Wuhan Was Never So Far Away From Us As It Seemed

It was barely a month ago. I was reading a diary of a woman published in an international publication. Diary of a single woman living in a flat in a high-rise building in Wuhan, China. ‘A dangerous virus has attacked the city and lives are being swallowed one by one. The entire city has been sealed. People are locked in homes. Neither can anyone go out of the house, nor can anyone enter the house from outside. Today 300 people died, today 500 died, today 700 people died is the only news coming. The number increases with each morning. Nobody knows who’s next.

She is alone in her house. When the first case of Corona positive was found in Wuhan, China, she lived alone in that house even before that. But there was a whole world outside the house. There was a path from home to office. Bus, train, metro were crowded. There were people in the office, you used to smile, talk and work together. But the lockdown suddenly made the world’s lonely people more lonely. There were also some sketches with the diary, in which she does exercise alone at home, sitting alone at the sealed window with a coffee mug in her hand.

The day I read this diary, the same day I went to meet my friends after driving 40 km. We ate outside, walked and talked a lot. We knew that a corona virus has spread in the world, but to be honest, the world it spread was not our world. No matter how true the stories of the far country are, they do not seem their own. The distance is so much in between. Wuhan was far away

Time passed then. It turned out that the dreaded virus has reached that country, which is my country. The first positive case was found in Kerala. Kerala was its own but it was also far away 2,800 km from Delhi. There is a lot of distance to feel that this is a very, very real thing.

A few days passed that news started coming from all parts of the country. In Delhi too, that virus reached. It was learned that 9 people have been hit by Corona. One also died. Delhi was still far away. Far away from my house I was studying all these things like officers till now.

Then, three days ago, a girl living in nearby society was found to be Corona positive. Walking from Wuhan, the virus had now reached the adjacent society. The distance was getting shorter with each day, but it was still across the road.

Now, this happened yesterday morning. Amid the lockdown, there was a sudden news that one more person living in  my city was found to be Corona positive. Suddenly there was a stir. All the shops were closed. The city was completely locked down. The siren of police and ambulances echoed. The police started carrying out announcements by roaming around the whole society and surrounding areas with the mic that this city has been locked down. One more person have been found corona positive here.

The building, which is just ten steps away, whose one girl living in a flat is today facing life and death. This story of a far country has come so close to me that it is not possible to turn my eyes on it. With every next morning, that dreaded virus is getting a little closer. I start cleaning everything in fear. From door handles to floors, books, shelves etc. I wash my hands again and again. I am afraid that that dreaded virus might be hiding somewhere here. May I not be his next victim.

I have not been out of the house for the last ten days. Everything that can be stored, cannot be stored, is over. Only ration is left. I am going to settle on the next one month. The WhatsApp group of women of the society, which I had muted for a year, now comes its notifications every second and I start to panic and see what happened now.

That story of epidemic, of death, of sorrow and terror is now my story. I am one of his characters, writing his role in new words every day. All of us locked in our homes are very scared at the moment. The only difference is that some are scared together and some are all alone, just like the woman from Wuhan who was alone.

Saw a Korean movie 4 years ago – “Train to Busan”. A similar zombie virus attacks a city in that film too. There was a train, which was going from Seoul to Busan. A small girl was sitting with her father in that train. Her parents were divorced. The virus that had attacked the city, the virus somehow gets into that train. One by one every person travelling in the train gets caught by the virus.

This 2016 South Korean film is a fictional story, but every part of every fantasy is definitely connected to some reality. It is not just about a virus. It is a matter of that society, that world, which we all have made together. If globalization connected the whole world with one wire, then through this wire, only goods, prosperity, money and success will not spread in the whole world. Problems and diseases will also spread. Viruses will also spread. Virus is also not a coincidence. The way humans played with nature in the name of development

Wuhan was never so far away from us as it seemed.


Submitted by

 Akhilesh H Gaidhane

Assistant Professor- Department of Mechanical Engineering

Email Id: akhilesh.gaidhane@kalingauniversity.ac.in

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