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Moneycontrol

Budget 2021

Associate Partners:

  • SMCSamsungVolvo
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Coronavirus impact: Too much family

In these coronavirus times, with an apocalypse feel in the air, family members who were living in different corners of the world are now trapped under one roof.

March 27, 2020 / 02:33 PM IST

Okay, so family is coming out of my ears. I don’t know about you – maybe you have the Karan Johar version, where everyone is dressed in the latest fashion, has perfect hair and can break into peppy songs. Mine is plugged into different devices, monosyllabic and in a permanent state of war. We’d kill each other if it didn't make us look bad. Perhaps Krishna had us in mind when he came up with the Gita to Arjun.

Every five minutes we list the people we’d have liked as our real family members. My list is as follows: me (of course), Obama (having dumped Michelle for me), and that little boy from the Super Deluxe movie. Oh, and I refuse to change my surname, though Barack is begging me to.

We were not always like this. Once upon a time all four of us lived in different corners of the world. We made the mandatory phone calls to each other, carefully avoiding ‘I miss you’. We asked ‘how are you’ just before disconnecting and wished ‘happy birthday’ even if belatedly. But in these coronavirus times, with an apocalypse feel in the air, a matriarch mood took hold of me.

Maternal tantrums on my part ensured that all of us are now trapped under one roof, hissing and spitting. We learn too late that we are actually a bunch of strangers with the same blood group. On the positive side, if there is a stabbing, we can donate blood to each other.

We recommend movies and shows only to have the others put those in their must-avoid list. Ditto with books. I’ve cunningly placed all my favourite reads on everyone’s side table but everyone has cunningly left the book on their side table. What can I say, the trust is gone.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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‘No offence’ is what we say before being freely rude. It is like we have to learn to be a family from scratch. Having overdosed on MasterChef, they comment on plating and look for little pink umbrellas in their glass of water. My cooking, I have to admit, is done during amnesia. I go into the kitchen and suffer a blackout, so whatever ends up on the table is as much a surprise to me as to them.

A suggestion to play music on a common stereo system brought us all quickly to boiling point as we were as many DJs as party-goers. So we went from ‘Beqarar karke hamein’ to some obscure symphony of Beethoven’s to some creepy young-adult angsty stuff till the speakers committed suicide. The children went back to hooking their music directly into their veins. At nights I gently remove their headphones and hope for elves to come and repair their eardrums as they sleep.

I go to bed but trying to dream the same dream – running in a park – is getting monotonous. How much longer can Barack whisper to me that my arms are better than Michelle’s? Especially when I black out during my exercise sessions too.

Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is the co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.
Shinie Antony
first published: Mar 27, 2020 02:33 pm

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