Understanding Dudu Corona…
Wash your hands is the default instruction to my daughter Maaha Zainab. Her eyes beseech the skies in farce frustration. Wash your hands, we tell Jae, Zainab’s best friend as she enters home and before every meal. She’s home with us at least three times a week, giving cheer to Maaha Zainab, now that their rendezvous outside the house is severely curtailed. Jae hurries for a scrub.
It’s been three months since I sat on an aircraft, something I have not done in decades; Dudu COVID-19 is not letting up its onslaught on the world. And my marbles. The word ‘Corona’ has to be the most uttered in our lifetime; it is on everybody’s lips, from a newborn right out of a mother’s womb to the person gasping life’s last breath, in every corner of the world, I can bet that. Allah Mia has definitely dealt us a doozy this time. There is no human alive that has a grasp on this elusive and constantly altering germ. Every time an ‘expert’ thinks (s)he has a possible solution, the Dudu snickers and changes the game. I wonder how Dr. Fauci can still maintain a full head of hair.
The most difficult thing to tolerate is the perpetual uncertainty; it drives me up the wall. I can deal with setbacks in life, be it health, financial, or whatever. So, I deal with it and find a possible solution. No such thing with this Dudu; there is no end game. It has railed so many of us, I don’t know where to turn. Many of us find solace in supplications, something suggested by many ulemas, and that is a good thing. But I am more practical in my approach. I believe Allah Mia wants us to act and take the onus of change before He’ll step in and help. But act how?
To the graveyard…
I have lost many family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in the last three months, it rips my insides in emotional pain. Not all of them COVID related, but perhaps because of the strain and the resulting trauma from it. People like Mushtaq, the peon at Najafi House in Mumbai, India, his ever-ready offers of coconut water or namkeen lassi, or green tea to wash down Mumbai’s grime and soot. Or Chandbahi, the perpetually smiling guide and friend who kept Aliakberbhai and I company when inspecting the construction of Al Mahdi school in remote Hallour in UP, India. Or Fareeda, the first cousin who passed away not knowing Dudu Corona had felled her young son Fayyaz three days prior. Or first cousin Shabbir Somji in Dar, who succumbed to his Lord more out of fear of the Dudu than the germ itself. Mustafa Jaffer fights courageously for his life at a London hospital; I fight the Dudu with you, friend, psychologically, and spiritually. And others…
So, the Honorable President Magufuli of Tanzania says to hell with the bloody Dudu and his country appears to have surmounted the daunting challenges. The country is operating full-fledged and welcoming tourists – with precautions. This is a no-nonsense president with a persistent work-first motto and does not appear to be cowed-down by the Corona Dudu, not like other like-countries that have shuttered up; maybe the Dudu is scared of him? I’d be. Now, if lowly Tanzania, with very limited resources, can overcome this seemingly deadly invincible germ, what about my United States of America?
There is an almost daily duel between the Honorable Donald Trump and the medical establishment about how bad and serious the Dudu is here at home. He does talk sense though, methinks. We cannot hide forever, hoping the Dudu will go away? Let’s use common sense? Take all precautions? And if we are unlucky to still get bit, we’ll insha’Allah recover. No? Anyway, the daily tussle continues. We have flattened the curve, no we’ve not, wash your hands, scrub them for 2 minutes, wear a mask all the time, no, that’s inhaling deadly toxic carbon monoxide, wash your hands, do this, don’t do that, wash your hands, stay 6-feet apart (except at Al Hayy during salaat, where 4-feet chalenga, will suffice), wash your hands!
I’m getting ready to sell all the shares I own of Hindustan Lever, the makers of Fair & Lovely lotion in India; I (and 1.6 billion Indians) will be fairer than fair by the time a vaccine is found from all the washing and scrubbing I’m (we are) forced to do. The stock was doing so well with Priyanka Chopra, Sharukh Khan, and Amitabh Banchan endorsements. Wash your hands! Ahhhhh.
Getting ready to travel again…
All EU countries are getting ready to open up their borders for foreign travelers, except for us mighty Americans. They are obviously and understandably nervous with the explosion of positive COVID-19 cases in the USA, so they’ll bar us from entry. Imagine? The EU and UK barring Americans into their countries. How the tables have turned, no? Once highly sought by these very same destinations around the world, it is us that blink in utter shock at the audacity. I thought it was our prerogative to deny entry to outsiders, not the other way around? This Dudu Corona, baana, I tell you! I look forward to my President Trump to set them Europeans straight. He knows what to do. Yes Sir!
I wonder how this ban will affect me since I am getting ready to travel? I hope and pray other countries don’t ape the EU and follow suit since that’ll sink my travel plans as sure and as fast as a week-old stiff body. Now, no power on earth can refuse to grant an American citizen legal entry – without consequences, that is. So says my honorable President Donald Trump. We are the best and the most powerful on Allah’s earth. Simply the very best. I believe him. He’ll make sure I get to enter the countries that dare to bar me. Yes Sir!
I don’t know about you guys, but I see subtle changes in the people I associate with in daily life since the Dudu made its unwelcome appearance. I feel it within me, daughter Maaha Zainab, her friends, the Khojas of Khojasville… The carefree laughter and careless attitude that is the prerogative of the youth has been replaced by a wariness, a caution. Certainly, in Maaha Zainab and her friends. Even in the elderly, the smiles seem forced, mixed in with resignation, a regret. Depression? Not that we in Florida are in a lockdown or can’t go or do anything we desire. We can. But with the constant threat of a sword hanging around our necks, it’s certainly taking a toll on our collective psyches. The idiot box is no respite; every news channel I flip has dire statistics and admonitions. But there are some really elating and heart-warming incidents, worldwide, thanks to this Dudu. Like people urinating or defecating outside a ‘royal’ vacation castle in Scotland. Couldn’t happen to a more apt place, or a bunch of people.
Koon faya koon…
One thing is certain, Allah Mia is de Boss. When He says koon faya koon, He means it. It’s done. Whenever and whatever. With breathtaking swiftness and finality. What the human could not think could happen in a billion years, did. With deadly results, consequences, and decisiveness that even the smartest minds and deepest pockets were left wanting. How and when it’ll all end and at what costs is as elusive as the day my Imam (a) will eventually reappear.
It’s dinner time and I must go wash my hands before I eat. I hear the command to both Maaha Zainab and Jae.
Wash your hands!