I Masked By Unmasking You
Illustration Courtesy: Tobin Bell (Saw V) by YuskivRoman
Hello mankind, I don’t need any introduction. I know you are completely dilapidated and shattered because of my diverse forms and mutations. At least, for many generations, you won’t forget me. I have turned you into autodidacts. I am not a strange guest anymore, but have become an inalienable part of your families as well as your society. Rather, I have become the talk of the town for over a year and a half now. I have engulfed the entire globe. But let me tell you that I didn't differentiate between the haves and the have-nots, the high and the low, the developed and the under-developed. You have been dealing with me by socially distancing yourselves, but for me you all are alike. I have made a foray into your celebrations, plans, decisions and gatherings alike and have crumbled all your systems to encroach into every mind and body despite your scientific or non scientific temperament and technological know-hows that you have accumulated over centuries of basic and applied research against foreign elements like me. Alas! You couldn’t desist my arrival, encroachment and rapid aggression. How could you? Haven't you always been busy with your worldly affairs?
Don’t be confused about me. I am neither a super being nor a wise man. I am microscopic, minute, much unlike you humans. I don’t have any credibility to stand against you. Still I attempted and succeeded in my mission. Let me elucidate, I didn’t appear arbitrarily or out of hearsay. I have a purpose. A purpose to expose the fragility and vulnerability of your species in particular.
I am merely a harbinger. You might have witnessed my subordinates before me, but in different forms like AIDS, Ebola and Swine flu. They have been carried by monkeys, bats and pigs, to warn you so that you can better understand the basic purpose of your life and live amicably and peacefully with your fellow beings and other species as well without creating a mess. But you took those warnings for granted and went on defacing and destroying this beautiful planet - the only place in the entire solar system where life exists. When all the subordinates from my species failed to bring you back on the right path, I was compelled to enter your busy world. No one would have even thought of my arrival. It doesn't matter whether you give me horrible names, or simply call me ‘Corona’. Sadly I could not produce the luminescence of the real Corona.
After residing amongst you for over a year and a half now, I have primarily witnessed the plethora of your miseries, the unbearable pains, the economic recessions, the frustrations, the deep depressions, the uncountable sufferings and the dead carcasses of your own people. I swear that I don’t really enjoy your losses. You might be thinking that I don’t want to leave. No, you are entirely wrong if you even try to think so. I do want to go out of your lives. In fact, a few months back I decided to disappear for once and for all but just when I wanted to leave, I remembered that you have left no stone upturned in destabilizing the sustenance and normal balance of living systems as well as robbing the earth of its beauty and grandeur, throttling other species and using it’s potential resources indiscriminately. So, I decided to maintain status quo.
Meanwhile, I taught you physical distancing, social distancing, sanitization, things which should have comprised the basic ethos of hygiene long before. There is something else I have done. Despite the deep territoriality, boundaries and frontiers, I have deepened the process of globalization by making the countries interdependent for vaccine. It turned out that I am so dangerous and lethal that even vaccines have failed to achieve their full efficacy and lost the battle to me. Could I yet make you to contemplate that life is no doubt a hustling of probabilities? Did I make you contemplate on your limitations?
Let bygones be bygones. Let's enumerate my positive aspects now. The World Health Organization finally declared me to be a Pandemic. Ideologically, I was the ideological triumph of the categorical imperative of Immanuel Kant's concept of Human Dignity. I made countries shed their egos and give up mindless competitions of trade and benefits, all the while giving mankind it's high pedestal. Wasn't I a blessing in disguise? I gave a chance to Nature to reclaim herself. Mankind could see the endangered dolphin, the lion, the tiger and the snow leopard losing to encroaching human habitations and did nothing. I coerced countries away from thinking of building industrial military complexes and arms-importing and led them towards spending handsome amounts from their GDP, on health care.
I didn’t discriminate but look how I came to know your darker side. I witnessed thousands of dead bodies flowing in the Ganga which mothered civilizations. And yet civilization failed. There were no dignified cremations anymore and in a pathetic attempt at saving themselves from social stigmas and ostracism they threw their loved ones into rivers.
I didn’t discriminate, I attacked both the world class celebrities and the underdogs in the same way. Economists say I have deepened inequalities. I made the poor, poorer and the rich, richer. But there can be a Trickle Down Effect. I have questioned your healthcare systems, I could see you put everything at stake for an oxygen cylinder which they couldn’t get. You have still not learnt. You still take every breath for granted.
