The vaccine arrived quite like Vasco da Gama did in India, with a swagger. And then came the language problem. Garble, desi gyan and a government site in English – everyone’s an Alice in Vaccineland.
Those who frowned and wanted to do their research on Google thoroughly before baring their arm were left feeling like latecomers at a party who find that the buffet has run out. A cross-country race began. People began to travel far and wide in search of a jab. Vaccine, vaccine everywhere, but not at your nearest primary health centre. The elite rue the crowds, all that mingling with mango people, but are slumming it for the sake of vax. Desperation changed ‘which one do we opt for?’ to ‘whatever is available, please.’
Lockdowns spice up the vaccine race. When there is no registration, what do we show the police? The plan is to leave home at dawn like a fugitive in search of a place where they will vaccinate you without appointment. Everyone knows someone who tells them in a hush-hush call to come to such and such place for you know what; this became the new ‘maal laya hoon, boss.’ And when your arm meets the needle across a crowded room, it is true love.
The gap between haves and have-nots was never wider. Now your vaccine puts you on the flying list, now it takes you off. Those with comorbidities ran past the healthy lot. One dose and you are Oliver Twist asking for more. Two doses and you smirk at the single-shot ones. Oh, the superior air of the double-vaccinated! The new pick-up line is, ‘I got both.’ Those on their period, pregnant or lactating hide unvaccinated, unsure whom to believe, WhatsApp forwards or mother-in-law.
While the vax was waxing and waning, knockoffs slid in through the backdoor. The black market started to bustle. All of us who got jabbed on the sly began to worry. With distilled water in our veins, we hope the placebo effect will keep the virus away. It’s not about the car or painting you own. A post-shot selfie is the new status symbol.
The job of a jab is never done; there is talk of a booster dose in the future even as some of the double-dosed catch Covid. With human beings tested first, we live in suspense. Mice and monkeys watch as we totter out holding our arms and complain of body ache and chills. They will take it if we make it.
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
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