The Heavy Weight of Ignorance

by Chandrika R Krishnan

Aarti sat dry eyed, watching from the window  the swirling clouds as the plane steadily lost its height as it approached the city of Bangalore. The city seems to be alternatively lost in winking lights and shadows.  Sixteen hours of non-stop flying took her away from the home she had built over the last five years in New York.  It took her away from her American fiancé, whom she was to marry once the pandemic ended.  In one harsh stroke it took away her dreams of starting her own family with the man she loved.  It made her quit the job that had her cherish her mornings. She was on her way to her home that would be bereft of her parents and the sun set on her leaving her world in darkness.

She had been unable to sleep and had operated on auto pilot for almost seventy-two hours preceding the journey. From the time, she heard the news that her parents were hospitalized and there was absolutely no news about them except vague updates from relatives and colleagues, she couldn’t think.

“So much fuss for a simple flu! People are dying from fear. Positive mindset is all that you need. Moreover, people with lifestyle diseases are the ones who are succumbing!”

She looked over her shoulder aghast as she heard two women discussing without bothering to lower their tone. The plane had after all entered the home turf and the need to speak softly was no longer felt. It was always the case with our citizens. When they are in foreign land, their innate politeness is on display. Closer home, they turn shrill with scant regard for fellow passengers.

We are taking medicines dear…don’t worry. We are fine.  Moreover, both papa and I don’t have diabetes, BP or any such issues that are potentially hazardous. Her mother had told her mere five days back. They couldn’t have been more positive neither did they have the comorbidities that the women were speaking about.

“Pharmaceutical industry created the virus to boost drug and vaccine sales” the conversation behind her continued as the other woman piped in not wanting to outdone in sharing her pearls of wisdom.

She remembered her uncle’s voice travelling across the seas as she beseeched them to do something, anything.  “We are trying our best, Aarti but to no avail. The medicines are simply unavailable despite the fact that we are willing to pay way above the market price.”

She wanted to get up and lash out.  She wanted to shout:

I have lost my parents in a matter of five days within hours of each other leaving me and my brother orphans. My fifteen-year old brother is having nightmares and wetting his bed… My parents were doctors and died trying to protect you ignoramus folks from the pandemic. This virus is not a figment of any imagination, you morons…it does affect real people like my parents …

But then she sat and looked blankly out of the window as she saw her life disperse like the clouds below her knowing that her life would forever be shadowed by the corona virus pandemic.

Photo by Pietro Rampazzo on Unsplash

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