I haven’t written much frequently in the last 3 years. I blame having nothing to write about apart from the misery of the world and the personal drama. For a long time, I thought there was nothing ‘happening’ around me. So finally took a step, and decided to venture outside my 4 walls to see what the world is dealing with. And what I saw, in a single day, are all worth pages of stories each. Let me summarize today, so that one of these days when I have nothing to write, I have something to brood on.
- Scene 1 – a vaccine centre in urban Kerala. Sparingly crowded, with enough and more frontline staff taking care of the entire arrangement. And then I notice, the crowd is almost fully elderly. Not surprising since free vaccinations are mostly for the 60+ age bracket. But what struck me is how all of they were alone. One or two couples, one or two with a bystander. But most of them, alone. For a vaccine that keeps them safe from a fatal virus. But, alone.
- Scene 2 – a town bus stand in urban Kerala. I enquire bus timings and walk away as I was running late. But the driver reminds me he is my best bet and assures to reach my destination in time. And he does. Drives safe, but keeps his schedule. Kerala private bus? Oh yes, I was surprised too.
- Scene 3 – an office reception in the heart of a Kerala city. I rush in with my share of food delivery (juice for the scorching heat). The guy at the reception insists I try out his food recommendations. Casually mentions vaccination, Covid deaths and how he lost his family members. Casually? Is he over it? Or is he just too much in denial?
- Scene 4 – security guard at the office reclined on a sofa. The building is empty except for me and him. Is cctv all that’s making me feel safe? Or is it his occasional checks on me? Or is it his taking away the earphones as I approach the door? Or is it just his greeting and enquiring if I’d be there the next day?
- Scene 5 – an auto rickshaw in urban Kerala. The mobile app is screwed and I am struggling to make him understand how to ‘fully’ quit an app and reopen it. App lights up and we begin our journey. Visibly distant to conversations I initiate, he looks new to the city, with his distinct slang. I get down a bit too away from home so that he finds his way out of the maze quickly. I explain the route and walk home. And I turn back to see him still parked where he dropped me off. I walk again and turn back again. He is still there till I take the last turn and out of his sight. Then I hear him accelerate and go his way. Was he looking out?