It was a good run. But after more than two years of real-life imitating dodge ball, the streak has finally ended. When it, finally sneaked in, because Covid is the sneakiest of them all — it was the disappointment more than anything else.
Double masks, N-95s or even a mask per se, I had begun to stand out like an Ekta Kapoor soap opera at the Oscars while around me there was a whirling spoof of humanity back to circa 2019.
Pandemic era soothsayers have a default consolation that it is only a matter of time before everyone gets it. I hope not. Covid fatigue is genuine but the vulnerable and the elderly still need another push from us. If nothing else, ask those trying to understand the inexplicable mysteries of Long Covid.
Having played by all the rules — on paper, anecdotal and through Chinese whispers I would like to believe there wasn’t much else I could have done anyway unless I barricaded myself back like the first few months of the pandemic when not a bird flew over the other’s nest.
CDC guidelines or my newfound faith in hygiene, I continued elbowing the elevator button and played footsie with the door.
Spin the wheel
And yet, it was crafty enough to slip in. Which is why for those who skip a loop, that too at a time of surging infections it could not be a more blatant invitation. Spin the wheel still has a few rounds left. Infections are high, testing is low — at least I gave it a run for its money, don’t settle for anything less. There are only so many times the domestic staff can be blamed.
Unless you think you are riding a wave of luck. Covid is uncannily also like a biased employer at the workplace. It doesn’t always go on merit — so you can be the most efficient worker but the one who screams the loudest or throws caution to the wind, sometimes gets away. Again, and again. Covid is also a lesson in the sweepstakes called life, it is not always fair.
But as someone who was fortunate to get a timely booster and yes, it was a preventive and not a precautionary dose, I have still not been asymptomatic. So, to dismiss this variant just because it is not as severe as the second wave is to ask for a Will Smith punch without even standing on a grand stage.
As we look back at the one-year anniversary of perhaps one of our darkest periods, when lives folded outside hospitals and families queued for cremations the only lesson, we should have learnt is to treat all variants with respect. The horror stories of last year may have dried up but this resurgence isn’t a stroll in the park either, it is all relative — a roll of the dice — avoid the game for as long as you can.
If there was ever an urgent time to get your boosters and your child vaccinated, it is now. If mine hadn’t been timely, it could have been much worse. Take it from me, while it is not a guarantee, it reduces the viral load and can be the difference between hospitalisation and home recovery.
‘Living with Covid’
Despite everyone in my family being vaccinated and masked, the virus took the school route to make its way to our home and that is an area that will continue to remain a weak link, at least till even the younger children are vaccinated. But hopefully schools will still not be compromised.
‘Living with Covid’ is thrown around as casually as the mask these days but I am an example of how it plays out even when it is taken seriously. You do not see it coming.
What is it going to be like once I end my isolation? Aligning the thought to having crossed over is perhaps tougher than the insidious routine of isolation. There is no romantic idealisation nor are verses flowing with the clutter of a keyboard, there are no daffodils nor the first blush of a feeling.
Even SRK’s dialogue from the movies “kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho ... to puri kainaat usse tumse milane ki koshish main lag jaati hai” is sounding off. To those who can find creative meaning in this altering reality, I doff my hat. All I can see are windows that need to be cleaned!
It is strange to realise that my daughter and I are now also a number in the latest statistics. We fought hard not to be one despite peer pressure for both, it is very easy to give in. All those who became a member of the ever-ballooning club before us have their stories, some dark and others on expected lines.
Isolated with a teenager I come out fully updated with the lives of the Kardashians, the latest Instagram reel trends and the arrest of singer’s Rihanna’s partner. All things considered it is a decent outcome, if this is all I have, to share.
And, for those who want to know if I will continue to play an awkward footsie with the door now that I am blossoming with antibody, the answer is, possibly. I may have crossed the line, but old habits die hard.