Monday 17 August 2009

Swine flu over the cuckoo's nest:

No I didnt think of the title. Credit to my good friend Rohit.

Porky Pig, spelling the world's doom

I just got back from a trip to bangalore. Apart from the usual sights and sounds of the city, if you know what I mean, there was a very striking feature all around me. At first, I thought that it had something to do with my blocked nose, as I was deemed incapable of sensation through my olfactory sensors. But then, it was obvious that there was something more repulsive than the usual stench of the railway tracks.

It was kind of amusing, for a while, to watch people using all forms of flimsy clothing, to cover their faces, and hurry along carrying their luggage in one hand, whilst the other was employed in adjusting the material that was covering their face. Then realisation dawned. It was the swine flu scare that was driving people to such extremes! I couldnt help laughing.

Kerchiefs, duppatas, pallu of sarees, hand towels and surgical masks seemed to be the weapons of choice, as humans attempted to defy the H1N1 virus, which was creating bigger waves than Rakhi Sawant ki swayamwar ( and that, in itself, is saying something! ) . I guess they had forgotten that itsy-bitsy piece of information which they learnt in 6th grade biology, which said “Viruses are the smallest known biological beings ( I am taking care to not declare them to be Living beings, so that I wont be crucified by my core-biology friends) , measuring only a few milli microns” . For those of you not familiar with the metric system, that means viruses are smaller than the smallest thing you can imagine, way way smaller.

Well, that was the part where they lost me. I mean, you can actually see the holes in your handkerchief when you hold it up against the light. That's gonna keep a virus out? Lol. Or does it give the wearer a false sense of security? It would be appropriate, at this point, to explore the actual effectiveness of a mask. The N95, is said to be the standard mask which doctors recommend, for people displaying symptoms of swine flu. Dig? The mask is actually supposed to be worn by folks who are entertaining the virus in their biological system. Those masks come equipped with filters to prevent the infection from spreading. And these flimsy pieces of clothing, and surgical masks, wont even keep the wearer's bad breath off! I fail to see the logic behind such efforts. But hey, am not complaining. I had a lot of fun while waiting at the railway station.

And umm, though the H1N1 virus sounds very threatening and all, the chances of mortality by a road accident, is far far far far greater than the probability of you being the next casuality of swine flu! Hell, there's a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting swine flu! But then, you know that if you stay on the footpath, the chance of you being run over by a 'National permit lorry' is very low, but the swine flu seems to be all pervading, and has indeed taken the world by storm ( forgive the inappropriate usage of the expression. But couldn't resist) . You actually don't have to do anything to get it. Maybe it's the fear of the unknown that drives people to take precautions against the invisible enemy. And this is where terrorism scores. You never know where they are going to strike, until it actually happens.

The landmark quiz (held on independence day) turned out to be a huge canvas, where the creativity of the quizzers there, manifested itself in the form of superb puns and jibes at prospective pandemic. I would like to close this post, with the best of the lot ( contributed by Mathew, which ended up being our team name as well )

Overheard at the American Embassy : We don't sell H1N1 Visas here!!