Maybe, this is what war feels like. We have witnessed it from afar in countries where war wages through the year, replete with shelling, gassing, dead bodies and blood. A war in which the eyes of the survivors reflect the pain of loss. Numb. Vacant. Sad.
And yet, there is something different about this war being waged in India. There is no blood. There is no sound. There is no warning of attack.
Maybe, this is what the Spanish flu pandemic felt like. Invisible but aggressive. Leaving death and loss in its wake.
And yet, there is something different about this pandemic. We are feeling the loss and the pain collectively. Sadness is a constant. For some, the loss is immediate and within the family. Close and terrifying. For others, it has almost come home but hasn’t quite crossed the threshold, yet. This pandemic is stained with fear and carries with it a sense of impending doom. It is imbued with guilt. It is heavy. And death is a mere statistic.
The air is acrid with the smell of death as it rises from burning pyres to fill our senses, choking us. It reminds us that many more lives will be sacrificed at the altar of greedy politicians, mismanagement and intractable ego. Many more miserable and desperate people will be exploited by the Big Pharma and the petty crooks all looking to line their pockets. Oblivious to misery until it strikes their homes. This is a politicised pandemic where the administration has forsaken its people. Where the government is intent on whitewashing its image to the point of callousness.
Helplessness has united us all as we move from message to message threads, tracking, locating, identifying, scrambling for oxygen, beds, drugs … chaos fills us and yet this is the only thing that may still save us. The chain of help that has been building steadily, creating a web of resources, reassurance and love. A soothing breath. A crutch for the abandoned.
While our soldiers in blue march on. Tired and overwhelmed.