Bhopalis like to do outings and meet their relatives and friends on week days.

Most of the residents of Bhopal have, however, preferred to stay indoors on week days and on national holidays because of covid-19.

On October 2 and on Sunday, when all offices were closed the roads in the city wore a lock-down-like look.

The government, private offices, markets and shops have fully resumed since unlock-4 began from September 1.

Now, the city is traversing through Unlock-5 when theatre halls and educational institutions have resumed. Yet, there are no signs of abatement of the disease.

A few residents visited Van Vihar and enjoyed cruise riding, but their number was few and far between.

As to the corona cases, the number of patients is rising, and it may go up to 1, 34,000 across the state. There is fear in the air.

Seven or eight months ago, at the start of the pandemic, many found it easy and natural to imagine a time when all of this would be over.

But now, nobody knows when society’s recreational life would resume to normal and friends and family welcome each other into their homes with hugs and kisses.

Everybody is expecting to see the virus into the page of history.

In Bhopal, as elsewhere, such wishful thinking was prescribed. Everyone wants to turn the tide on the virus, but that is not going to happen so soon.

Meanwhile, the ubiquitous analogies comparing a pandemic to war fuelled the fantasy that mankind would have their own liberation day.

Much of the media eagerly encouraged this feeling, at the same time as it stoked implausible hopes of a vaccine arriving in six months.

As these hopeless timelines collapse, and now as restrictions on social lives retighten, the dream of a cathartic endpoint is becoming harder to sustain.

Scientists studying the virus diverge greatly, but they all essentially agree on one thing: the coronavirus is here to stay.

The dawning awareness about social-distancing norms is the only way out to challenge the virus.

However important are the social-distancing norms, it has caused pandemic fatigue among the residents in the city.

The uniquely exhausting power of the pandemic, however, is different.

Other dramatic crises like wildfires, floods, civil uprisings may come and go, but the pandemic persists.

It is just like termites. When one feels that one has seen the back of it a new installment pops up.

Man’s desire to put pandemic behind makes sense, but the virus and its unsettling associates: masks, social distancing rules, hand-sanitiser dispensers, quarantines, lockdowns are not going anywhere anytime soon. The future plans must begin from this fact.

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Free Press Journal