Shoppers at the Brigade Road shopping mall in Bangalore, India Image Credit: Agency

I heard wonderful news that coronavirus has disappeared from India and people are going to shopping malls and visiting hairdressing salons once again.

One woman with a toddler told a newspaper reporter that she was fed up sitting at home and did what most people do when they have “cabin fever” — she went to one of the biggest malls in India, just outside Delhi.

(According to medicalnews.com, ‘cabin fever’ is a feeling of restlessness and irritability that happens to people when they cannot interact with other people and are confined in their homes).

The woman from Delhi also said she flew to two local destinations for holidays. She said initially she was scared of crowds and afraid of getting infected. Now, she sees the infection rates dropping dramatically in India.

Our neighbour also had flown to the north-east to “sit and watch the mountain” from her hotel and meditate and de-stress. She returned home and then again disappeared, and from her Facebook posts, she is in Kerala and enjoying the lush vegetation and the calm atmosphere at a hill resort, that is dubbed the Kashmir of south India.

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Scientists seemed to be puzzled that while some countries are facing second and third waves, India seems to have learnt to live with the virus. Some say it is because of the youthful population, while others say it because of exposure to viruses over the years.

For one full year I have been trying to learn what the difference is between the virus with a crown and the common flu. Doctors have said both the coronavirus infection and the common flu have similar symptoms. “If you sneeze to the left, it is flu. If you also have fever, just stay at home, dummy,” scientists and doctors had said.

Sometimes, scientists do not have all the answers, unlike my algebra teacher who always got the equation right. The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) in US initially told people there was no need to wear a mask, then the WHO said, yes there is a need to wear a mask. Now, we are told it is better to wear two masks.

Why was I confused by the science guys who could not make up their minds whether I should stay one foot away from my fellow beings, or six feet away. I was also told that I could travel in a packed plane as it is safe because the air in the closed metal cabin is freshened up every now and then, but just not to eat anything during the flight.

Back seat driving

I wish to know why I was fined for not wearing a mask when travelling in my own car, with my own wife and my own children? I can understand not smoking with children in the car, but have you tried putting a mask on a wife in a car who loves to do back seat driving?

Finally, just when scientists perfected the vaccine against the infection and just when I was primed up to receiving the ‘jab’, I was told that I had to wait until after the front-line workers, who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, and who are risking their lives every day to save people, are vaccinated.

A while later I was told it is now the turn of the essential service providers such as the food delivery guys and online retail delivery persons who are an essential part of the economy.

Anyway, the other good news is that I may have herd immunity and that is why I am immune to the virus. Herd immunity FYI, happens when a lot of people go for shopping together.

Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi