Now that Mumbai is totally paralyzed after the PM’s speech urging everyone to stay indoors. The government has shut down all shops and eateries even hotels and their coffee shops are closed, trees to get something to eat at night the only thing open was the chemist shops. The roads are deserted even the street dogs have gone into hiding no doubt fearing the virus. My OYO rooms do serve tea and eggs but that about it, if this is going to be the state of affair for the coming few weeks god help me. All international air traffic has been halted and domestic airline traffic has gone down to 20% of capacity. The immediate impact on the economy has been devastating with the Sensex tanking and falling below 30,000, it was a sharp fall. Trade and movement go goods and services have halted, which has effected money supply and credit flow. Most establishments have shut down and so have private offices with employees advised to work from home. Even the Mumbai railways have asked only those to travel who are working for emergency services like doctors and nurses or paramedics.
Streets are dark as most malls are shut down and the huge lights of the cinema halls have gone kaput. I went for a drive with a few friends to see and feel the hollowness of the city. All that I could see was long empty stretches of shiny black tarmac roads, crisscrossing sleepy traffic lights. The traffic was almost zero so no one bothered with the traffic lights. Even kiosks and small paan bidi shops had shut down and there was no sign of street hawkers, with all auto riches parked safely by the side of the roads. The maximum city was at a standstill at 9:00 pm on a Saturday night, this was like a big emergency. It’s like the city was on war with someone, or like an unending curfew had been declared. Well with all the social isolation it looks like we are in a state of emergency not more than 5 people can congregate in a public place and all public events and rallies have been canceled.
I feel trapped now, had come to Mumbai to get some work done, meet people get some action assignment and sell some book deals, but the virus has taken us all off guard, now I am held hostage in my own room, with very little choices as to where to go how to spend my time and what to eat.
I spent most of yesterday watching web series on Netflix and listening to some audiobooks on my phone. Some friends called up and invited me to a pork rice dinner and I obliged. Everyone was concerned about the virus. I had bought a mask for my self from the street hawker and taken my precautions by washing my hands at all times. I informed my guest pork was a perfectly good meal to have at this time as the virus did not spread through cooked animal food, so non-vegetarians and pork eaters were safe. But my guests were sure that some great upheaval has to befall on mankind and it is nature taking revenge by rebalancing things. It needs to tale away some old people and make some space on earth. Why old people well the virus had killed many elderly people over the age of 65, look at Italy it has the highest mortality rate after China which was the epicenter of it all.
My early morning is spent researching information about the Corona Virus and how it spreads, plus what are all the lies and myths associated with it that needs to be debunked. Corona is a derivative of the SARS or MERES virus which has caused havoc in the past, it is a new derivative of the same shoot. But what is scary is that we have no vaccine for it and it may take a year before one hits the market. The reason is simple huge multinational Pharma companies do not think it’s worth the research effort to make a vaccine since these viruses are short-lived and after it has been dealt with the vaccine has not much use. Thus it is not cost-effective to try and make one.
But it is the perfect time for me to catch up on my reading and binge-watching. Do feel curtailed and trapped in an unseen cage at times, it’s like a shadow or a blanket has come over the city that is restricting the movement of everyone living in it, I do feel helpless and bored at times just confined to my bed, but I guess it is better than falling sick and infecting others with the virus.
Just started a new novel will try and finish it while the virus scare is on. I tried chatting to old friends on the phone but everyone is tucked upon in their homes my grandmother calls all the time just to check I am ok and not infected with the virus. I just hope I don’t go hungry due to this city lockdown. The food delivery services have been allowed to run through. The next 10 days will be critical I am told, if the infected rate can steady and then go down, we would have been successful in fighting the virus. The city skyline is full of hoardings about the virus and its nature and how one should protect themselves from it. India is still very low in the number of people affected and the number of dead. With this kind of regimented quarantine, I am sure at least psychologically people will feel safe and protected.
Might visit the houses of a few friends over the week for some chat and gossip is the only social contact I will have, as in my room I am totally alone. My morning walks and Rajnigandha breaks will all go for a toss for a few weeks after which I hope things will stabilize. But with no buyers in the market commodity sales would be down, leading to low turnover and a slagging economy. Coupled to that the banking fiasco and the CAA protests, don’t look to be exciting times to live in. There are gloom and doom everywhere with calls for Olympics also to be canceled.The only people who are busy are the ones selling masks, gloves, and sanitizers. I almost fell off my chair that a brewery making spirit owned by the elf spinner Shane Warne will double up and make sanitizers to fight the Coronavirus in Australia.
I for one feel like a bird in a. Cage with its wings caged. How could a virus that can hardly be seen by the naked eye make me feel so helpless and powerless? Indeed I feel like a hostage to the Corona Virus in the Maximum City