The not - so - silent Pandemic
The train had started moving. I tried to strike up a conversation. Eventually all conversations end up about the Pandemic.
"There is a lull in the pandemic these days .."
"I dont believe it. I see it every ..." his unfinished sentence was drowned in bollywood song emanating from a co-passengers' mobile. He said something else too but that also got suppressed by another mobile's sound. This time a hindi news report about a python being spotted in Noida.
I thought of asking him to repeat but merely nodded knowingly as if i agreed with whatever he was saying.
"...and people are not using ..." I ventured again
"Ofcourse they are not using ..."
I was a bit taken aback by his violent retort because he himslef was sans mask and so was I.
"...atleast they should use it when they are unwell" I added defensively.
"They are not using it because they are suffering .." he replied with vehemence and outshouting the blaring from another mobile phone playing Kapil Sharma's show.
I felt a bit perplexed but I added helpfully "... Yes... Wearing one is a bit of a suffering but it saves a lot of suffering to the community"
He agreed but since he was exhausted he said something in a lower voice. I could not hear him because this time someone was talking loudly on the phone in the seat behind us, He was literally shouting in my ears!
My friend had a glint of glee in his eyes. "See! This is the problem!"
I replied, "Ofcourse but that is not as severe as the virus causing the Pandemic!"
For the first time he was surprised.
"Virus?! What virus?"
"The corona virus ,,," I retorted flabbergasted
"Ohhh you are talking about that pandemic!"
"And what pandemic are you talking about Sir?" I quizzed him with wonder.
He smiled and gestured to the two people listening to their mobiles on full volume.
"Thats certainly a nuisance but not an illness!" I countered.
"It is an illness! It is the pandemic of Paracusis Willissi!"
"A pandemic of what?"
"Paracusis willissi. It is an illness in which one hears better in noisy surroundings. There is a pandemic of it in our country. It has been ravaging our country not so silently since nearly a decade now. People cannot hear in the relative silence of a earphone plugged ear! Hence they listen to full blast volume - they listen better! Paracusis willissi!"
I again nodded in agreement but only meekly.
Inspired by a conversation with offtomoon