Since I do not have much to do during these trying days, I have the luxury of taking leisure naps. My favorite time is after zohr. I can be watching CNN berating our honorable President when deep slumber takes over. Yesterday, I had a fascinating dream. In this reverie, I meet Dudubhai (dudu means germ/insect in Kiswahili) while I’m at my desk sipping green-tea and surfing the www. Dudubhai looks a lot like the image of COVID-19 germ making the rounds everywhere. It is so minute, it takes me a few seconds to realize I have nasty company and startle in profound fear, immediately clamp my mouth shut and pinch my nose closed, terrified. Dudubhai giggles mirthlessly but stay away from me, dancing in the air in front of my face
Fear not, Kisukaali, says Dudubhai, I will not harm you. Not yet anyway. My Master has not given me the green light to afflict you. Yet. Listen, you like telling stories, no? Those Blogs you write?
I swallow hard and nod, still not letting go of the firm grip on my mouth and nose. Seeing I am turning blue and will damage my brilliant mind due to lack of oxygen, Dudubhai darts away to a safe distance so I can be assured he is harmless; I begin breathing again. Phew!
So, Kisukaali here is a nice one that you can tap away on your Mac. I’ll try and make it interesting for you and your readers. Want to hear it?
I nod nervously, still petrified and very nervous. Do I have a choice?
Okay, good. So, relax, sip your tea and listen closely cause it’ll take some time.
I was an insignificant germ, begins Dudubhai, living and dying harmlessly amongst humans and animals. My Creator gave me birth and death as He pleased. I was happy with my situation. I did not seek trouble, and grief stayed away from me. Then, one day recently, I was happily drifting in the air, singing awaara huu, when my Creator pulled me up and ordered me to multiply. Wow, what a soopa treat! I got myself a harem and did just that, procreated millions of times. What fun! Then, He ordered me to penetrate humans and multiply in their lungs, clog and suffocate them until they stopped breathing. Who am I to refuse?
Labaik, said we, and began the havoc, starting in China and, with the aid from millions of my wives and kids, crept all across our Creator’s vast world. We went to work on all humans, rich and poor, old and young, of all colors, all sizes, Khojas and non, Sayeds and aam, powerful and weak. We created real fear in them humans, once invincible, so they lost their balance of reason. They sold their wealth, scrambled to readjust their portfolios, changed their wills. Some, who were stingy as a Gujarati banya’s pucker, suddenly began shedding some of their load. Humanity became much more religious, but our Maker kept them away from His house. Yes, we are the cause to much mayhem. All the grief and pain does not make sense to me, but the orders are from the Mighty and Wise, to be followed without question.
I have an idea. I have the power to take you with me and show you the mayhem created. Interested in seeing some of it?
Hell no! I have no desire to go anywhere with any dudu, but, strangely, I nod affirmatively, as if my head has a mind of its own.
Good! Chuckles Dudubhai. Okay hurry up and finish your tea, relax and we’ll be afloat. Don’t you worry, you are safe in my care. Just be quiet and look and marvel at our Lord’s power and majesty.
The next instant, I am floating in the air, with no support under me. My stomach churns as I go on a tailspin; I’m so terrified I shut my eyes and scream, except my voice is lost in the vastness under me.
Oh, don’t be a bloody sissy, Kisukaali. Open your eyes and enjoy. Allah does not give these opportunities to all, so be grateful I chose you.
We are soaring over Wuhan. The city, vast and modern and clean, is void of its recent humanity. All over China, the cities are toopu, toopu – empty.
See, Kisukaali. All the progress over 40 years at a standstill. You can’t hear a single factory hum, can you? The dogs and cats and bats and snakes sleep in peace, unafraid of becoming an entrée on someone’s dinner table. Nice, no?
Yuk. But I am beginning to enjoy this adventure. I feel free, traversing the atmosphere. I giggle giddily. This Dudubhai is not too bad a dudu. Suddenly I spot the Taj Mahal; we are over India. I immediately sense something abnormal. The air I used to breathe over India was so toxic, it clogged up my lungs in a day. But it’s clear and fresh now. The maddening honking and mayhem are replaced by absolute tranquility, even the cranky crows that feed on street filth are quiet, craning their necks in confusion at the serenity. The creepy, cat-sized rats of Pala Ghalee, too, look disoriented at the emptiness of their domain.
