POLITICAL FARCE|VERSE|The Ballad of Bubba Buckley

Folks, put on your Hillbilly hats and read the below in your best southern drawls!

I was mindin’ ma own beeswax, toilin’ on the grange,
potterin’ in my chicken coops, Tendin’ to ma mange;
Got it off sweet Misty Dawn, the old ass at the farm,
She’s in Donkey Heaven now and left me with the charm.
I’d have a 12 Corona pack, and get drunk as Cooter Brown*,
I’d be swayin’ about the Hillby Farm until the sun went down.
I was happy as a pig in mud*. America was great.
And then the dammed Corona virus came to the United States.


I done not seen it yet; they say it’s kinda small.
But ma piggy babies are tiny too, and I can see ‘em all!
I got me a pair of new clod hoppers from Jed’s shoe estate,
To stamp out the damned varmint, if it came up to ma gate.
I also done taken out, ma AR-15,
And polished it up nicely to a mighty high gleam.
And If I ever see that Corona son of a gun,
I’ll mow it down with a full-on clip ‘fore I’m fully done!


The Corona! Who’d have thunk, that beer could be mean!
I’ve done throwed 24 cans of it on the grody heap.
I’m indulgin’ me ale-hankerin’ with this new “Lion Beer”
Brewed in Colombo, Kentucky by a good ol’ American brewer.
Now I sit on ma porch all day, until it done get dark,
Waitin for the cowardly Corona to holler its ugly bark.
I got ma gun on the ready, and ma virus killin’ gel,
“I’m ready for ya plonker, and you can Kiss ma go to hell*!”


They say the Corona’s got a magical wee cloak,
And you can’t really see the darn thang until you all-out croak.
And then it just eats ya, right up from the inside,
So you’re not there no more - like you just never died!
No sir! I ain’t gonna let that happen to ol’ Bubba Buckley,
I already got me a verse cut in marble for when I decease.
And then I heard our Cap’n Trump on the idiot box,
He said drinking De-tergent will kill the nasty fox.
So I went to ol’ Skeeters, and got me 20 pods of Tide,
Gonna have the whole darned lot with ma Lion beer tonight.

De Khudai pe aman

Southern Slang/ Idioms:
*As drunk as Cooter Brown: Very drunk; inebriated
*Happy as a pig in mud: very happy; ecstatic
*Kiss My Go to Hell: Kiss my a**
*Hankering: craving; urge

OPINION|The Goodliness of Godliness

The Covid “Whys and Wherefores”

I, like 70% of the planet’s human population, have been sitting in the now very, very, very familiar environs of my home for the past 6 weeks. Please note that the last very is purely a function of the extreme intimacy with ones personal spaces nurtured by pandemics and possibly, global wars. Thankfully most of us haven’t seen the latter, but from the word on Nostalgia Street*, even those were more sociably congenial times than the ones we’re currently living in.

That being so, we’re also now constantly bombarded with news, views and opinions and a fair bit of media-propelled propaganda, persuasion and proselytism. The opportunity to step back and take stock in this information-gorged environment is becoming as difficult as it is necessary. The 21st century version of Orwell’s Newspeak* is unfolding in eerie global concordance as we parrot phrases, speculations and judgements with an unusual homogenous fervour and abandon. The Herd Mentality has unfortunately struck much earlier than any much sought after Herd Immunity as we navigate through the confounding dominion of the Mighty Microbes.

The above is meant to give some background to my subsequent Blog op-ed below:

On the face of it, the current “dithering” of the Pakistani government on the issue of permitting Ramzan-related en-mass worship seems lacking in political guts, glory and everything in between. (In fact, it comes across as a shameless pandering to the religio-political factions which have over the years dug their prayer-calloused heels quite deeply into the statutory landscape of the country). And that may be so in the clinical versions of democracy and statesmanship. But the political landscapes of the middle and low income nations can’t be fitted into constitutional ideologies created by the First World. The cultural, social and religious fundamentals are so complex and unique to each country, that painting them with the “magic” brush of western democratic ideals is hardly astute or effective state stewardship.

