Protect the Police

The folks most exposed to the threat are the Police in the streets. Some of them wear cloth masks, and most have covered only the mouth. A few have the lathi in hand. They are constantly challenged to engage with argumentative bare-faced Bangaloreans. There has been a recent release of visors to them, and an occasional policeman wears it. It looks proper and safe, and god knows every policeman should be ordered to wear one.

Sometime during the week, there was a steep spike and a scare and the topmost police officer did elaborate rounds of the city. He was aghast at the numbers in breach of the lockdown. He unloaded his anger on his next in command — reproduced verbatim by the press — who passed the compliment to his next. The reprimands must've gone down the chain; the following morning, the results were on show in the increased checkpoints, the number of personnel at each, and the vigour there.

On our way back home the same evening, at a post on Hosur Road, a scooterist with a pillion rider attempted to get past the barricade using our car for cover. An alert cop caught sight of him and gave a shout. Ten uniformed men jumped on the two, both young, and helmetless, now touched by terror. Our driver moved on, and we turned to watch the action behind. An officer pulled the key out the scooter. The riders abandoned their two-wheeler and made as if to run. A couple of lathi-holding cops whacked them below their seats, hobbling them in an instant. We could see their faces, crying out in pain. As regards the policemen, every single one was wild with the boys, and they were speaking their anger to them.

It was a fertile field in that mêlée for the virus to sail around and hop in and hop off at will — policeman to policeman to civilian to policeman.

Liege to Trump

Through this crisis, Trump owns my mind-space. This is no doubt colonialism of a type. Back when Barack Obama held this acreage of my psyche, he was a light and rather welcome presence. Trump began as an intruder; now he's an obsession, an addiction to faraway men like me on the other side of the globe — just as how the bitters get you in their grip. In recent news, the channels aren't saying if Trump is taking the cures he has proffered. I haven't looked on Fox, or Republic TV — the latter is cruel to my tinnitus-afflicted ears.

Arsenic Album 30

My wife met today a homoeopath. He has a course of preventive medicine for COVID 19, to be taken twice a day, for five days. Did she pick it up? Absolutely. Are we taking it? You bet.

I will take any preventive — allopathic, homoeopathic, Ayurvedic. But I refuse the disinfectant, the bleachers (what are they?), chloroquine, and UV radiation. As regards our local wise, and their prescription of cow urine, I argue vehemently that they are right to drink it. They deserve the elixir, which rightfully is for the use of none but the most ardently faithful.

Most intriguing of all is the name of the homoeopathic medicine that we've got. It is Arsenic Album 30, and I have two doses of it inside me already. I've been wondering if taking it is no wiser than ingesting disinfectant. I won't recommend it to you. I'm not a doctor, as the Stable Genius says. Will you perhaps pray for me, and also for my wife, who starts every one of these things.

Rustic Response to Distancing

The best response to calls for distancing is heard from rural areas. The villagers have set up roadblocks across the (usually) single entrance and exit to the village, barricades made of high, compacted mud heaps. Cars and motorcycles cannot cross, and any foolish bravado is under pain of a mob attack that could lead to a lynching. If you're lucky, a panchayat might assemble and hear you out, but justice would be quick and summary — and Tarantino Quentineque. In India, dear reader, we've come to resemble the Wild West.

But sorry. Our bucolic brothers are mostly nice, really, and more so here in the Peninsular. No offence intended. I may be flogging fake news even, the real truth is that I'm trying to be funny. "Laugh," my wife tells me every now and then. "Laugh," she presses, vexed with my unchanging expression.