The image of a woman desperately trying to revive her dying husband through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) outside a ‘filled to the brim government hospital’, pictures of 22 bodies stacked inside a single ambulance and queue lines of over 30 dead bodies outside a crematorium, are all heartbreaking images reflective of a dreadful pandemic wreaking havoc in its second innings. No funeral rites, no last respects, no dignified farewell is possible in this warlike situation. Different politicians in the country today guilty of holding huge election rallies which undoubtedly proved to be super-spreaders may have polarized voters on the basis of caste, creed and religion but for those dying like mosquitoes every day, there is no Hindu, Muslim or Christian farewell. The heartrending cries of those who lost their dear ones remain a common outpouring of grief beyond narrow classification. Those who selfishly celebrate their election victories will do well to remember that their victories were built on the foundation of mass graves, and those who lost will have to mull over the utter futility of it all.

Undoubtedly the dance of death that we have been witnessing for more than a year now is beyond human comprehension despite the claims of experts, scientists, doctors and astrologers who have been making predictions that have more often than not, gone haywire. No one knows for certain the ways of this wayward virus from Wuhan which seems to have been more benevolent to its place of origin than those in distant lands. Its unhindered travel needs to be stopped but when Indian politicians batted for votes, the virus seems to have had the last laugh. It’s too late to undo the “Himalayan Blunder” of election jhumlas but one hopes that the government wakes up after the rude jolts that it received post elections and its bold “Atmanirbhar” posturing. We are unfortunately now even more dependent than in the past on aid, charity, expertise and of course advice from nations that have been more successful in breaking the chain. From the well- managed country aiding over 100 nations, we are today grappling with the ignominy of being at the mercy of other nations to tackle the crisis.

Warlike situations call for warlike preparedness. It is clear that the Indian government relaxed after the initial victory, lulled into a false sense of complacency that ‘All is well.’ We celebrated too soon and were back to our endless parties and vacations and all activities conducive to the spread of the virus. Our dismal infrastructure, overworked medical professionals and scant respect for safeguards have proved costly. Instead of crying over spilt milk, we need to move ahead with all stakeholders, the government, opposition and citizens playing their parts effectively. War rooms with mechanisms to ascertain hospital beds and ambulance availability, monitor field workers, take containment measures and enhance the speed of vaccination by the governments in all state are the need of the hour. The opposition should play a constructive role to help prevent further spread and save lives. As for us people, we have to isolate and break the chain. The ‘blame- game’ must stop. It gets us nowhere. Action does!