Pakistan has the dubious advantage of having one of the youngest populations globally (barring some African countries). Over 30% of the 230 million people are under the age of 15; and the average Pakistani is under 25 years old. We know that the best immunity to be had is the one that we develop while doing a brisk Attan* with the pathogen. We also know that it will be at least a year before the second-best option of a vaccine will see the light of day. We know too that neither our economy nor our national infrastructure is evolved enough to tide the republic through a long-standing/ indefinite lockdown.

We then, are in the dubiously optimal position to relax the ‘Stay at Home’ regimen, crank up the rusty engines as they are, of local industry and begin our lives Concurrent to Covid. Chances are that the herd immunity will kick in by the time the next wave of the virus washes up on our shores and we should be better placed to fight the invisible enemy – mostly Immunity wise, because expecting commercially, socially or religiously advanced miracles of our slap-dash citizenry is like expecting the cow to actually jump over the moon. There will be some losses and all lives are precious ….so the First world fairytale goes. But the biting reality is that far more of those precious lives will be lost through starvation, avoidable illnesses, elevated crime, lingering civil strife and other disturbing consequences of putting the lockdown spanner in the national works.

Which brings me to my ambiguous role as a spokesperson of the devout:

While the very spirit of this stubbornness to worship congregationally, reeks of selfishness and non communal fervour in every way, it is also that trademark cantankerous endeavour at keeping the civic energy buzzing which is the critical element. Maybe this time, our self-serving religiosity is being endorsed by the universe itself for the salubrious irony inherent in the devotedness. Maybe it is one of those rare occasions warranting madness that may some day…later this year in fact, with round two of the virus, be touted as a modern day religious miracle: God will have been front and centre of our Ramzan ardour as our biology too, triumphs; and we exponentially build immunity towards a more robust future. Inshallah!

De khudai pe aman.

*Nostalgia Street: tales of yore/ anecdotal blasts from the past

*Newspeak: propagandist language that is based on discouraging free/ independent thought through reduction in the nuance and ambiguity inherent in the language

*Attan: a folk dance indigenous to Afghanistan and northern Pakistan

VERSE|I Sat Alone with Sadness

I sat alone with Sadness
I felt it’s grainy edges,
I saw it’s grey-bound form,
I touched its dark, dark heart
And then I heard it moan
it’s dolorous dirge.
It whispered of a gloom
that quelled the light inside.
It spoke of a despair
that clung like gnarled old ivy.
It lamented of an anguish
that congealed the blood within.
And i mouldered in the Sadness....

Then it dragged with it the phantoms
of Heartache and Desolation.
And finally it whispered
Of a Final Cessation.
And I listened....
And I crumbled...
And piece by piece, I sank ....
Until I had drowned in my Sadness.

And then the vortex glimmered;
There was promise of some light.
I floundered through the tempest,
Struggling to inhale!
Convulsing with release,
I finally broke the surface,
Of my abysmal grief.

And I wept.... And i wept...
And my ravaged spirit breathed,
As I embraced my Sadness.

De Khudai pe aman

FICTION|The Fatigue

I was so tired.

I arrived at my grandmother’s house, Z___abad, at a little past 3pm. It was a cool mid-March evening and the slight chill in the air felt soothing. I made my way up the broad walkway towards the main house. The familiar spring foliage in the inner garden was in full, salutary bloom. My favourite shrubbery running the length of the high ceilinged veranda was inflorescent with a myriad shades of green, ranging from the deep dark of the Monstera to the delicate green plumage of the Bougainvillea. The late afternoon light played lazily along the palm-shaded steps leading from the garden to the veranda – each umbrageous shape flitting like a gossamer phantom between the real and the shadow worlds.

There was a faint smell of the rose and bergamot incense that my grandmother had liked to enkindle every so often; usually, when the gastronomic labour of love demonstrated daily through prodigious breakfast and lunch preparations for the family and the contingent of domestic staff was done for the day. It wafted in barely perceptible undulations like shy little wraiths playing hide and seek.

I stopped for a bit to take it all in….breathe it all in. I was home.

But i was so tired.

I walked into the big, airy lounge, greeted immediately by the portraits of my grandmother and my mother. I looked at the pictures, and waited for the inevitable wrenching tug of heartache. It didn’t come. Instead, I felt a quiet calmness and solace… i was back home.

