Day 53: Seeking comfort in numbers

16/05/2020

Day 53

The counter continues to tick. It is more than fifty days, clearly in the ultra marathon zone. The conversations have decisively shifted. Beyond a point, more deaths is statistics. Not tragedy. Numbers have the ability to render an event into an objective occurrence and prepare them for inane comparisons with the historic. India has nearly 91,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. There have been 2,872 deaths in India. Every discussion about the pandemic is a soup of numbers. Leaders are briefing with numbers, arguments for emergency response are about numbers, reasons for opening up economies are also numbers and every lived reality has come to be explained by numbers.

Not to forget, the big game on the planet is about what percentage of a country’s GDP is their economic and relief package worth? Japan broke into the game by announcing an economic relief package for its people that amounts to 20% of its GDP. India’s early announcements stayed true to its weak and poor economy. This week the PM surprised everyone with a package of economic relief that is nearly 10% of India’s GDP. More than the world, this country’s own intelligentsia got busy trying to unpack it on information that they can scrape from sources using their privilege. A healthy democracy they said is made of this. Meanwhile, the distress march to the countryside continues this week too. Only here, we do not have numbers. There is no enumeration of children, women and men who are on the roads. There are stories and photographs. 

Elsewhere EU members continue to fight because of the inequity that the numbers present to some members as opposed to the others. Their project, the biggest virtue signalling project on the planet, lays exposed in its hypocrisy. Nationalism is the current flavour on the planet.

India’s third lockdown period ends tomorrow. There will be a fourth one as it appears from early reports. Only this time the state will get to define the rules for movement and conduct.  Air India is busy executing evacuations of Indians from across the world on a mission called Vande Bharat.

The extraterrestrials, if there are any, are having a good laugh about this planet of statistics. The numbers have to look compelling here. 

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