“કોરોનામય વાતાવરણ” (coronafied atmosphere – if thats a word)

Normally at this point of time every year, I would be euphorically strolling each and every shop of the old city market, amidst the jingle of “aiye aiye readymade silk, banarasi, cotton saree chaniya dreyyyysss lelo” playing in the background coming from all the sides. Struggling to hold(read: protect) our handbags from pickpocketers or rather our vain efforts to avoid forgetting bags at random shops; me and Mummy would atleast visit the old city market atleast 5-6 days during the last evenings before Eid and devour the street food bringing home the sour-little-nothings with a tinge of chaat masala stuffed in our pockets.

The old city has its own charisma, its own aura. The smell of grilling tikkas, freshly baked patisseries, the cacophony of hawkers and the rixawallas is the trademark of our hometown. And with Eid round the corner, its a cherry on the top. You can never miss shopping here. You come to buy a thing and you end up buying a dozen. Cheap thrills💕

But this year it will be different, just like all other longitudes and latitudes of our planet. Streets are empty. Old city is cold, cold with silence. I lay here in astronomical attire wondering about my empty wardrobe at home. Eidi this year would truly be the duas and blessings for the pandemic to end soon.

The 24 “Did nots” of the 24(read 2400) hours of the day

Did not see that movie,

Did not hog on any prawns and anchovies,

Did not have a reason to raise the toast,

Did not have a story to post.

Did not hang out,

Did not pout,

Did not have a get together,

Did not stop handwashing until atleast 60 seconds after the foam and lather.

Did not be irresponsible,

Did not misquote Geeta,Quran or Bible,

Did not lend an ear to any rumour,

Did not spread a propaganda disguised as humour.

Did not wear that new dress,

Did not have to show off or impress,

Did not do a thing for other’s validation,

Did not compromise comfort over fashion for any duration.

Did not have to make an excuse for avoiding guests and troops,

Did not (for the first time) think over video calling all the whatsapp groups,

Did not say a thing behind others back,

Did not leave any regrets on my rack.

Did not have the courage to step out without a mask,

Did not “thaali bajao” but did the “light a candle” task,

Did not start this poem with any topic in my mind,

Did not expect to post this, but come on give it a like and be kind ❣

Corona doesnt have a religion

We are fighting a virus (God-made)
Not a religion(man-made)
🙏
First thing first: Any kind of nonco-operation or assault or harassment towards doctors is a serious criminal offence and people must be punished.

Also, spreading fake news or news with words like “jihaadis”(people, jihaad means sustaining your belief amidst hardships, it aint a fight; I amidst the corona scare when people are losing hope and getting depressed , I have turned towards offering regularly(as regular it can get) Namaaz(at my home at my workplace) and praying for the wellbeing of me and more importantly my family , This is Jihaad.

Corona news are fluttering over the television with some 50000 people vanishing from the earth..Visit my society, you will hear a gentleman standing on his terrace at 10 pm every night and reciting the Azaan(A special azaan meant to be addressed when the world is facing any aafat: calamity) and people stuck in their homes listening to this and crying, literally crying and praying for each other’s wellbeing.. Even in such difficult times dont lose your faith in god and sustain your hope towards a better tomorrow.. This is Jihaad.
Not the one you were blindfolded into believing onto..

Address and report the crimes..But please dont fall into prey towards unverified news..
If words like “Muslims are antinationals” “Jihaadis are spreading corona” “muslims are spitting dont buy vegetables from them” can make me so angry to put up a post which i never wanted to in the midst of a Pandemic; What effect will they have on thousands of illiterate minds? I have many nonmedico muslim friends and what i have learnt is that a feeling of being targetted is being spread..And when that feeling is instigated it can spread lots and lots of mistrust in the community..

Lockdown has to be followed strictly..People need a reason to come out of their homes either it is discussing on the impending blamegame in the name of religion, or gossiping about the injustices or god forbids coming on streets -Mob culture.

This will instigate further violence and we as Indians should follow this lockdown with dignity..It is not a game, it is for our survival, If this lockdown fails, we are doomed. See the data and predictions already.
You have the right and a Valid reason to refuse to treat a spitting patient. You also have the right to condemn the incidents just like I did(*Special mention to the people who thought that I must condemn this incident, as I have condemned previous incidents or else my choice would be questioned, Lo kar liya condemn🙏)

Also, just FYI, I aint a Tabliqi (and have never justified their actions)
– A Doctor, Indian, Muslim, Human (All in equilibrium, no order)

Let us show the world that India is much more than religious coldwars 🙏
#WeAreInThisTogether

The certainty of an uncertain future

Social media has been divided into 3 groups very recently..

No. 1: Those against NRC and CAB which is now CAA now thanks to the mute audience alias No. 2
No. 2: Those who think why bother, how will it affect us? and hence are blind supporters
No. 3: Those who support CAB and NRC and are commenting venomously everywhere with the pseudonationalist hashtags like “#CleansingHasBegin”, “#NikaaloSabko” “#MotabhaiNiSaameNaBolay” and much more with this being the most decent hashtags..

I refrain from posting on politics and chaos but this is the first time and it was necessary.