“You’ve arrived”. P. abai, the old homestead retainer said, looking at me quizzically. I hadn’t heard her come in. I smiled and we embraced. Z__abad and P. abai are intrinsically bound together in all my memories of the place.

“Where were you the last time i came here? You’d been ill and then they said you didn’t come back. I missed you”, I said looking at her gently smiling face.

“I’ve missed all of you too. I had to go away for a while….”. She hesitated, looking at me tenderly and then smiled again.

“I’ll bring you some tea – you must be tired” She said with an affectionate caress on my head.

I smiled at her and watched her go out through the lounge doors, melting into the evening shadows that had descended on the sun-warmed veranda. I shivered a little bit – the residual late winter chill had further cooled the evening air. I sat on my grandmother’s chair at the familiar old dining table. The edges of the flowery linoleum table cloth fluttered tremulously in the crisp March breeze that wafted in through the open doors.

I could still smell the incense faintly. I glanced around the room, vaguely wondering where it was coming from. It didn’t matter; it was replete with nostalgia and serenity. I looked outside at the garden. The twilight of dusk had succumbed to a tranquillising, soothing darkness.

Exhaustion washed over me.

I put my head back and closed my eyes.

I finally rested.

Khyber News Alert:There was an unfortunate accident on Highway S-1 near Charsadda this afternoon at 3.15pm. The Nissan Sunny car driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and had plunged head-on into a lorry carrying scaffolding girder beams. The driver has been hospitalised with a broken leg. The passenger, a woman in her 40s, died on the spot”.

PANDEMIC 2020|Home sweet Hom(age)

Of Garlic presses, Firestarters and the BBC

Starting with a cliche isn’t usually one of my proudest writing moments, but i’m employing the poetic/ prose license bestowed on all of us by these downright bizarre times. While it would seem almost counter-intuitive to wax eloquent on any kind of ‘home-boundedness’ at this juncture in our various mass lockdown and curfew situations, it is also a good time to cogitate on what makes the home so sweet. In fact, if i didn’t put some pixels behind the cause, i would probably undo a whole lot of the arduously achieved homestead allurement in a flash of claustrophobic bluster.

So here is my tribute to the delightfulness of my abode (albeit currently surrounding me unremittingly, endlessly, ceaselessly, 24 hours, non stop!)

My plants: The genial collection of flora in my balcony that brightens my day straight up. It’s like having some green friends over who have over time, set down roots at your place and have decided to stay for as long as you’ll have them. Some of the more enthusiastic boarders may encroach on your hospitality and bring along a few dozen other weedy friends to their fecund bedchambers off and on. Even so, the happy foliate assemblage outside my window never grows old. Bless them!

My Corridor: The 30 foot couloir (from the lounge to the kitchen) has saved me more than once, from enacting Stephen King’s Firestarter* routine. Every occasion i feel the cabin fever setting in and the heebie jeebies creeping up on me, i don my sneakers and kick-off on what i call my “20 Minute Corridor Constitutional”. The mental and emotional stress-release is phenomenal, not to mention the vast numbers I end up adding to my daily step count. There have been curfew-bound days when I’ve averaged 22,000 steps just from my corridor walkabouts. Needless to say, those were also the days I almost gnashed my teeth to the gums, uttered a lot of pandemic invective and played nervously with my well worn box of matches…..

(An affectionate cheer to my Dad here, who introduced me to these indoor perambulations as the salubrious aftermaths to a fulsome meal. Thank you Dad!)

My kitchen: The heretofore dubious capital investment in my home. I’ll put it out there: never had the inclination nor the interest to cook up a storm or even a mere waft of a breezy hours de oeuvre or 2. I have relied on the cooking graces of others – both at home and outside- to nourish me. So it is with a peculiar and rather hesitant delight that i have discovered the magic of the hob, the relish of shallow frying, the perfection of silicon egg poachers and the satisfying sharpness of a kitchen knife. No, no… halt that imagination forthwith if you please! The knife has gone straight for the heart of the vegetable or fruit I’m attacking, thank you. The macabre, keen-edged shenanigans i shall leave to the crime writers who are probably blowing off some dubious steam of their own! I quite like my kitchen now and have even added a garlic press to my list of things to buy post-pandemic; no store bought garlic paste for this kitchen adventurer! When in a pandemic, go the whole 9 yards. It’s a great lockdown time-batterer.

