CORONA STORIES #LOCKDOWNSTORIES #DAY4LOCKDOWN LOOK MR MODI, YOUR BHAIYON AND BAHENON ARE MIGRATING By Neel Anil Panicker As I wake up to DAY 4 of LOCKDOWN, the news isn’t very bright. Sitting in front of the TV makes for a very depressive exercise. All one gets to see and hear are more and more horror stories coming from differenr parts of the world. Today, we learnt that America has overtaken Italy and China as the nation with the maximum number of COVID 19 cases. All its 50 states have been infected and the number of dead touching over 600 and the infected numbers touching over 50,000. A guy, a medical practitioner came on camera to say that the coming two weeks are crucial in the determining the extent of the spread of the deadly virus He said that currently only New York is under lockdown, but if the government doesn’t immediately lockdown all the other states including its counties, cities, towns…even sqaure and street then its people would have to face very frightful consequences. “The situation would then very grave and extremely unmanageable” were his exact words. Britain too has come under the spate of the virus and with each passing hour the Corona virus is spreading far and wide and inflicting more and more of its citizens. Closer home, India too had a very depressive fourth day. The news from Kerala and Maharashtra doesn’t augur well for the future. The southern state particularly had a very horrific day as many as 30 news cases are detected with 26 of them coming from a single district Kasargod, the northern most and onw of the most backward districts, also bordering Karnataka. Incidentally, the main culprit happens to be one man, an NRI who returned from the Gulf but did not disclose to the authorities that he was Corona Positive. This infected person then went ahead to attend no less than 5 social gatherings, tgetevy infecting not just his immediatè family members but also all others he came in contact with. This drives home the oft heard statement that a lot of the Corona patients have got it from the ‘foreign returnees.’ A natural corollary to that is another oft heard saying floating around the internet that COVID 19 is a rich man’s disease inflicted on the poor. A case in point: Prince Charles and British PM Boris joins the power club of movers and shakers who have been infected. Speaking of the poor, the whole day saw very disturbing images of very poor and impoverished daily wagers hitting the roads with entire families in tow, several bare footed and clutching onto to half torn bulging bags, the women holding onto to toddlers and a few even carrying month old babies in their arms. It is ‘reverse migration’of the worst kind as these hapless and helpless citizens of India are forced to leave the big cities and head towards their village, many that are over 800 to a 1000 kilometres away. One particular image of a young man, just about in early thirties riding a bicycle made for very tragic viewing. Pilliom riding him was his wife who while she sat in The very miniscule steel seat at the back, her one hand clutching onto the steel handle, the other holding onto a a baby girl barely three years old. To add to the misery, a another baby, this one under two years, slept on a makeshift pillow that was placed over the handle, wedges between hai father’s arms. And they were proceeding to their home town IN distant Uttar Pradesh all the way from Mumbai, a trip that would take them no less than over a fortnight if not more. “No job, no food, no place to stay, no money, no future to look forward to—what else to do but head to our village,” was the anguished plea of the man as he rode into the highway gingerly balancing the fragile contraption in wheels, not knowing or even insure what the next turn of the highway had in store. The son stories are aplenty. Someone should including the respective State governments and the Centre must immediately step in a nd out in place proper remedial measures that would halt this mass migration of India’s very own from one part of the country to the other. “They have money and airplanes to ferry the rich stranded in foreign countries but have turned a Nelson’s Eye to our very own. Is it because we are poor and that we don’t bring in the dollars?” says a middle aged man, his words barely a whisper and wringed with agony. It is a question the entire country is asking. Hope the coming morn shall provide us with an answer. An answer that help alleviate the sufferings of all who come under the deadly embrace of the Corona virus. Until then the night’s very dark. #neelanilpanicker #CORONASTORIES #COVID19 #virus #lockdownindia #day4 #non-fiction #shortstory

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