpotch uncoordinated administrative-quarantine in the dingy hotels, nominated for the purpose?  Bureaucrats, influential persons and go-getters, pulled strings to let their loved ones escape quarantine. Whiz-kids morphed identity cards, played with travel documents and used every trick to dupe the authorities. To escape quarantine, girl-students returning from Bangladesh caused hoo-ha. Dead in the night, in the hotel, they panicked into making emergency calls for medical help. The affair however, failed to turn out as the miscreants wished.

Had Coronavirus been a monster, visible to the naked eye, COVIDIOTS would lockup themselves in closets and prefer starvation than eaten by the deadly monster. Perhaps, these jerks have no inkling that Coronavirus is always there and doesn’t take a timeout during evenings when COVIDIOTS come out, to avail of the undeclared ‘relaxation’, overfill markets and goof around on foot, on bikes, in cars and load carriers. COVIDIOTS aren’t all illiterates as we normally understand. A physician, retired as professor from SKIMS, for example, doesn’t have a slight idea that he flouts social-distancing when he shouts azzaan in the masjid, locked due to Covid19, and then cajoles faithful into offering the congregational prayer. As one admires himself, because of his learning, he regards himself superior to others, becomes careless & doesn’t consider his sins to sin. The 6-ft tall fifty-something engineering bigot, always antsy to shout azzaan (and lead as imam), follows the suit. He sneaks into the masjid, says azzaan and leads as imam, ditto respected professor.  The COVIDIOT also manages to lead the Friday prayers.

Super-spreaders lie, hide their travel history. Except those few that realize their blunder and present themselves to the authorities, a majority of these COVIDIOTS are hunted for ‘contact-tracing’. COVIDIOTS once declared positive, would escape from hospitals, visit masjids, religious congregations, and their families and undertake social hobnobbing. The upshot, much to the shock and inconvenience of the ‘contacts’, they find themselves rounded up for at least 14-days quarantine. Following the death of a Covid patient, rich, educated and religiously conscious COVIDIOT family members fight the authorities, tooth and nail. They refuse to test for sampling. A senior journalist declared ‘contact’, claims, he’s ‘highly-connected’. Adamant to be accommodated in a three-star hotel and served sumptuous food every day he refuses to board the bus that ferries ‘contacts’ to the hotel for quarantine. A batch of ‘contacts’, after 14-days quarantine, confirms positive. It turns out that during quarantine COVIDIOTS hobnobbed, dined, smoked, and slept together without giving a hoot to social-distancing.  One Covid-positive patient, from the lot, passionately hugs and kisses her son when he visits her.

While the majority of the front-line doctors/health-officials actively fight the Covid-war, the work-shy COVIDIOTS that include senior doctors and medical staff with no motivation to work, melt away in the nick of the time. Some of these COVIDIOTS, posted in the major hospitals, won’t even hesitate to shoo away the Covid-positive patients that need critical care. COVIDIOTS are also responsible for the mess-up reported in the sampling. If the COVIDIOTS, like profiteers, hoarders, black-marketers, timber smugglers, illegal constructors see lockout as a godsend opportunity to rake-in heaps, the effete politicians engage in trivialities. The lily-livered Abdullah-father-son-duo that escaped the long spell of solitary-confinement has since shut up their trap. They know they’ve not a word to say. Like other COVIDIOTS, they while their time, couch-potatoeing with their shiny baubles or issuing condolence statements in the press.

Doom-scrolling through all of the social media feeds, looking for the most recent upsetting news about Coronavirus, the amount of time spent in the lockout is directly proportional to how much worse you’re going to feel after you’re done. For COVIDIOTS that have gone insane, frustrated, and even inadequate, let’s pray, the happier days are here again. With Ramadan having already worn on, and the repertoire of the pulpit-singers having been minuscule, limited to Azzaan only, people will miss cacophonous voices that otherwise emanated from speakers in Ramadan…. the silky voices, resonating with the melody that emerged, nothing short of ethereal and Jargonful, lyrical, kind of sound coming out of the lower level of the pharynx.  Thanks, to social-media-bigots, wearing their Islam on their sleeves, they kept running on to be up onto their version of Islam.