My 6 bottles of wine: I’m glad they were there when the psyche was engaged in a sanguinary battle with the curfew. They’re all gone now. ’nuff said.

My telly: Together with my first cup of tea of a pandemic morning, the caffeine hit is not quite complete without a dose of Doctor S. Gupta, David Eades and Christiane Amanpour, and of course a trademark Trump sound byte. The latter does much to alleviate the gravity of the situation with the copiously inherent comic relief. As I’ve been raising the bar on my Pandemic self actualisation scale, i have also begun to reduce my News addiction, and have actually watched a fair bit of Netflix. My profound cinematic conclusion: Stand-up comedy routines are chicken soup for the Curfew-bound soul!

Other digital media: My WhatsApp and blog spot connections with my near and dear ones have helped to keep the heart intact in all this mayhem. No matter where each one of us is, we know we’re just a meme, a joke, a💋 , a 🤗 and a 📞-call away from one another. Let’s keep rocking it my lovelies!

And so, it was on a Wednesday afternoon or was it a Thursday….. ? Which brings me to another realisation: There are no real days of the week in a pandemic, as one day seamlessly merges into the next. And so, it was on a Pandesday** that i sat back and took stock of my home and all the joy it still brings me when the world outside seems alien, blighted and frightening.

Home isn’t a place, it’s a Feeling – of security, comfort and serenity. And this is my homage to the whole gamut of protecting, sheltering homes and home-makers across the planet.

De Khudai pe aman.

*Firestarter: A 1980 Stephen King novel about a lass who was an accomplished arsonist in the tradition of most reviled, ostracised anti heroes

**Pandesday: any day in the course of the novel Corona pandemic

PANDEMIC 2020|The Journey to Calmness

Acceptance, Grace and Tranquility

It’s been tragic, arduous, bizarre and even downright dull in the wake of the Bacillus Extremis. It’s been stressful and emotionally draining. The novel Corona, in all its microscopic might, has turned the world as we knew it, radically upside down and even inside out. It’s left many of us wondering if life as we knew it, is an epoch now past and if we are indeed on the threshold of a new kind of world. An existence underscored by a uniquely new approach to community, sociability and even intimacy with our loved ones outside of our nuclear families. The anticipation of what is to come is tremulous with disquietude. Glimmers of hope are rare and are constantly shrouded by the ever-burgeoning core of this malaise we are calling the novel Corona.

I have over the long, sometimes interminable hours of the last month had ample opportunity to think, remonstrate, deflect, clamour, feud, conjecture and concede. Most times, with myself; sometimes with the screen of my LG television and also via a few unpropitious encounters with near and dear ones. Like many out there, i went through the whole gamut of emotions experienced in the aftermath of a trauma. The degree varied but the angst was much the same and it took the whole experiential sequence for me to attain my post-Covid calm and the almost existential approbatio* of whatever will be will be. Here’s my journey:

