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.
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, 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?
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.
Virus cartoon courtesy Pixabay.
Marty’s meme was a WhatsApp forward, without attribution.