This is a Fiction story on Corona Virus and the lockdown scenario.
” The virus called time” short story by Ramta Jogi –
The police patroled in the city saying, “Stay in to stay alive, as the virus could potentially kill you.
Against this announcement, he ran away. He ran, despite the pleas, the requests, and the instructions. Just a few moments ago his flatmates heard him thrashing his TV set on the ground before they could get up to see what had happened, he banged the door and briskly walked out of their apartment. A couple of his flatmates ran behind him, others, concerned and shocked, reluctantly dialed 100 for help. Without a care in the world, the techie ran to the streets to end his frustration caused by the forced isolation. It was 20th May, the 58th day of the nationwide lockdown.
It was in January that year, that people started to talk about the spread of a certain virus, not deadly, but highly contagious. The word was that it spreads faster than the word itself. The media conducted several inconclusive debates about the medium of the spread. Some suggested it was airborne, some said it spreads through touch.
Before the governments realized, people infected with the disease started queueing up at the hospitals. Soon, there were reports of young children and elderly people dying as their immune systems gave up the fight. Unaware of how to deal with the situation, nationwide lockdowns were instated as a measure of containment as desperate times call for desperate measures. It was declared a Pandemic.
Unaware of how grave the situation is, families and work professionals looked at the situation as the thing that was missing in their lives. The family time it was! Delicious meals, time with the kids, online movies, etc. The initial lockdown, which was meant for 3 weeks, came as a “Refresh” button for some. People viewed it as the time to recuperate from their hectic work life. Soon, the forced change to the lifestyle became a little harder to come to terms with. People realized that the love they have for their families is because they don’t stay with them 24*7.
As the days progressed, time moved slowly as many lost tracks of which day it was. TV wasn’t that interesting, online games weren’t challenging enough. Nagging from the kids caused irritation and cooking wasn’t fun anymore. Even making love, became more of a duty rather than passion. News channels and the internet spread more negativity than ever before. Caged inside their rooms away from home, students and bachelors found it hard to survive. What’s the point in punishing everyone because of the stupidity of a few?
Tension mounted on families as the breadwinners panicking about their jobs. Small businessmen were finding it difficult to maintain liquidity sighting negligible demand. Manufacturing set-ups had been shut for weeks. The concept of work-from-home was giving employees more stress than ever before as there was an apparent lack of trust from the employers.
The count of infected people kept growing exponentially, and so did the negativity in the lives of all. People woke up every morning with a hope that this will end soon, and they would be free again, but accepted the reality that it wouldn’t end soon enough.
On the penultimate day of the ongoing lockdown, it was decided that the restrictions would remain imposed for another 30 days. While everyone was subconsciously prepared for this extension, the announcement which followed sent shockwaves. The government wasn’t just grappling to contain the virus spread, they were also struggling to contain the spread of “Fake news” and misinformation. As a precautionary measure, it was decided that a nationwide internet ban would come into effect for the next couple of weeks.
This move was a huge setback for the businesses and citizens in general. It was hard to come to terms with the situation as frustration knew no bounds. News channels became the only source of information, but with the constant fear-mongering, a strong undercurrent of fear could no longer be ignored. The service of all-time and any-time connectivity which social media provided was being missed thoroughly. Especially those who lived away from their families began hallucinating. With nothing to do and no one to talk to, they felt imprisoned.
It had been three weeks since the announcement of the extension. There was an eerie calmness in the environment. Roads were empty, no airplanes in the sky. Bodies and minds were numb. The silence was uncomfortably deafening. This was a test of patience, the reaction to every discussion was an outburst.
Thoughts of going back to the streets were flooding the minds. People weren’t afraid of the virus anymore, after all, how long can an invisible enemy keep you down? The policemen guarding the streets were well-aware of the growing angst. They were thrashing people who took to the streets without any strong reason. The situation is moving towards curfew.
Long unkempt hair, a sense of fatigue and discomfort prevail. Stocks have crashed, economies are staring at an inevitable recession. People aren’t sure of how to get their lives back on track once things normalize. Most have become living corpses.
And on that day, he hurried out, to end his frustrations, to come out of the isolation. No one knew him. Just another bloke out of the 1.3 billion. A police van tried to stop him, but he was in a strange state of mind, probably unaware of what he was doing.
He fell, got up, started running again. The van chased him down and one of the policemen blew a stick to his legs, followed by another one to his head, knocking him down. People heard the screams and came out to their balconies to see what was wrong. By the time his flatmates ran down, he had been seriously injured. Seeing his state, one of them shouted: “Kill us all, before the isolation, kills us!”
The power of raw emotions and anger had found a way out. The policemen could sense the situation getting out of hand as the voices grew stronger and louder. They started hitting those near them to vacate the street. Within minutes, a huge crowd had gathered as people watching the proceedings from their balconies came down in solidarity. More security personnel were summoned to bring the situation under control. It became an ugly scene as mob walked closer to the police sloganeering “Kill us all, before the isolation, kill us!”
The frustration had finally got the better of the patience. The inner numbness had finally ended. The chaos became too much to handle. Ambulances rushed to the area to help those who had been injured. The sheer inner angst was shielding the pain of broken bones and bruised bodies as people shouted at the top of their voices “Kill us all before the isolation kills us!”
Soon a force was called, to disperse the crowd. But who knew that it was just the beginning. The isolation had a far scarier impact on the minds than the virus had on the bodies.
They said, “Stay in to stay alive, as the virus could potentially kill you.”
They were right. The virus did affect many, it was the virus called TIME.
The same evening it was announced that the Prime Minister will be addressing the country the next morning.
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Corona virus – Lockdown – Story
Edited by Akshay Toplay