  • Shock and bewilderment – just as i was ready to come out of corporate hibernation and re-enter some semblance of a working environment, WFH* becomes the new standard. So it was back to a sketchy hibernation much like a wide awake, ready-for-a-big-fat-spring-meal bear who has blundered out in a blustery January.
  • Hypervigilance about the future – a zombie apocalypse was bound to follow and the only skill i could bring to the “Walking Dead” In Situ was an uncanny ability to multitask and a canny capacity to write farce…. facts, pithy historical facts…. who am i kidding, Farce with, I’m hoping, a bit of heart.
  • Intense anger and irritability – the cabin fever coincided very nicely with the PMS peevishness, so the beloved familial circle was hardly the wiser. They all took the usual ‘shelter in place’ when the spillways of tetchiness and petulance sent forth their monthly rush of acidity.
  • Sadness and depression – the biggest contributor here was the woeful lack of my mid morning caffeine ‘jostle’, imbibed in the form of a very anaemic latte in the wistfully clammy, alfresco environs of my neighbourhood bistro and wine bar. The atmospheric withdrawal has been excruciating…. “Oh Sugar! Honey honey! You are my candy girl and you’ve got me wanting you!”
  • Apathy and emotional numbness: This phase consisted entirely of tremendously long hours spent tuned into the CNN, the BBC and Aljazeera. I watched these unblinkingly, unemotionally, waiting for the penny to drop. At their end. For the media parody to finally end so i could go back to buying lacteous lattes and sipping them pensively while i waited for epiphanous writing plots to excitingly unravel.
  • Recurring nightmares – Saturnine, spine chilling horrors. I dreamt of being chased by the spectral detritus of every spider and gecko I’d ever cursed or quelled in my life – may the universe keep the arachnid and reptilian populations in its blessed, all encompassing (read: inescapable) embrace. It was terrifying and worse than any human zombie herd, bearing down on me with its gnashing assortment of acid-corroded teeth.
  • Acceptance – And then the essential provisions/ food trucks started coming with a reassuring frequency so we knew with a measure of confidence that we weren’t going to starve anytime soon. In their nutritive wake, we also got the bearers of big and little treats like ice cream, cheese, cold meats and cakes. And that’s when the tide turned on all the under-the-breath utterances from across the spectrum of condominium dwelling humanity. The “Myth of the Super Luxury condos” was in the happy throes of being nullified, debunked, annihilated- at least in this episode of Man vs. Corona. The Myth of Super-Luxury Condominiums – Part Deux; The myth of “Super Luxury” condominiums
  • Moving on – Many of us have harnessed our new reality and even temerity of our existence and moved on the best we can. Some have embarked on halting but brave attempts at reviving a hobby or honing an aspirational skill; others have revisited their approach to health with new fervour; still others are taking the time to unwind, meditate, introspect and heal. While we make our individual post-Covid journeys of renewal and self discovery, we have, as a species, also stepped back so that our battered planet can recover, revive and renew.

I leave you with the below lines from Carl Sagan:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam“.

De Khudai pe aman.

*Approbatio: Latin for approving, assenting, acceptance

**WFH: Working From Home

PANDEMIC 2020|Hairy Adventures – Part deux

Pandemic Special

It’s been just short of a month since the current curfew conditions were imposed in our city, and quite a lot longer in some other metropolises. And while the world at large has been preoccupied with the more immediate imperative of procuring food and other essential provisions, nature has been gleefully taking its regular course on all other fronts. Including the Follicular.

Three weeks on, and one can finally look in the mirror and know for a fact that what folks see of you now is what they actually get- an abundance of character, a pretty robust immunity (you’re still around aren’t you!) and of course the extra kg or so of all sorts of hirsute proliferation. This may include the heretofore publicly unseen unibrow, now quivering with health in its full horizontal entirety; and maybe also a quite robust moustache, that you last encountered when you were 14 and were still fast friends with all hair-related outcroppings. And of course the resilient growth on the arms and legs- a veritable extra canopy against the clammily bracing tropical breezes. Needless to say, many an air-conditioning thermostat has been adjusted to account for the extra covering, worn per force.

With the curfew now onerously plodding into its fourth week, the thin stores of razors and depilatories have also probably become nostalgic Ghosts of Hairlessness Past. And The more genteel amongst us are now probably spending more than a few of our locked-down hours thinking up ways of “taming the beast” before heading out for a session with Tania at Waxworks …. whenever that might be! The more constructively intrepid may even share a digital pearl of homegrown wisdom on the subject. So, together with updates on visiting food trucks, a social media hawkeye on this aspect may be of vast benefit to some….. many… who am i kidding, all of us!

In the meantime, the other denominator- the salon staff, are clocking their own glabrous countdowns to the time when they can alter the current Corona trend of Grisly Ladies who Lunch- in solitary. Needless to say, the urge to pluck, yank and depilate is intense across the entire salon confluence. I for one, got a lovely message from my resident spa wizard asking about my general well being. I told her that I missed her and that I was now quite definitely looking like Snow White’s wicked stepmother sans her magic (read: beautifying!!) wand. The hair was growing inelegantly grey and the eyebrows looked like 2 very, very distantly related cousins, in the aftermath of some personal endeavours in that area. In summary, I was not only suffering from cabin fever after all this home boundedness, but was with every passing day, looking more and more like I’d stepped out of the Neanderthal display in a natural history museum. She was delighted!

