डेढ़ वर्ष से लगातार कोरोना जनित विपत्तियों का दंश झेलते झेलते मन बिलकुल रुग्ण सा हो गया है. मुझे अनिद्रा की बीमारी है। कोरोना के डर से कर्फ्यू,  कर्फ्यू से स्तब्ध, भयभीत, शिशुवत  निद्रा में सोया हुआ शहर, मेरे नींद से वंचित होने के अहसास को और गहरा देती है. लगता है कोरोना का डर कहीं बहुत गहरे पैठ गया है।

I succumb to the enchantment of books very easily and end up buying or collecting more books than what I can chew and digest. Some books remain untasted for years and in many cases I have followed Francis Bacon’s advice by reading them “only in parts”.

(Author's Note: Elections are here so it is only proper that we remind ourselves that we are a democracy.)

राजा विक्रम चुपचाप उठा और श्मशान की ओर चल दिया। महल के सभी पहरेदार सो रहे थे पर शहर के सारे चोर जाग रहे थे. राजा को श्मशान पहुँचने की जल्दी थी इसलिए उसने उस समय कोई करवाई करना मुनासिब नहीं समझा। सोचा आखिर प्रकारांतर से सारा माल तो सरकारी ख़ज़ाने में पहुँच ही जायेगा.

I was a ten-year-old, but the memories of the '62 debacle are eidetically etched in my mind; that feeling of helplessness of the elders, their sense of shame, the silent imprecations, the muted curses in private but dignified poise in public, were a temporal marker in the growth of my consciousness as an Indian.

The poor of the world have a nasty habit of disturbing the even tenor of ordered life, the status quo; they threaten the peace and calm when it is least expected of them. As if it was not labour enough for the governments, in centre and in the states, to have evacuated several lacs of those better off Indians by aircrafts and ships, this problem of migrant labours leaps up.

A very eminent professor of economics at Cambridge, of Indian origin, with whom I conversed once or twice, tweeted to an absolute excess on the disproportionate focus on Covid-19, quoting the number of deaths from other causes to make his point. So, I engaged him one day. It was not its capacity to kill, but the anxiety on account of instant contagion, that has brought down this world.

The closing lines of The Plague by Albert Camus's "the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city," just about sum up the attitude of a medicalised society which treats all of germs , pathogens , microbe , lonely, lost strands of RNA are its sworn enemies.