Ah, Kisukaali, India, your favorite destination! Different, no? Dudubhai laughs. Once a promising country, torn and disunited by sectarian leaders. An inclusive nation before, now crushing minorities and the weak at the illusion of newfound wealth and sectarian power. An apt punishment perhaps? When prosperity is pillaged and core values abandoned. Instead of eating wholesome daal, McDonald’s and KFC are the preferred palates; in a hurry, blindly aping everything western. Other countries go on lockdown, the dudes lock up the whole country. 1.3 billion of them! Overnight! No thought process, no planning. Poor millions trapped, daily wage earners doomed. You see what became of them, no? Can’t labor for food, can’t come out of homes, can’t eat. Venture out and the gleeful cops beat the crap out of the poor people. All India has left to do is to clap hands, light candles and sing ‘Go Corona, go’!, Bollywood style. Ha! What asinine brains. Always elect educated and grounded leaders, I say. Come, let’s go to Europe.
We glide over Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen…all reeling from Dudubhai’s assault, sparing not even the seemingly innocent in those countries. All the fighting and killing and brutality outwardly stopped for the moment. Even while floating, I earnestly pray this devastation gives the culprits a pause for thought?
Europe from the air in the spring is absolutely stunning. The air is crisp and cold, making me violently shiver. Poor Italy, scared and hunkered down in this terrible calamity. Spain, France, Germany, powerful, invincible, hurting big time. The once-bustling prized streets of Paris and Rome and Geneva, toopu. All past beauty, allure, wealth and snot-crusted upper-lips, felled by an insignificant appearing but all-powerful germ flying next to me.
Dudubhai floats me over London. By Allah! I see people, out and about, some playing cricket even, perhaps thinking that Britain is still great and supreme?
Look at the fools Kisukaali, pompous, no? They think they are unassailable. Dudubhai seems to echo my thoughts. Don’t they realize we did not spare their so-called royalty, even? He is now fighting to rid of us from his lungs in Scotland. Serves them right, look at the mop-hair leader they chose. The goof boasted he could shake hands harmlessly and defy us, to be friendly. Well, we got him too. Another airhead. Time to go home Kisukaali. Let’s go back to Sanford.
I regrettably sit at my desk once again, the adrenaline of floating slowly leaving my body. Dudubhai sits on the chair across me, a colorful speck in the vast space that can ordinarily fit a large arse.
So, Kisukaali, like the adventure?
Dudubhai does not wait for my response. You see, Kisukaali, I’m not sure why I chose you for this escapade. I had a choice from over 7 billion people to choose, so consider yourself very fortunate. Now, I know you have a million questions but I have no answers. I do what I am commanded, that’s all. At His service, without question.
Dudubhai moves and pins itself on the backrest. It’s so fast and minute, I don’t see it except for the bright speck in the blackness of the chair.
However, there are many lessons to take away from what’s happening and what you saw. One is that arrogance will get you nowhere. Look at your country, once a mighty and feared power, now humbled by a mere me. The wall that you wanted to build to keep the Mexicans away? They are eager for you to finish it. They’ll gladly pay you to build the damn thing faster. To keep me away…
But why the innocent! I wail. I understand you punishing the guilty. But why the elderly, the weak, the sick…?
Again, Dudubhai laughs. A dry, chilling, mirthless hoot.
Collateral damage, I suppose? It’s a term you guys coined and explained away dismissively, no? So, wipe that haughtiness you sometimes develop on your ugly puck, Kisukaali, it’ll come biting your arse. You want to ask me when it’ll all end, no? I don’t know. Perhaps after humanity is much humbled and you guys quit abusing nature and show it some respect? Maybe when you guys become more equitable and not amass wealth by looting others? Stop raining missiles on the innocent? Stop sanctioning countries to near death… You should ask your President. He has all the right answers. Easter, he said?
And Dudubhai’s gone.
Wait, wait, I scream. Wait, please, come back. I want to…
Papa, papa, wake up! Maaha Zainab’s pained voice wakes me up. What’s wrong with you? Why do you always end up talking and yelling like a lunatic in your sleep?