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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Back To Normal? Well, Almost

It’s one year since Atlas shrugged, and our planet turned upside down. Have we come back to the way we were? Has India, finally, ‘Uncovided’ itself?

Back To Normal? Well, Almost
Back To Normal? Well, Almost
outlookindia.com
2021-03-19T13:41:33+05:30

Has that year ended? Maybe, maybe not. The human spirit wanders, regardless—refusing to be chained. Perhaps foolishly, perhaps even with a grim foreknowledge of dire risk. Almost a year into being restrained, in a way we were never supposed to be, India is attempting to break free in an almost cavalier manner. Is it time? Is it safe? Are you vaccinated? It doesn’t seem to matter in these schizophrenic times. One part of the mind is free. Flights are sometimes full, sometimes only half-full. So are inter-city buses and trains. Local temple festivals in Kerala don’t seem to have heard of social distancing, even while protocol rules in a formal way. In Bangalore, police squads line the streets to fine you if you haven’t worn a mask while driving. But just outside the city, only old-style robbers wear masks, presumably. Protocol kicks in only for formal events. Only 50 people for weddings. Even lesser for cricket? Well, almost! Have you ever seen Chepauk reverberate with silence when a Test match is on? Even that happened when England and India padded up against each other last month. If you needed proof, it was there online.

“Ideally, the two matches would have been a sellout,” admits TNCA secretary R.S. Ramasaamy. He measures it, like all of us do, against other potential zones of risk. “Cinema halls have been permitted full occupancy—up from fifty per cent—so why not cricket stadiums? It’s at least open air,” says Ravikumar, a cricket fan. The authorities look, instead, at the prospect of a crowd of 50,000 jostling to get into stadiums, its food stalls, toilets.... “One cannot enforce social distancing strictly, you reduce the risk only by red­ucing the number of heads at any event,” explains a health official.

This is the half-minded way in which India is going...

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