Saturday, August 15, 2009

CAN PIGS FLY?


With the recent Swine Flu scare closing down schools in Mumbai for a week, my two daughters are cooped up at home, asking me a lot of questions about the hows and whys and wherefores of this readily spread-able malaise.

On learning that ‘swine’ mean PIGS, and obviously mixing-up ‘flu’ with FLEW, the Copy Kitten (my younger daughter) asked, “But can pigs fly, Maa? And where did they fly?”

Mentally suppressing an image of fat pink pigs flying and ‘oinking’ all over the place, I explained that pigs cannot fly.

My daughters are fond of pigs. They like the Three Little Pigs, especially the gutsy pig who lived in the house-made-of-bricks and who vanquished the big bad wolf. They like the small, unassuming Piglet, who is very loyal towards Winnie the Pooh and unexpectedly brave when it matters. They are especially fond of Babe, the adorable piglet who proves that he is a worthy sheep-pig by winning a sheep-dog competition and the trust and heart of his farmer-owner. And a few years down the line, I am sure they will like the book ANIMAL FARM, written by George Orwell – although the dystopic pigs in that book may not be all that likeable, because they try to boss over the other farm animals, believing “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. But, no, none of these pigs can fly.

But PANIC can. Helped by an over-eager media, especially TV channels which keep showing the same footage and headlines over and over again. Helped by contradictory reports on the lists of Do’s and Don’ts. And most of all, given wings by rumour and by fear.

I am scared, too. Scared enough to tie a scarf around my nose and mouth when I go to the crowded marketplace. Scared enough to urge my kids and our maid to do the same when they go down in the evening to play with their friends. Scared enough to cross my fingers everytime I see somebody with a running nose or hear a sneeze or a cough. Scared enough to childishly wish that this H1N1 virus would fly, far, far away.

Are you scared?

31 comments:

HaRy!! said...

helo new here...yes am dead scared at least!!! ...Swine flu..ho boy..cant imagine!

Nona said...

Even at work, the people are talking about death toll!

Jyothi said...

Yes I am scared.. When I landed at the airport last month in Kochi,I had to fill up a form. So many questions. Whether I had any symptoms? Whether I had gone to anyone of the infected places in the recent past?Was I working in a hospital? I even saw a small child with a mask on her face on board the aircraft. This was on July 6th.

I wish it would fly away too, far far away. We need to get back to normal life.

Ugich Konitari said...

Looks like our media really hypes the stuff, and the government wakes up late with knee jerk reactions.

My daughter and I were eating a lunch of sorts at the Hong Kong airport, and one could see folks with masks occasionally around. The place was constantly being swept by the cleaning staff. Some one coughed behind us. And the cleaning stuff instantly looked around to check. Thats how alert ordinary folks are there.

ZB said...

Animal farm was the first novel i read, back when i was in school. Its a fabulous book.

I am brave. I am not scared of Swine flue. I am only worried of my daughter.

I feel its mostly hyped. Media mostly makes 1+1=11, i wonder over what to believe that comes in News channels. Sensationalize everything.Much more people die of other diseases than swine flue.some 15 odd deaths for a population of 1.2 billion is not all that dangerous, isnt it.In india more than 50,000 people die of TB every year.and its ignored. TC:)

shraddha@theselfloveproject said...

its very scary...

i feel for you..

Sumandebray said...

I am worried about my family and friends in particular and everyone else in general. But I think panic will not lead anywhere but awareness and precautions will!

It will be prudent to be careful.

sujata said...

I hope this virus does not start mutating, I sure hope it flies off!!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@HaRy,
Thanks for visiting. And better scared than sorry, I guess.

@Nona,
yes, same conversation here at brithday parties and evening playtime gathering (you know, the mummies' social circuit).

@Jyothi,
Prevention is better than cure, no?

@Suranga,
Alert is good, but alarmed maybe is not.

@ZB,
ANIMAL FARM is a classic. And the TV channels do make 1 + 1 + 11. (as the spouse is a newspaper journalist, out of loyalty I will not say anything about the print media).

@Shraddha,
thanks.

@Suman,
I too hope your father is safe and sound. Do ask him to take care.

