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COVID-19: ‘A sneeze is no big deal, is it?’

Just went for the COVID-19 test which is mandated before getting back to school (“Dubai Health Authority opens drive-through COVID-19 testing centre at Al Nasr Club”, Gulf News, April 07). It was a drive-through testing facility- very systematic, good directional signs, no crowd, spotless and hygienic- so typical of this wonderful country.

However, there was a car with a family beside me. It was two meters away, who had just completed their test and were making the payment. Cute little kid jumping around on the back seat and looking at me being tested. As soon as the nurse extracted the swab after first gently pushing it up to my nostril, I had a fit of involuntary sneezing, and I sneeze pretty loud. For all intents and purposes, I must state, that my sneeze has caused people to turn and stare in the past in the pre-COVID-19 days, not to mention causing a certain degree of embarrassment to my family when they have been with me.

I once sneezed in a church in Pune. Even the priest had a moment, and I can swear he smiled while the altar boys had a fit of giggling - it didn't help that we were seated in the first row and all noises in churches always seem to echo so loudly. Anyway back to today - the people in that car, hearing me sneeze, immediately put up their car window, had an exchange of words and peered at me with a rather incredulous look on their faces. The little kid seemed stunned.

I could be wrong but the gentleman driving the car seemed to go white in the face. Then again, it was relatively sunny, so I am not too sure. Come on guys - it was only a sneeze I thought to myself! For some obscure reason, I suddenly felt so very guilty, so I mouthed the word ' sorry' in their direction and smiled, which I now feel must have looked pathetic.

They probably saw me as they smiled back and waved almost apologetically. Probably they felt a bit guilty too, although I was actually the offending party! Both cars went their separate ways. They were in animated discussion while driving off. Maybe they were discussing me and my sneeze? Probably not. A sneeze is no big deal, is it? Actually, in this day and age, it is - only rivalled by a cough. Close encounters of the COVID-19 kind!

From Mr Michael Guzder


Cricket: James Anderson owns his 600th Test wicket against Pakistan 

It is great to know that James Anderson, who became the first pace bowler to capture 600 test wickets recently, is keen to scale the 700plus test wickets club (“IPL in UAE: James Anderson one of the best I have faced: Virat Kohli”, Gulf News, August 26). Of course, the age is just a number, with his dedication and fitness regime, he could achieve his goal. There are players like our own Leander Peas and Roger Federer, who still continue to defy their age. But the only snag is that the Test series are getting rationed and he may not be able to play at least 16 to 18 Tests to capture the next 100 wickets to surpass spin wizard, Shane Warne record. We only wish that he doesn't get carried away and fade like some players who prolonged their career to break or create records. Let us wait and watch.

From Mr Vinay Mahadevan


Cricket: Successful teams relies more on batsmen

It is magnanimous of legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar to certify that the present team led by Virat Kohli as the best ever (“IPL 2020 in UAE - One mistake could spoil whole tournament: Kohli warns in first virtual team meeting”, Gulf News, August 25). However, I feel that the 1971 team led by Ajit Wadekar, where Sunil Gavaskar was the hero during the series against West Indies and then against England, was the best, followed by Kapil Dev led a team of 1986, who too won the Lord's Test. In fact that win was the icing on his World Cup 1983 victory at Lords. Of course, the present Indian team has the best bowlers to price out 20 wickets in any Test like Indian Premier League. But, time and again we found our batsmen, especially the captain and vice-captain, wanting at crucial moments to lose tests from a winning position, courtesy bowlers.

From Mr N V Krishnan

Chennai, India

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