MG Road and Corona Virus

Is there a connection? There is!

Most Indian cities have the ubiquitous MG Road.

Thankfully, youngsters can still identify MG, unlike the SB Roads in Pune and Mumbai.

A young lady who lives there didn’t know what SB stood for. Her friend knew the full-form, but not the person they named it after.

Worse fate befalls a chowk in Pune, which the young generation simply calls ABC. Since the chowk, or the road crossing, is famous for its bookstores – signifying education – the name ABC is quite apt, if only by default.


This morning, I thought I needed a haircut. But to maintain social distancing in the current Corona pandemic, I used my moustache trimmer to clip some offensive growth near the ears.

I’ve been in wedlock for decades, yet made the mistake of announcing my newfound ‘independence’ to the Wife and, to my surprise, she appreciated it.

Appreciation, at my age, is scarce. So, in an unguarded moment of inflated pride, I proclaimed that Mahatma Gandhi would have approved it.

“This was his advice.” I said, “Cleanliness, folded hands and self-help; just what we need in these times.”

“Self-help!” Wife, missing her domestic staff, cheered, and summoned me to assist her in the kitchen.

I sighed, dragged myself there and, after washing my hands, began to shed a tear over the onions.

When she noticed the pace of my work, she screamed.

“At this rate, we’ll be fasting today.”

“Another of Gandhiji’s ideas!” I said.

Looking at my waistline, which measures 38 inches before lunch and 40 after, she sneered, “You need it.”

I doubled my speed. I dare not offend her, for I’m stuck at home, and can’t take the SB Road to ABC in search of a restaurant.

Oh yes.

SB Road commemorates Senapati – meaning, Commander – Bapat, who was a freedom fighter.

And ABC is Appa Balwant Chowk, after Appa Balwant Mehendale, who was a prominent courtier during the Peshwa reign.


Chop. Sigh.

Chop, chop. Sigh!

Have you noticed how meditative the act of cutting onions can be?

No? Then you’re not doing ‘work-from-home!’


After some contemplation, the connection between Corona and the Mahatma became clear to me.

He espoused equality, Corona enforced it. The virus didn’t care for riches or religion.

Gandhiji said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

Corona exposed our greed when we saw supermarkets in wealthy nations – with literate populations – emptied by panic buying.

Which item was most in demand?

Toilet Paper


That apart, the way we humans are uniting against the virus, forgetting our usual petty differences, is appreciable.

After our reckless ravaging of the earth’s resources, we needed this enforced pause, to think and act responsibly.

But we are too selfish, and after this scare is over, I fear we’ll go on a binge and cause ‘revenge pollution.’

Let’s hope that we, the humankind, emerge wiser and kinder.

A microscopic being has humbled us. It reminds us of how heartlessly we treat the earth, nature, every other species, and even humans – anyone we perceive as the ‘other’.

Let us pray, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and of all the living beings, that we continue to walk the Mahatma Gandhi Way or, if you like, the MG Road.

©Avinash Chikte



Virus cartoon courtesy Pixabay.

Marty’s meme was a WhatsApp forward, without attribution.

28 thoughts on “MG Road and Corona Virus”

  1. Md Anwarul Haque Sardar

    …long before, not realizing lockdown would be there for such pandemic, I started shaving my head to avoid haircuts outside and learnt cutting onions in the kitchen that my mother taught me, to support Daisy in the kitchen when doing HOME-OFFICE. Now those are my dividends along with many others…YOU ARE LATE…Chikte…hahahaha…

  2. Nice article. At this time when world is full of negativity due to Corona pandemic, your article induces humour positivism. Keep writing. (PS. young generation do not know the difference between SV Road & SVP Road too)

  3. I come back to this article for different reasons – perspective, humour, or even for a sense of community and belonging. Your message transcends generation gaps. Please keep cultivating your experiences/thoughts and sharing them!

  4. Avinash, I liked that line how peeling and cutting onions aids thinking. Otherwise the article is pretty ordinary

  5. Md Anwarul Haque Sardar

    …a global seminar, which is chaired by Mr COVID-19, who is also delivering a key-note paper highlighting how to un-learn the past and re-learn how to live in harmony….

  6. Nice one, Avi!
    Keep penning these humor-laced thoughts on serious issues. Lightens the already overburdened mind, and yet doesn’t fail to bring home the underlying message!

    Anand Bapat

  7. Superb! Indeed lets hope we as a society can sustain new found/rediscovered discipline/hygiene norms.

  8. Nice article, Chikte, you do have the flair for humour with subtle hints at the underlying gravity of a situation.
    Been through the Chop/chop/sigh route. A small gyanlet from all the fumbling experiences of lending a hand with household chores –

    Do not enthuse too much about the “Joys of doing housework”, or even boasting about how good you are at it; unless you want to end up “enjoying” it in perpetuity!… Swami Karamananda (or, your truly)

  9. 😄😄 Very well related Sir
    I actually laughed out at the ‘Chop Chop Sigh ‘part
    Way to go on the MG Road 😃👍🏻

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