Signs of the times: Diseases, pollution, suppression all around; is this called living?

Are we living in developed times? No way. At least in that bygone era there were no camouflages… lesser and fewer facades and masks

DW Photo
DW Photo
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Humra Quraishi

With new viruses hitting, the going seems to be getting tough …tougher by the day! Curbs even on free flow of thoughts has enhanced the mess of the general environment around.

Try seeing right and left or focus just straight ahead but beyond concrete structures nothing really stands out! Nah, not to be spotted any of the brooms swish–swashing dust from here to there. Filth spread out as never before even at the entrance of the Malls somewhat over-stuffed with 'phoren' maal but who cares!

Masks and medicines seem to be the urgent need of the day, as citizens are trying to survive in this façade-ridden scenario where even harnessing of that tiny little mosquito or any of the strays loitering around seems impossible by all possible might under the state machinery, so in utter frustration they hound and pound the two-legged human being, who is anyway dying a painfully slow death in these developed times! Gasping and fuming and fretting!

There are medical stores and clinics at every little turn. Several of those medical outlets are equipped with surgical dens. Outside, the dying and even the undying discussing death and offshoots: Hell is not up there! But right here in the midst of these hellish conditions.

Deterioration as never before. Earlier one could step out without wondering whether it was summer or winter or spring or autumn. No longer. To be checked and re-checked the time, day and month of the year. Why? Can’t commute during the ‘peak hours’ of the working days; with commuters scurrying around in that frenzied maddening way. These strains worsen during the winter fog, autumn smog, summer’s heat and, of course, during the monsoon flood fury …every chance of getting drenched if not drowned!

Enough of those daily disasters to demolish any of those romantic notions of rains –drizzles, aandhi –toofans. Forget all those romantic couplets, verses, folk songs and Bollywood lyrics on monsoon rains. Fast learn those contrived developmental graphs and those cooked up details to cooked meals and the other readymade bandobast to settle all those pangs, right from hunger to thirst to much more!

Wondering who the hell will come visiting? Nah, nah, don’t mean friends or relatives; they are busy fighting their own survival battles. Nobody is interested in mingling or intermingling unless a who’s who tag surmounts! Yes, such are these ruthless times!

Wrapped in nostalgia, I sit all sad and sullen, wondering rather aloud: weren’t we better off in those good old days when ‘developing’ or ‘under-developed’ we were with fewer wants? Just two square meals and that once-in-a-while dining-out break seemed to take care of everyday wants. The skies up there looked blue. The flowers bloomed. The human face looked carefree and hassle free. The human form was still about intact. Those were the good old days when we actually lived. And lived quite happily. Not like today where even the basic traces of survival are turning out to be such a nightmare….an ongoing struggle for survival.

Can we call this living? Are we living in developed times? No way. At least in that bygone era there were no camouflages… lesser and fewer facades and masks.

With today’s climate -- political and otherwise –turning murky, imprints of the mess are writ large on every single aspect. The basic day to day survival is getting nothing short of hellish existence. Darker lies our lives as the camouflages more than choke.

I am more than shocked when rulers of the day continue to talk of growth, development, longevity, and whatever else they can include in their package of the make-believe.

The environmental pollution is killing our very organs. The noise pollution is hitting the very heart. And the limbs cannot be left spared with strays around. In fact, in these recent times, humans have been detailing the havoc caused by monkeys and dogs and pigs on the prowl. Blatantly attacking pedestrians and intruding into homes and fields yet there is nobody out there to harness their moves. Shouldn’t the human being be shielded from these deadly attacks? In fact, though we talk of dengue and viral fevers but there is little focus on rabies.


The official killings by the State machinery can't be overlooked. And those spared by the Stare machinery are lynched and brutalized by goon brigades nurtured by the rulers of the day.

Today, political mafia has reached campuses where students could be hounded and harassed, if not treated like criminals. Hired political goons are made to enter campuses to cause rifts and with that less of academics and more of a war like situation.

Why don’t we talk of the terrible hunger pangs killing hundreds? Malnutrition deaths could frighten you and I, but for the rulers these are just numbers. They can talk of the vote -banks and money-banks but not of roti or milk banks, from where those basics could flow out to help save lives of hundreds of our dying malnourished children.

Perhaps, another nail in the coffin is the reality of trafficking and abuse of our young. There seems a nexus to it. The latest is the case emerging from Meghalaya, where a top-ranking BJP leader of Meghalaya has been accused of running a full-fledged brothel from his farmhouse at Tura in the state. Investigations are said to be under way but the stark facts and figures to this case can be termed alarming!

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