The age of the Corona is obviously teaching us more than just patience, forebearance and humility. It is also adjusting (correcting?) our socially conditioned sense of self as more and more, we’re letting it “all hang out”. Our partners too, are hesitantly/ puzzlingly/ apprehensively (depending on how much of a real life filter you had going on for yourself!) getting used to the peremptory au naturale trend of 2020.

The runways in 2021 will be interesting to watch. Nameless/ faceless models, with on-point face masks and matching all season gloves, teaching us elegant ways of walking 6 feet apart from one another. The post-Covid ramps will offer little occasion to portray beauty that is only skin-deep; picture perfect, surgically enhanced features will seem irrelevant and ephemeral after the corporeity of the previous year. It’ll probably spawn a whole new return to basics with a more authentic medley of wellness, beauty and form.

That will imaginably be a CSL – a Corona Silver Lining.

Hairy adventures

De Khudai pe aman.

PANDEMIC 2020|The Importance of being Gracious

(Quite as Important as being Earnest)

These are strange, even somewhat chilling times as we navigate through a viral storm of unprecedented proportions.

We have all been constrained to significantly modify our lives as we traverse the largely uncharteted waters of interminably extended curfews and lockdowns. Where the regular hustle and bustle of life as we’ve known it, has changed drastically to not only embrace a new kind of solitary social ideology but also how we go about procuring our daily provisions.

For those of us living in curfew-bound localities where we are dependent on the good graces of generally wayward supplies trucks that roll in occasionally, this change has been much more onerous. And that is where our hidden stores of grace, forbearance and compassion come in.

These are difficult times, no doubt, but everyone of us is capable of showing that essential modicum of dignity and consideration for our neighbours and fellow condominium residents as the case may be. So next time when our friendly Covid-era food trucks swing by, it would be a first class gesture of camaraderie and beneficence to fight the urge to amass as much as you can carry and then some. There are other residents who are in a similar nutritionally-deprived state, undergoing the very same Where’s-the-next-decent-meal-coming-from mental trauma and who would therefore mightily appreciate some manner of social solicitude.

So yes, despite the 40,000 year old homo sapien brain sophistication, there are those perplexing few among us who still feel their ancient Neanderthal instincts frantically kicking in when times are uncongenial. But, there is light at the end of that inter-epochal tunnel; a splendid little trick to help you overcome those unbecoming primeval compulsions: Drop down on one knee, or both (depending on your orthopaedic veracity) and pretend to look for some lost little thing (“Decency!” the crowd vociferates! But i digress…) Let the ancient brain, in the astute survival legacy of our Palaeolithic ancestors, urgently scout for the next meal potentially crawling by. That flagrant substratal self-reminder will almost surely help to put you squarely back on the path to Homo sapien self actualisation. And as the blood rushes to your brain while maintaining that perfect primate squat, stark Cro-Magnon man lucidity will hit even more sharply as you quite quickly realise that you’re darned well not going to munch through or cook those 2 Keells* bags full of vegetables you’re eyeing like manna from heaven, or wash your entire wardrobe 7 times over.

Let Grace into your lives- the quality that is; letting the lady in may cause inessential stress and scandal in these already testing times. (Bad joke- courtesy: Corona Fatigue!)

Come on folks, let’s be decent. Let there be kindness and empathy. And the vital awareness that never before has it been more important to unite as a community, a species and an intelligent, aware and perceptive life force across our wounded world.

Start with your neighbourhood. Be mindful. Be courteous. Be kind.

De Khudai pe aman.

*Keells: a prominent grocery chain across the island

PANDEMIC 2020|For whom the Curfew tolls

(The summons of the Paleolithic Man!)

A bit of a rant, this. We’re one of the few countries where the citizens/ residents are being superintended by an all-out curfew rather than the slightly more assuasive (read: civilised) “Lockdown”.