@ Sujata,
I wish!!!

Aparna said...

We are all scared, but the media is piggy-backing on the disease and it is not helping. ( Sorry could not resist the pun)
I wish things would become normal again. I feel my life is on hold right now.

SJ said...

Ooohh... better to take precautions and be safe. I would jazz the mask- like add sparkles and beads and lets your daughters hav fun with the masks - well, atleast be fashionable when wearing those things!

But it is scary and like all things this too shall pass.

PS- I would like to borrow your kids for a month, they are SO cute!

manju said...

Everyone is scared to a certain degree, I suppose. But short of taking elementary precautions, what can anyone do?

And the media hype is certainly not helpng the situation!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@Aparna,
Loved that pun.

@SJ,
Why just a month. Take them and return them when they are eighteen and human.

@Manju,
That is sensible advice.

magiceye said...

take care..

am apprehensive yes but not scared

nsiyer said...

Scared , yes of the commercial gang like the pharmacists, the mask hoarders, the black marketeers, and the media. Its a hoax and we are being conned.
Are you scared? provoked me. Thanks a lot, I feel at peace.

Vivek Patwardhan said...

The only good thing achieved by Swine Flu is that people have been given holidays and they are spending more time at home. Aug 13 to 18 is declared as a holiday for educational institutions.

But I agree with you. There is over-reaction ot the problem and TV's role in sensationalising is being disliked by many.

Vivek

Gayathri said...

Yeah true,the media is over eager..i wonder how it would be if they published negative news subtly and instead projected something good..at least that would be more soothing,filling us with positive energy....

Pradip Biswas said...

The worst thing of it this disease may be confused with ordinary flu. And any delay or neglect could be dangerous. Till now it is not easy to get your doubts checked from Private diagonistic centers nor the medicine is available openly. Let the medicine be restricted subject to clinical verification otherwise this disease may become drug resistant but not the detection.

Gymnast said...

Swine flu..flew..lol.

And yes..i am really scared. More so since i am a student who has to travel in public transport every day and cannot help but eat food from outside every single day.

I wish it just goes away.

Suchismita said...

Yes, it is very scary, especially for those of us in Pune. No one seems to have a handle on this. I too wish it would fly away. maybe combined wishes will help.

Swaram said...

Really scary :P Just bk from a vacation n we were much more careful than ever before! Hope the situation comes under control soon.

Babli said...

Swine flu should not spread any more and I pray to God for everybody's good health.In Townsville also swine flu is spreading and 4 people died.Its really very scary and the people are panicked and worried too.

Meira said...

Oh yes. very. I avoid crowds. Wash hands obsessively. Keep the sanitizer handy and pray!

Meira said...

And you have an award waiting for you at my blog :)

Vasant Prabhu said...

If horses were Wishes & Pigs led to sneezes, both could certainly Fly.

Mina Jade said...

Yes, I think I'm scared. I will go to a doctor with an insignificant cough and running nose, only because H1N1. Which is just absurd.

Lilly said...

It seems to be keeping on this Swine Flue doesnt it? A lot of people have died with it in Australia too mainly those who have poor health in the first place. Interesting to see what happens in the long term.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@All,
yeas, we are taking panic to ridiculous heights. but since I am panicking a bit anyway, maybe it is better to be safe than sorry!

@ Meira,
thanks for the award. it is on display in the sidebar!!!

indira mukerjee (ইন্দিরা মুখার্জি) said...

Nice post..sense of humour ...i liked it...tomar blog follow korlam ...accept korbe to amake ?tumi bhalo story writer to ...ei bachor durga pujor thik age amar ekta Bengali poetry book berube ...pore details e bole debo ...
Bhalo theko....

indira mukerjee (ইন্দিরা মুখার্জি) said...

Swine flu niye likte giye distracted hoye gelam ...amra o kolkata te khub bhoye roechi... but every year new disease niye we feel very scraed ...specially media aro besi choray roger theke !!!now any kind of cold/cough/fever /sneezing manei we think of swine flu...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@Indiradi,
Dhanyobad, thanks for following. Aaj i aamar maa ke aapnar recipe blog ta dekhalam!