At times like this, one thing is common for all of us. That is thoughts like ” Do I actually know what is happening?” , “Do I have an opinion on that?”; “Am I doing enough to be vocal about my opinion?” “Is my reaction or view influenced by the fear of what will my friends or followers think of me if their opinion antagonizes mine?” and the most important one, “Is my opinion actually MY opinion or maybe I am biased towards the religion I follow or the caste or state I belong to or the economical class I am privileged to be in or even the gender I belong to?” This holds true not only for this situation but a hundred others as well.

What I feel is that everyone has His/Her say. Having a viewpoint is good but that viewpoint must have a Point; It shouldn’t be baseless, directionless, or arising out of shared posts or tweets from pages of Bhakts or Congressis or Liberals or any other damn group with any damn connection to politics! You have Google in your hands, Books about the real history of our constitution and brains of your own..Put that to use before blindly sharing any damn thing which may misguide you. Make it a habit to develop Paranoia towards the media be it social or the one on your television sets. For once and all make it a habit to google each and everything about the news, do some research from authentic articles, meet the ones who are actually in crisis,talk and try to analyse the grave situation. Believe me, that would take time but atleast you will have a sense of the situation and only then choose to react. Your reaction must be based on FACTS and not photographs or misleading texts from any blue tinted meme page or whatsapp forwards or news videos or political posts or not even these opinions of mine. And then react, PLEASE.

About the recent CAA and NRC, following are some points which I have concluded after doing exactly what I’ve told you in the last two paragraphs,

For opinions like “Why should Indian Muslims be worried? Those who are already Indian citizens should not fear this act. They are going nowhere.This is for illegal immigrants” : I would like to thank you for your generousity towards the minority citizens and the assurance that they would not be affected by it. But dear brothers and sisters, the very definition of illegal immigrants as quoted by NRC is failure to produce proof of citizenship and absence of name in the National Register of Citizens. Now to understand the NRC I read the history behind it. Back in the 18th century in the British ruled India, there was a lot of migration into Assam owing to the fertile lands attracting poor farmers from Bengal(the then East Pakistan) as well as the poorly demarcated borders between East Pakistan and India, which continued till 1950 after which in 1951 the Immigrants Act was passed. And the national register of citizens (NRC) was made for Assam based on the 1951 Census to detect illegal immigrants. Since then the register has never been fully updated. Attempts to do so were in vain as there was immigration on a large scale from people of all religions and there were no physical borders and the geography of the land made it practically impossible.

And now in 2019 that is after 68 years the NRC register in Assam was updated. The purpose of the NRC update in the state of Assam is to identify Indian citizens – who are presently residents of the state – so that illegal migrants who entered the state after midnight on 24 March 1971 can be identified. Enough of history and the “Why” behind NRC let us have a look at the present and FACTS:

For being eligible to be a legal citizen you have to produce a legacy document that is in words of the official NRC application “One has to adduce the proof of residence in Assam of himself/herself or his/her ancestors prior to midnight of 24th March, 1971 for inclusion in NRC.” (nrcassam.nic.in). Just think of it, in 2019 you have to give address proof prior to 1971 or else you wont be considered a legal citizen ! We live in big cities and maybe some of us might be having ancestors privileged enough to be educated and keep their documents safe and sound. But what about the people of the rural and hilly areas prone to floods and landslides? And the illiterate ones? For your Information, 85.90% of Assam population is Rural(Census 2011).

And the results of NRC were as expected: A total of 3,30,27,661 persons applied to the registering authority through 68,37,660 application forms and out of which 3,11,21,004 persons were found eligible for inclusion of their names in the final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 persons, who were not included. So 19 lakhs of these people will be held in detention centres. A group from National Human Rights Commission that visited two of those facilities last year said the immigrant detainees there were in some ways deprived even of the rights of convicted prisoners.(read Shefali Hajong’s articles a labourer who wasnt on the NRC) There are several others but are from the religion I follow, so I won’t enlist)

So this is what went in Assam and now on 20th November 2019, the HomeMinister Amit Shah has declared during the parliamentary session that NRC will be implemented in the whole country and has ordered detention centre construction in each and every state. Also, to be a legal citizen of India you can be anything but a Muslim. The situation of villages in Gujarat is no more different. I have been part of health surveys in many villages and more than a half of the population wont be able to recall their birth dates even and dont have any records or documents. They never felt the need to do so. The family health survey still mentions date of birth of many as 99/99/9999 ( a code used for those who don’t know their date of birth). When asked for BPL card or their birth certificate or child’s immunization card(of the same year) or any other document the only reply is , “Ame bhanela nathi, jarur na padi, amne na khabar pade juna gharma khovai gayu” (We are not educated like you, we never needed the document, we don’t know, lost it in old house). Record keeping and remembering was never an Indian tendency, if it was, we would never have voted more than 50% M.P.s with criminal records in the Lok Sabha. People with no records will be detained but only after applying the Religion Filter.

This is why I, like many others, chose to raise the concern.

Besides, the government’s and political reactions to this is beyond shame. Openly targetting a community with statements like “We can identify them based on their clothes” would make people lose faith in you, not the idea of democracy. Also the opposition parties are mute spectacors. India needs better politicians and certainly better youth with civil and social responsibility of using their “What’s On Your Mind?” more than the “Share” and “Retweet” button.

