The patient on the ventilator, in a crowded government hospital ICU in Chennai, heard the sounds of fireworks going off outside, “Looks like there’s a cause for celebrations!” he muttered to himself, just as he heard a stir in the bed next to him, where a Covid-19 patient like himself struggled to breathe, “Maybe somebody’s recovered!” he struggled to say.
They heard a bigger sound of fireworks, and the first patient on the ventilator, turned ever so slowly to the one on the bed next to his bed, “Do you think?” he whispered.
“No, I won’t even dare to think!” said the man on the next bed, “They said it would take up to next year…”
Again they heard the crackers bursting and without any more hesitation, both the patients of the dreaded virus, pressed the switches of their emergency bells and frowned as they saw not a nurse but a political leader running in. “The fireworks!” gasped the two patients in the government hospital, somewhere in Chennai. “What are the fireworks for? Have they made a breakthrough for us?”
“Yes,” gasped the politician, “Come, take of your masks! Yank off your tubes, come and join the celebrations, and laud our leaders for their wonderful achievement. The two patients, suddenly found a new strength in their limbs as they, with hope shining in their eyes, sprung out of their beds and made their way to the doorway of their ward, from there they saw the sky illuminated with the reds and yellows and greens and all the colours that the fireworks factory, in a village close by had been able to organize at short notice, to tell the world about the new breakthrough!”
The patient on the ventilator, held onto his companion from the next bed, as they felt a weakness coming upon them, “When will the breakthrough reach us?” they both gasped.
“It will become official in a day or two,” said the politician, his face creased in a huge smile, “But it may take a few months before even stations, and post offices make it official!”
“Why would post offices and railway stations need it?” asked the two patients.
“It is not easy to make such huge changes overnight,” explained the politician patiently, “They will require millions of tonnes of…”
“Vaccine!” smiled the tired patient.
“Paint!” smiled the politician, “And thousands of..”
“Doctors!” begged the patients.
“Painters!” said the leader.
“Sir, what breakthrough are you talking about?” asked, both the patients as they slid to the floor.
“Why do you think these fireworks are for?” asked the political leader smiling, “We have changed the names of Coimbatore to Koyampuththoor, Triplicane to Thiruvallikkeni, Egmore station to Ezhumboor and a thousand other change of names! What a breakthrough for you the people!”
The sound of the celebratory fireworks hid the sound of their death rattle, and two dead bodies stared at him with glazed and haunted eyes..!
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