The most widely used word
Viral was a boy in my brother’s class in school.I’m not joking. There was a boy who was called Viral and he has grown up to be a man called Viral.
Little did I know that forty years on viral would be the most used word after THE which is officially the most used word in the English language.
Yes, for the past month or so VIRUS and its adjective VIRAL have gone viral. It has become so mainstream that even people like Sushma, my Malishwali told me that she has been told to stay home till the ‘waylus’ goes away.
While Sushma is staying at home, so are the Little Ones who have to replicate school at home. There is an online class room where parents have to log in each day and find out the schedule.
We have worksheets to do, activities that are charted our and even a simulated break time.
But is it Panic & Fear that has gone Viral?
WhatsApp and Insta are sharing information , misinformation, and jokes on the Virus.
Our watchman downstairs sheepishly approaches each person standing near the lift with a bottle of hand sanitizer before he touches anything so that our lift buttons remain uncontaminated.
We are washing our hands for 20 seconds every now and then. We are wiping down surfaces that haven’t been dusted for weeks.
The Baniya downstairs informs me that Wholewheat Maggi noodles have flown off the shelves because the students studying overseas have flown back home and can’t do without this staple.
The streets are eerily quiet. The last time I experienced this was during an Indo-Pak cricket match.
Weddings and parties have been cancelled.
Malls and theatres are shut.
Visitors to hospitals have been banned.
And we’ve all been advised to stay put.
Social distancing means more than just staying home. We’ve stopped shaking hands, hugging and kissing. We’ve also stopped going out when we don’t need to.
How long will it be before my city goes back to normal again?
Stay well and take care. Even though many jokes are circulating around this virus, it is no laughing matter.