I have my document proofs, I live in a metro city and I am privileged to be educated towards the necessity of preserving documents born into the politically neutral family of a pre-partition respected Judge and social activist with enough records of address proofs and “legacy documents” of a century back and have also inherited sanity of reasoning and could have easily chosen to ignore the issue like the rest of you. But no, I followed my own algorithm of questions, read a lot of reactions from my friends and realised that with this silence we are going no where. We need to remind ourselves of the universal advice at the end of each and every lecture, “No Questions? It means nobody understood anything”. So please learn to question. Atleast till it is still a basic constitutional right. Because with bizarre amendments the only thing certain is the uncertain future of our motherland.

“Happy Doctors” day

After hiberNAYting for a time equivalent to 6 subscription renewals of Netflix, 171 levels of candy crush, and 365 reminders of “Last day of End of Season(read:Reason) Sale”; was wanting to peek-a-boo into my very own hotpotch of words that I badly missed. And what a better occasion than this 1 day dessert named “Doctor’s day” after the main course of ##GoogleHasAutomaticallyDeletedTheContentAsYouHavePreviouslySeenTheseKindsOfPostsAndSlylyIgnoredKyunkiApkaKyaJaataHai##. So Basically, Happy Doctors day!

So this patient who isn’t a GoogleGoblin and is truly among the endangered species of the few sensible minds and mien; questioned me over a cup of RoohAfza, “What is the status of the strike you guys were onto?

The minimalistically diplomatic in me replied, “The strike has been called off, but yes there are still reports of similar attacks on doctors happening in various other states

She remarked ,”That is so bad. I wonder when will people try to understand the situation of doctors and how hard the doctors have to work. They are so dedicated and always shine apart”

See, the RoohAfza is doing its wonders. Rx Metformin please!

After an obligatory pause and the regular discussions, she uttered, “But don’t get me wrong, I felt that strike was not a good option. Besides, majority of the patients are like us, polite and decent, why let the actions of Some ignorant people drive you to such an extreme point?

With a face that you make when a distant relative asks you in your first MBBS whether you mastered the art of giving injections or not, I smirked, “Our strike was never against the actions of the few. It was and will be against the inaction of the ‘many’ towards the action of the ‘few’.”

I still wonder why is it always Happy “Doctorsday” and why can’t it be “Happydoctors” day. I love what punctuations can do.

Changing times- A kaleidoscope

Look what i found!! Something which I had penned in between a boring lecture back in college days! Well, this poem is in the form of a letter addressed to grandparents and is about the changing times.

That lovely 1965 photo of yours

I do keep looking for hours;

Wondering what days that would have been

With people so pure and the earth much green.

 

With the rooster’s voice, the day would commence

Stealing mulberries from the neighbour’s fence

Marbles in pockets meant you are rich

For days were spent in backyards and pitch;

 

Those ancient schools which you’ve studied in

That thread of culture with discipline beaded in

Matriculation exams were fun I guess

Studies being balanced neither more nor less.

 

Those periwinkles and daffodils

Cottage industries and textile mills

Those afternoon naps those evening games

The twinkle in young eyes of high aims..

 

That era of black and white entertainment

Had happiness, had contentment.

 

But now, days have changed overhead

To the well of darkness, money has led

Mornings begin much later than sunrises

With morals and values falling, its only price and inflation that rises.

 

The world has become so virtual I pity

Kids are crazy over Angry birds and Vicecity

Forgotten is the art of reading a book

Passing is important by hook or crook..

 

Schools are now places of business

Getting below 90% makes your life a mess

It’s nothing new to see a smoking lad

For youngsters believe its good to be bad..

 

There are no World Wars for sure

But there’s hatred, jealousy and terror so impure

Selfishness has made man dumb and deaf

Women are empowered, but are they safe?

 

The skies are no more blue

Clouds of pollution with greyish hue,

Villages are transformed into cities

Smiles hijacked by formalities

 

Those once-upon-a-time gardens desertified

Evil is with what mankind is fortified

Times have fled and pages turned

In the race of success, the world is churned.

World poetry day- an old post of mine

Because it is (or it was?) “world poetry day”, coming up with another “phalangeal secretion”(phalanges-fingers)

Disturbing our biological clock
Technology in all forms does hawk;
Books lie untouched occupying shelves
In the Virtual world our “Jack of all” dwells;

Peace is now only a mere hashtag
Where Likes, Comments lead minds and ideas lag;
Thanks to the smileys for devocalising the grammar nazis pointing out flaws,
No more ‘omgs, bebs, angles and awwwws’;

Life is all about timelines and dinelines
Apply that Snapchat filter and look how your DP shines;
From “what’s on your mind” to “nearby friends” to “on this day”,
Welcome to Facebook said Zuckerberg but Please log out its past midnight, did he ever say?

MBs are not calories, let’s not burn them
P.S I love social networking; its just a facepalm poem.
-Dr.Azbah Pirzada #PhalangealSecretions

What next?
Maybe a WhatsApp text