No End To Gloom
By Neel Anil Panicker
“Jab the needle into the skin, and voila! you are inoculated against the virus,” exclaimed Shreeja, a know all triumphant expression in your 18 year old pimplish face.
Her kid brother, a couple of years younger to her, gushed out in excitement, “Wow! I will be the first to get myself a shot of the vaccine. I would then be able to go out, play football, meet my school buddies. It feels like a lifetime since I have even stepped out of home.”
Their father, who sat wedged between the two, finally turned his eyes off the TV screen and the 9 pm Prime News Headlines that had triggered all this talk about the virus, and looking at both his children, said, ” Listen fellas, I guess are jumping the gun. I mean you didn’t hear what the Prime Minister just said. He said that there is a strong possibility of India developing an effective vaccine for Covid 19 by early next March. Now mark marks words—strong possibility. What does that mean?”
As the two kids looked askance at their father, the latter continued, ” It means we may or not get a vaccine by Marcj next year. Now were we to get it, and here I ain’t too optimistic about it, it would still be long way before you and I and the rest of ordinary Indians would be getting a shot of the vaccine.”
This time, the kids’ faces were worth watching. There were look of shocked beguilement on their innocent visages.
The shock turned further into dismay when their father delivered the final, fatal blow.
“And that would be mean no less than one full year from now when all of us would be vaccinated against this deadly virus, making us safe to venture out like before and live and breathe our earlier lives.”
A distressing agony laden wail filled the drawing room of the Nair family home.
For a long time thereafter, an eerie silence hung all over that spilled to the late evening hours, casting a pall of gloom that threatened to stay put for a long, long time.
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