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The lighter side of the Covid protocol

Bikram Vohra
Filed on October 29, 2020

(sebastien bonaime / Alamy Stock Photo)

One can understand fear and the bizarre mathematics of the ever increasing circles of contact that can drive us into frenzies

A friend called another friend who called another friend who told us that someone we knew had been hit by Covid-19 but don’t tell anyone, keep it to yourself. By that evening practically half of the town knew about it and were preening themselves on having kept it all a secret.

So while speaking to a colleague on the mobile he and I verbally pranced around shadow boxing to avoid the name because we had been sworn to secrecy and then we compared notes and both of us had the same name and I said, so what is all this secrecy? Isn’t it merely good manners to call and ask how they are?

No, he said, we cannot, that would be rude and intrusive.

What, to ask how they are out of genuine concern, this would be intrusive?

Yep, and rude, how the game is played we know nothing, no one knows anything, we all pretend it hasn’t happened.

And this is how friends behave, they scuttle around like crabs on the beach and they call this waltzing around a game but they don’t hold hands when a buddy is in a corner, figuratively speaking.

My friend is specific. He says, the fact is they do not want to talk about it. They won’t like answering the phone and pretty silly you will look if it keeps ringing and no one picks it up.

Got me thinking. Are we all running scared and inarticulate and that is why we do not engage in what are merely good manners, let alone the basic tenet of friendship (you just call out my name and I will come running) or is it some kind of absurd protocol because they might be judged for their conduct and lack of caution.

You cannot be guilty of getting Covid unless you really cocked a snoot at it and broke all the rules under that incredible mindset that nothing can happen to you. After all, it is not a crime to get Covid and 99.9 per cent have got it by sheer chance, not anything deliberate.

One can understand fear and the bizarre mathematics of the ever increasing circles of contact that can drive us into frenzies and the exhaustion of the waiting period till we get an all clear but none of the sensible distancing can prevent us from being supportive and ‘there’ for people we know and with whom we have spent years breaking bread. I do not think there is anybody who takes glee in another’s condition and these eight months have taught us a certain humbling that no amount of status and money can dent. We actually have a rising vat of humility, affection and caring than before.

Not only would the patient feel good but nothing stops us from sending nourishing food, asking if they need any kind of help, or just being there for them.

Look, even if a few folks got it because they translated their inherent fear into bravado and upped the ante by taking chances, the fact is Covid is a great leveller and the one thing we do have to keep the faith in is each other. Pick up the phone and call, and if it keeps ringing never mind. You have done the right thing.

bikram@khaleejtimes.com





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