Illustration Courtesy: Mirror — Collin Elder
As Homo-Sapiens, you are now 2 lac years old on earth, and hence you have forgotten much. Allow me to remind you about your achievements and milestones you have crossed. I am a product of your mindscape. Planet Earth came into existence some 4.6 billion years ago after the Big Bang and you appeared on it some 200,000 years ago in Holocene. When you were only a few in number, your movements were limited and your needs were only few. Every other organism including you was bestowed with everything for individual survival and sustenance on Earth. Tell me what happens when your greed outgrows your need? You are wise enough to know. And despite that wisdom you started grabbing resources and spaces that did not belong to you. Your greed instigated you to encroach into the domains not meant for you. What have you done to yourself since the Industrial Revolution in 1759? Did you since even spare a moment to look back? Didn’t you launch a mission to cut innumerable trees and destroy forests? Did you for once think about the increasing carbon dioxide concentration and the reduction of oxygen in your atmosphere? Aren’t you yourself suffering because of the immense scarcity and shortage of oxygen supplies? Isn’t it you, who has made infrastructural developments and achieved milestones of progress at the cost of other species? Did you ever think of any form of sustainable development? You have instead limited ‘sustainability’ to the talks in conferences and seminars and kept denying reality. Did you ever look beyond yourself and even spare a thought about your succeeding generations as well as millions of other species who coexist with you?
Did you forget how your peers as well as your neighbors and relatives are grappling and feeling uncomfortable by your moral & ethical degradation? In the rat race for modernization, did you ever ask or care about your own people? Didn’t the noble institutions like family, marriage, kinship and religion lose their meaning and value once you started to value nudity, vulgarity and profanity? Aren’t you friendly with illegitimate sex and pornography? Haven’t you become addicted to drugs and other illicit habits like cyber-crimes? Have you ever looked at your metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities? Who is responsible for turning these urban places into breeding grounds of illicit crimes, human trafficking and flesh trade? Who has breathed into them the notion that ‘time means money and money is god’? Haven't you always favored individualism over collectivism and pushed the latter to its dead end?
What about your technological endeavors? Wasn’t it you who instigated the two World Wars? Did you forget those dreadful moments of August 1945 when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were almost wiped away from the world map? You still did not stop. Aren’t your own people suffering because of poverty, hunger, undernourishment, unemployment and your conflicting interests that you deliberately don’t want to solve? Did you ever check and control the menace of corruption in your corporates? Haven’t you become a champion of nepotism and redtapism?
Haven’t you favored blue eyed candidates over meritorious ones? Aren’t you responsible for uncountable suicides of toiling farmers, women and unemployed youth? Have you ever thought about industrial or commercial disasters? Didn’t humanity pay a huge price for your blunders in Chernobyl, Fukushima, Minamata and Bhopal? Haven’t you rendered animals extinct? Aren’t you still on the mission of wiping out dozens of other species?
Still if you think it is merely an allegation, relax for a moment. Take a long breath and ask yourself, aren't you to blame for population explosion? Who has vandalized nature? Who has compromised the sustainability of forests, wetlands, ecosystems and even wild beasts? Let us call a spade, a spade. It is your self centered nature, careless approach towards other’s lives, consistent lack of responsibility and unwillingness to think or act judiciously.
You have done your best to disfigure Mother Earth. Every other species thinks you are a blot on its beautiful face.
Illustration Courtesy:Collin Elder
If you are responsible for producing all this mess, why don’t you rectify your actions? Next time, think of other lives before making any advancement in scientific, technological, socioeconomic or military endeavors for your betterment. Do you for once feel that none other than you wants to live in a better and free environment? If this isn’t the case, why are you still unwilling to stop? Are you waiting for a messiah to hold your hand and guide you to the right path? How long will it take for you to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong?
Maybe I will leave finally. But maybe I want to preoccupy you in predicting the next wave of the disaster. But no, no one knows with certainty when I'll be knocking again. Fiddling with you is fun. I can trick you with symptoms or remain asymptomatic. I have woven conspiracy theories. I am bigger horror than a nuclear warhead. Some times I have heard you say that I am a biological weapon, but you could not trace my origin or purpose yet. Before I leave, I assure you I will leave indelible marks on your conscience. I will teach you how to live and let live.
These are trying times and rest assured nobody is going to step into your shoes. Only you can take a rational and just stand that will ensure liberty, equality and fraternity and give all a right to decent life. Only you can ensure the survival and mutual coexistence of every species to whom the Earth belongs. Try and beautify human existence. Give it revised standards of cooperation, control, morality, ethics, integrity, mutual respect. I don’t doubt your ability or resilience. After all you are my Frankenstein.