Swine flu has taken my city - Pune, by storm lately. It had been in the news since May this year, and started making waves in the last month. Pune especially came into the limelight due to the high number of cases detected and highest mortality so far in the nation.
Every passing day the newspaper gives the score of how many more succumbed to the disease. The outlook is dismal to put it mildly. This is THE most frequently talked about topic everywhere, be it media, lunch tables, family conversations etc. A panic has gripped the citizens of Pune - anyone who sneezes or coughs even mildly becomes the victim of suspicious glares and nasty looks. Any rise in body temperature sends people scurrying to the nearest screening centre. There is a sudden and unprecedented demand for hand sanitizers, masks, preventive medicines and over-the-counter remedies such as eucalyptus oil, basil, vitamin c tablets, etc. Black marketing of flu medicine is rampant. Denigration of government's lack of responsibility in checking the spread of the virus is common. Life has come to a stand-still as schools are shut down and children are not allowed to play. Malls and cinema-halls are deserted. People huddle in separate corners of their homes trying not to worry about the fact that someone sneezed in their face during the day.
One good thing that has come about from this is that people have become more particular about hygiene and health. Its true that only when life is at stake do people bother to change their habits. Now everyone washes hands as frequently as possible. Spitting in public places has decreased. Smoking and in-take of alcohol has reduced; so has eating out as it plays havoc with the immune system. Sleeping and eating in a timely manner has taken precedence over work-a-holism and materialism. I wonder how long this will last?
The media has had a field day with daily news due to H1N1 but they've pretty much exhausted all the juice out of this story. People cannot live in fear indefinitely. Besides, fear is the greatest immunity downer. Soon, H1N1 will become another statistic and there will be other more interesting news hogging the limelight. Life has to go on. Ho-hum.
Thought of sharing a very cute pic that I received over email :)