WORLD INTHAVAARAM, 2020–52
About: This is a wonderful story, from my perspective, on what happened this week, in our World.
The United Kingdom (UK) has been struck with a highly mutated — 17 alterations (14 mutations and 3 deletions) to the original — coronavirus which is about 70% more infectious. Scientists explain that the variant could have spiked-up from a patient with an awfully weakened immune system that was simply overwhelmed by the virus. Apparently the patient’s body became a breeding factory — and a research laboratory — for the virus to thrive and mutate to a better version of itself. Studies say that there have been about 4,000 mutations so far into the pandemic and this is one of the deadliest. Breathe out — not bad at all. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has become more transmissible — breathe-in, that’s the worrying aspect.
Meanwhile, just as the UK got the scent of this one, a second variant from South Africa was detected. Now there is a scramble to get on top of this mutant. The Crown would have to take a Queen’s Gambit to check-mate the wily, invisible fellow in what is certainly not The Last Kingdom.
The virus-busting Vaccines that are arriving ‘fighting fit’, with spike guns blazing, are almost certainly capable of doing their ‘original job’. However, its effect on the mutants is unclear, at this stage. The effect of the new variants seems to be in quicker transmission, hence more infections, rather than deadlier sickness. With Boxing Day coming up the day after Christmas we have to glove up and keep our chin-guard, to prevent a knock out, while the staff go home with their boxes of presents.
This is becoming an interesting competition between the Virus and the Vaccine. A question of who gets where first? Right now, the virus is way ahead. But with official vaccinations already happening in the UK and the United States of America (USA), we hope to herd our immunity soon. In addition, with many of the current Vaccines being made out of mRNA, we can quickly tinker minor changes to keep-up with the mutants. Mutation works both ways. We humans are clever! Staying Alive.
The Indian Government heard everything and is making an ambitious plan to start jabbing too — beginning in January 2021 and band-aiding all its priority targets by August 2021. It has set top priorities as, the front-line healthcare workers, the armed forces, the policemen, the over 50 Plus ( I fall into this category), and those with existing multiple health issues. I would rather the Children and Teachers wait until those in front of them stand-up on the benches and prove the efficacy of the vaccine.
With such momentum building-up against the virus, the kids still need to keep holding and looking at the mobile phones, for learning through the online classes. What a year! And we wanted our kids to get their paws off a mobile device!
We are ‘not leaving’ the UK, as yet, as news breaks-in that Britain and the European Union (EU) finally sealed a hard-fought trade agreement, this Christmas Eve, ending over four years of bitter divorce proceedings, ‘revealing’ disagreements, and close, grinding negotiations, post Brexit. Guess, even Santa Claus must have given a nudge, and presents fell-off the sledge, just a week before the 31st December 2020 deadline. The ‘jumbo’ free trade deal is along the lines of that agreed between the EU and Canada and does not cover Services, which constitute 80% of the British Economy. Now, the respective Parliaments of Britain and the EU must ratify the Agreement.
I reckon a deal is better than a no deal. And the deal has happened in the nick of time.
Flying out to Space, on 21st December, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our Solar System, of the Milky-Way Galaxy, came closer together than they have been in 400 years. And it’s nearly 800 years since this alignment occurred at night, enabling skywatchers to watch the spectacular sight. They were just 0.1 degrees apart, or about one-fifth of the diameter of a full moon. The astronomical event was called the Great Conjunction and the alignment nicknamed as the ‘Christmas Star’.
The last time these trying-to-fall-in-love-planets were this close and so easy to see was in the year 1226, long before the invention of the telescope. Someone said, ‘distance generates love’. We are seeing and believing.
World over, photographers made superb impressions of the love-scene. The take-away and keep-sake, beneath the sheets, for the next 400 years, for those lonely nights?
Back to Earth. Imagine I’m a young nun (born Beena Thomas), all of 19, besotted by Jesus Christ and wishing to make a career in spreading his word. I join a Christian Convent for a pre-degree course. One hot, humid, Indian summer morning I wake up at 4am, to begin preparations for an upcoming exam. I walk down from my first floor boarding, to the kitchen below, to get some cold water from the refrigerator. While doing this I bump into two male Priests — Fathers, and a Nun, going astray from the principles of the Convent and The Holy Church, in what we all call ‘a compromising position’. Before I know it, I’m struck by an axe, strangled and thrown down into a nearby well — to drown what little life is left of me, and allowed to die.
The Police and the multiple Investigators declare me as a ‘died by suicide’ case — I know I didn’t. And they try to close the Case.
A few right people smell something wrong and dig out the Case, force the authorities to re-investigate, and after a battle of 28 long years, filled with twists and turns, justice is finally delivered. One Priest and the Nun are found guilt and sentenced to life in prison. This is the story of Sister Abhaya in Kottayam, Kerala State, India. It happened on 27th March 1992 and has been one of the longest running cases of Kerala. Now closed.
Do I deserve to die for something I saw and had no intention of seeing? How can the safety level be so low in a place of worship, which mutated into such a barbaric act? What were the Fathers doing in a Nun’s Convent where male presence is generally banned? The Church should wake up to brutal, unforgivable events of this kind happening under its watch — which it didn’t watch.
I rest in peace, but much more needs to be done to prevent such things happening to any other girl of my kind. Never ever should it happen again. We have to crank the Police System to be the guardians of freedom and life on Earth — with God watching from above.
Pythons for Dinner? Think about it. If China can eat Bats, America can eat Snakes. The predator might soon land on an American dinner table, nicely sliced-up, if Florida Scientists can confirm that Burmese Pythons — an extremely invasive species in the region of Everglades-are safe to eat.
Pythons are nonvenomous constrictors primarily found in South Florida, USA, where they have posed a serious risk to wildlife in the region. The snake is not native to the State, and began appearing in the Everglades in the 1980s when it was most likely to have been introduced as an escaped or released pet.
When pythons are indeed declared safe to eat, they can actually be quite delicious, says one of the ‘Python Hunters’ of a Python Removal Program, established to swallow the Pythons — head to tail.
A mercury testing kit is used to confirm that mercury (if any, from the environment) in their meat is below detection levels. And then, their white meat is turned into food. First, a pressure cooker is used to make the meat soft and tender. Later, pasta is added, then sauce, chilli or stir-fry. Maybe garnish it with coriander or methi?
Mouth watering? I can already picture my tongue forking out, slithering like a snake. Foods choices only keep increasing every year!
It’s Christmas time and I fell in love with this statement by the Top Infectious Diseases Expert of the USA, Dr. Anthony Fauci, talking on a Television program: “I took a trip up there to the North Pole, and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go. He can come down the chimney. He can leave the presents. You have nothing to worry about.”
After having ‘touched Santa’, Dr. Fauci himself got vaccinated, over the week. And is now a great buddy of Santa Claus — sent him some layered masks too, as a return gift. Post your wishes to Dr. Fauci — to sledge it to Santa.
Expect a vaccinated, masked Santa Claus to safely deliver all that you wished for.
Time to rethink, reimagine, get-vaccinated, and rebuild.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021.