I went to my third home, my native place, this weekend. It had always been my refuge in hard times, like the ones after exams. A visit to pala always helped me regain my senses, calm my nerves and begin afresh. I originally thought of dedicating a blog to it, but fought back the urge. The reason being I would waste lots of time conjuring up words to write in the blog rather than enjoying the moments. But something else has forced me to write about my journey into the heart of God's own country, something that made me wonder whether God has taken away his grace from this land.
For the past few months I'd heard about increase in fever cases in those areas. Along the way, the news that everyone in both my parents' homes had got the disease passed over my head without much notice. The sight that welcomed me not only shocked me, but saddened me a lot.
The gravity of the situation cannot be fully understood through my simple blog. I'll try to express in few words what I understood of a disease the government refuses to call chikungunya. From now on, let me call it 'the disease that should not be named'. First of all, there is no doubt that it is an endemic. More than 90% of all households in that area have already got 'the disease that should not be named'. It affects everyone, but the after-effects show a different pattern according to age. The young have fever for few days and usually don't have much after-effects. But the elders are the ones who suffer the most. By elders, I mean a whole generation of people from ages 55 and above. The suffer from after-effects from which many never recover.
The after-effects range from neeru (don't know what it's called in English) in limbs to unbearable pain in the whole body. A sharp increase in death-rate is reported, though other causes are cited as reasons for death. Everyone of the elders have been reduced to bed-rest, though the valiant still fight it out with sticks for support. The worst affected among the community are people who do menial jobs and other works that do not have regular salary. There have been cases of many not able to get even one time meal.
What is the government doing during this time? Shutting up every news article to save the face of the state so that tourism does not suffer? These are millions peoples life at stake. At a time when science has advance so much why can't we find a vaccine, or at least some medicine to suppress the after-effects. As the horrible the disease that should not be named spreads to south and north, I can just ponder about my Grandpa's words- "There's nothing to do. This is a curse."