This is now Day 15 of the curfew and there is no end in sight. As much as the citizenry at large appreciates the abundantly aggressive government efforts to quell the spread of this bacillus extremis, there has to be a method to the autocratic madness. And I’m not even discounting the efficacy of the said establishmentarian mania – a lot of us do well with a touch of dictatorial fanaticism. It must, however, be accompanied by some reasonable strategy and respite to keep the citizenry from resorting to unbecoming and indeed criminal mental and physical health-preserving conduct:

  • Unbridled social revelry (Ad_ D___*: “11,000 imprisoned” for flouting the curfew, no doubt to escape the ‘house arrest’ atmosphere of the last fortnight now, and counting);
    Venturing out of their homes on the sly (Ad_ D___: “2,700 vehicles impounded”, of blunderingly-adulting truants who were probably out to procure some bread or aspirin).

The populace at large, indulging in all manner of deception and intrigue to beat the system.

The logistical support in terms of the supply of essential food stuff, personal care and pharmaceutical products has been dismal, nay, grievously absent. It’s almost like the people of the city have been coercively cast in a tropical version of “The Hunger Games” – all scavenging for anything they can even remotely use (or not; the urge to amass is supreme), to survive with some degree of grace. We are (and not very unhurriedly at that!) giving in to our primeval hunter/ gatherer nature as Meghalayan supply chains have become woefully erratic at best and quite absent generally.

To the powers that be and to the Curfew administrators at large: we appreciate your version of tactical warfare in the face of the NCoV** assault, but a tad more thought behind the how, when and wherefore of maintaining order, and indeed the cycle of life itself in the Oceanic province*** is paramount. Get the perishable and non perishable food and medicines supply networks organised across all sectors of the city. When all’s said and done, with all its malefic pestilence, even the Corona plunges forth as per set environmental and proximity protocols. We, then, are touted to be the intelligent species, at the top of the food chain.

De Khudai pe aman.

*Ad_ D___: news portal/ broadcasting channel in the country

**NCoV: Novel Corona Virus

***Oceanic province: from Orwell’s “1984” where the the main plot unfolds in London, in the Oceanic Province that “had once been called England or Britain”

PANDEMIC 2020|I have a dream

and i see Nature hazarding light but sure-footed steps into the concrete enclaves that have been striding into its realm for a few unlovely centuries now. It flits, it floats, it lingers a little longer; it sees, it feels and it widens its embrace.

And then i awake.

More and more, it’s a jungle out there as we are regaled with surreal footage of peacocks dancing across barren asphalt; mountain goats bestowing sure footed and scraggy-toothed assistance in low-hedged gardens; and other oddly uplifting images of the multitude of usually bashful flora and fauna as they attend their debutante balls in the squares, streets and arenas that once thronged exclusively with human life. This is Nature taking its first reticent bow in the tumultuous world of man.

The stage devoid of humans however, has not been such a bed of roses for all of God’s creatures. These are those hapless urban-bred packs of stray felines, canines and even a sizeable multitude of the avian population that have, through the ages, adapted to living with their human counterparts (masters more like it – let’s not be so incautiously delusional in the midst of all the introspection, ideological compassion and post-pandemic resolutions brought on by the Invasion of the Corona). Their food supply which in most part depended on the scraps and oddments of the teeming human millions going about their day, has all but dried up. But, if you’re somewhat discerning and ever so slightly intuitive, you’ll also be seeing a frenetic, almost instructed regrouping of these various species. They are congregating on empty streets, in deserted markets and abandoned rooftops to discuss, formulate and deploy a Future Survival Strategy.

Probably sans the humans.

I have a dream….no, it is a veritable nightmare. But, it is a dream: where all of Nature with the stark exception of humankind (we lost that badge of honour a long while ago) is devising a massive incursion to restore balance on Earth. From the jungles and deserts; through woodlands and swamps; across fields and gardens; from treetops and subsoil; via sewers and drainpipes – a coming together of millions of species with the sole purpose of repairing the life-force equilibrium of our planet.

And in this blitzkrieg, we the Homo Sapiens, are the Covid-20 they are dealing with.

De Khudai pe aman.

Mahvash.