A Guide to Staying Positive in 2021’s India

Satire

A Guide to Staying Positive in 2021’s India

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Until a few days ago I was just like you, a lethal cocktail of grief, anger, and frustration. I was gnashing my molars over things I could not control. The spiralling number of infections and deaths was making my heart sink faster than the Titanic.“Hey,” I thought to myself, “weren’t we a miracle nation that had vanquished the pandemic by wearing our masks under our nose and partying in Goa and Maldives!” India was so confident of its success, it encouraged thousands to attend election rallies. Made bogus claims that devotees thronging the Maha Kumbh have divine protection while ignoring experts’ warning on a more virulent strain and precipitated a humanitarian crisis. And now we have a new world record to our credit – the country with the most COVID-19 cases in a day – because preparing for a second wave is what fools do.

So it didn’t come as a shocker when people chose Twitter and Instagram to amplify their cries for help – for life-saving drugs, ICU beds, plasma donors, and oxygen. Why bother our elected representatives with trivial concerns and gatecrash their “sab changa hai” mindset?

I could now spell Remdesivir and Tocilizumab correctly even in my dreams.

Folks on social media rose to the occasion and mobilised what scanty resources they could muster. I could now spell Remdesivir and Tocilizumab correctly even in my dreams. I had started eyeing every COVID survivor lustfully as a plasma bank even though there’s enough evidence to prove it doesn’t work.

The silence of our esteemed officials while the nation was gasping for breath had rearranged my eyebrows into a permanent question mark. There was so much bitterness running through my veins, people started mistaking me for Anupam Kher. My friends had started avoiding me; even random men on Instagram stopped calling me hot because I was constantly cribbing about the inept handling of the pandemic.

One day, when I was ranting as usual, I got a divine thwack on my head and passed out. When I finally came to my senses, I was feeling so lightheaded.

Soon I received a notification: You have tested positive.

Now that I jumped onto the “be positive” bandwagon, life seems a lot more bearable. When I hear news channels claim that outside forces jealous of our success as a country are starting fires in cremation grounds and spreading unnecessary panic, I don’t bang my head against the wall but bang a few thaalis instead.

My positive outlook has convinced me that fudged statistics and a false rosy picture suggesting there’s no shortage of medical supplies is the only way forward. I completely agree that India is “better prepared” mentally and physically this year with more experience to beat COVID-19 pandemic as compared to 2020, when we don’t count the dead.

My positive outlook has convinced me that fudged statistics and a false rosy picture suggesting there’s no shortage of medical supplies is the only way forward.

These days when I hear someone pleading for assistance for their father whose oxygen level has dropped dangerously, I promptly direct them to Kangana Ranaut’s tweet and suggest they plant a few trees instead. Channelling the spirit of Ms Ranaut I also call them fools.

You see, I am brimming with positivity these days. I have started singing bhajans when I read reports that India’s export of oxygen went up by 700 per cent in January 2021. In the spirit of positivity, I have pleaded with ambulance drivers that they ditch the siren and play “Munni badnam hui” instead.

On even days, I blame Saturday, dahi bhalla, my neighbour, and odd days, Rahul Gandhi’s dog for this catastrophe. When I’m not sending hugs and kisses to my dear leader, I mock Kejriwal for being a cry baby and begging for oxygen for Delhi because there’s no shortage in the first place. What’s the fuss about? Even the Supreme Court upheld our national values and adjourned the case related oxygen and essential drugs to next week while admitting it was an emergency.Why can’t Kejriwal learn from Haryana, which has launched the all-important census for monkeys and asked for help from citizens as enumerators, to keep themselves busy during these trying times?

In the spirit of positivity, I have pleaded with ambulance drivers that they ditch the siren and play “Munni badnam hui” instead.

Why can’t regular folks just chill and watch the IPL, comment about Gauri Khan’s airport look, instead of running around trying to save lives? When I take a break from Instagram promoting my lockdown couture, I will hold Joe Biden accountable for this colossal mess we find ourselves in.

My ride to delusion has become even smoother once I started blaming the “system”. Because the system is a nebulous entity that cannot be held accountable. It saved me the trip to my local quack to get my brains checked. All this while I was under the impression that our elected representatives were voted to power to look after our interests. Not anymore. I no longer feel abandoned by them; in fact I feel “atma nirbhar”. I am glad we are expending all our energy in controlling the narrative rather than the crisis. After all, if you can’t name the problem, it doesn’t exist.

I have accepted that my anger is as useless as the Aarogya Setu app. It’s time you did too.

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