Reality Bites: Why not have our own photographs on COVID vaccine certificates ?

There are so many unanswered questions. How did TV channels get so many BJP supporters to debunk Mamata Banerjee’s version of how she was injured ? What were they doing so close to her ?

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

Rupa Gulab

After valid objections from the TMC about violations to the model code of conduct, the ECI grumpily relented and said that photographs of the Big Fat Stadium should be removed from COVID certificates in all election-bound states. Which is why I’m deeply distressed that the state I currently live in is not going to the polls right now. When my turn for the COVID vaccine arrives, I will be stuck with a certificate that has the Big Fat Stadium grinning and leering at me, boo hoo. The man is so needy, he wants all of us to carry his mugshot in our wallets, but sorry, I’m not a fan. It’s just too bad that Covid certificates cannot be binned or sold to raddiwallas. They have to be preserved carefully, because they could be yet another mandatory document we need for travel, jobs, etc, in the near future.

After a few hours of meditation, I have come up with several ways to save myself from the horror of carrying the Big Fat Stadium’s likeness around with me wherever I go. First, I have to quell my natural instincts: I usually cannot stop myself from adding horns and a trident when I see his mugshot in my daily newspapers. Considering that there have been photographs of him on almost every page since 2014, I’m certain you will discover one of my works of art when you make a purchase from your friendly neighbourhood jhal muri or bhelpuri walla.

I daren’t do that to his picture on my COVID certificate, though. The RSS-BJP has infiltrated the bureaucracy, and I will probably face the wrath of a Babu when asked to produce the certificate. I can always blame my nephew of course, but why get into that conversation at all? It’s safer to draw a Covid mask that covers most of his entire face, so I can virtuously say that my conscientious nephew did it because “8 PM Uncle wasn’t wearing a mask in the picture”.

Alternatively, “accidentally on purpose” stains may do the trick to obliterate that mugshot. Irate Babus may not buy the ink spot (who uses fountain pens these days?), but dark soya sauce is a decent option. The nephew will be blamed, of course.

I am also considering concealing it with a sticker of an angry emoji (nephew to blame again), or permanently pasting a passport-size photograph of myself over his picture with superglue. It’s my certificate, so the picture should be mine and mine alone!

Honestly, I just cannot see the point of his picture on the certificate. Does he want us to think that he created the COVID vaccine all by his clever self in some little cowshed? Is he not afraid that whenever we encounter a nasty virus we will  immediately think of him? Remember how hastily hoardings with his picture at petrol pumps were pulled down after he raised petrol and diesel prices: he is terrified that whenever we are shocked by fuel prices we will think of him. Not that it makes any difference now—those hoardings have been up ever since he came to power, have left a deep impression on us, and will stay in our minds even after we get heart attacks at petrol pumps and are rushed into ICUs. Do add hospital bills, chocolate boxes for doctors, and tips to nurses/ward boys to the price of fuel.

While on hospitals: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee spent a couple of days at one in Kolkata with an injured leg and bruises on her upper body. Nobody knows for sure if she was attacked or met with an accident at Nandigram, but oddly enough, most of the eyewitnesses interviewed were BJP supporters. Which makes me wonder: why were they mingling with her supporters, and why were they that close to her car? It also makes me wonder about Suvendu Adhikari and other politicians who dump secular parties, join the BJP and become violent bigots overnight. Are former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s favourite tantriks from Madhya Pradesh flown in to perform a spot of black magic on them?

The good news is that Didi will be campaigning soon, in a wheelchair if need be—now that’s a picture that will win hearts across the nation.

( Any resemblance with real people or events is a coincidence)

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