Cupid in COVID times
It is really amusing to learn that skirmishes and squabblings are taking place in many Quarantine Centers on the issues of food or drinks or romance. No one is hardly worried about sanitation, cleanliness, healthcare, hygiene, shared toilets or rooms etc.Some kind of seriousness is required in dealing with this COVID situation which requires extreme precaution. Instead sensitivities and emotions fly high as love blossoms at many Centres. When love becomes more assertive it becomes more worrisome. Girls and boys may be kept in separate centres , if possible. Otherwise both COVID and Cupid could kill our children. And we will remain as mute spectators.
Quarantined boys and girls eating 'heikha'(plum) from the same plate sharing salt/pepper together is highly obnoxious from COVID point of view. It may be highly recommended or appreciable from Cupid angle. One should not be so romantic in this Corona season. Who can control the hearts? No one can.Everyone knows, it is a matter of a few months only. But tender hearts can't restrain.Exchange the required numbers and addresses and wait till the next Yaoshang or Spring.It seems no one is listening.Cupid is playing foul, taking advantage of the quarantine proximity.
A few decades ago stalking was a culture; a boy following a girl upto her locality or house gate. The girl knows about it , she will not disclose it to her parents but may share it with her friends. That was quite acceptable and that was in practice. The stalking might be on foot or by bicycle etc. If the girl responds with a smile , the boy may happily write a letter to the girl and send it through a friend.The boy will be waiting for a reply. The girl may not respond.After a lot of hard work and persuasion the girl may reciprocate. What I mean is proper social distancing was there till the clumsy restaurant culture had set in. Sorry for the interruption.
There is nothing wrong to dine together in the quarantine centres but they should not share the plate or glass etc. And at the same time when assembled together they must maintain social distancing. At least a gap of one meter should be kept. And while eating one should not speak loud or sing. The virus is highly versatile and contagious.
If you want to sing or dance, you must wear a mask and strict physical distancing must be maintained. We understand your boredom and physiological condition, but what to do? This is the norm and this is the rule. Under the Epidemic Act and NDMA laws the local authorities can even hang you in the name of controlling the epidemic or pandemic if you are behaving not in conformity with the existing laws. Don't behave like Leila-Majnu or Romeo-Juliet. This is not normal time please control your emotions and feelings.
Parents, relatives and friends of the quarantinees are requested to kindly cooperate with the local authorities, police, healthcare workers and social workers in maintaining peace and harmony inside and outside these Centres. I specifically mention outside because I fear that the love-hate syndrome may spill over outside the Centers. The quarantiners and quarantinees know each other . The local authorities must take cognizance of the sensitivities of romantic dimensions and other issues.
At the same time we would like to urge upon the parents concerned to contribute in whatever way they can in the smooth running of such Centres.The govt fund is meagre and local leaders may not be in a position to spend endlessly . There must be constraints in running these Centres. In addition to food the inmates require a lot of things including soaps and sanitizers, bedsheets and pillow-covers, mosquito repellents, toilet cleaners , regular water & power supply etc. Local clubs and associations may also extend their benevolent assistance as they do always in times of need.
Smart quarantinees are perhaps getting everything including bidi, cigarette and even kheini with the kind cooperation of the quarantiners.In my personal opinion there is nothing wrong about it, as long as they are keeping social distance and following the rules. Heroin, drugs and alcohol are not allowed . Local brews may be allowed in the areas where their culture/tradition permits. But, again sipping from the same plastic cup is deadly.
However one should not share bidi or cigarette or kheini inside the centre. Because this virus is very sticky and smart; it can adjust anywhere and create problems for the receiver. I understand we have a very strong culture of sharing while eating or drinking or smoking or even peeing . We must refrain from such beautiful practice for sometime. Eat, drink, smoke ,chew tobacco or pee alone - this is the best policy for the time being.
It will be difficult for us to adhere to this alien culture of distancing. But this is the new normal and we are legally bound .Masks means no kissing and physical distancing means no hugging.After a year or so we may redeem our beautiful culture of sharing and caring. Till then let's be happy with platonic love.