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Showing posts from May, 2021

THE VIRUS IN THE VILLAGE

(Public art at the entrance to Ranikhet; photo by Anuradha Roy) This article was first published in Scroll, 20 May 2021 ; translated into Spanish by Daniel Gasc√≥n for Letras Libres )     Sound carries long distances in the clear air of the Himalaya. These last weeks, as I lay awake much of the night in knots of anxiety about friends and relatives in the big cities, I could hear hoarse coughs – pausing, coughing again – in the house down the hill. The oldest son had insisted on going to a wedding in Haldwani, 80 kilometres away. He came back and within days his extended family of ten had fever. They kept the coughs as quiet as possible. Nobody stepped outside other than two of the children who were seen every day struggling back from the market with groceries. Two weeks later, after dodging the virus for a whole year, I started showing symptoms. It began with an inexplicable stomach upset, developed into fever, sore throat, body ache. I had never seriously thought a