Something fishy about this mask

An Assam farmer completely misunderstood instructions to wear a mask when buying medicines, leading to a comical incident at Udalguri

Published - May 05, 2020 06:03 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Representational image

Representational image

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a farmer in northern Assam’s Udalguri district discover that a mask is a different kettle of fish.

The man had on May 2 visited the Primary Health Centre in the District Headquarters Udalguri to buy some prescribed medicines at the counter there. A nurse at the medicine counter told him to first get a mask as he was expected to cover his face.

The man nodded, left and returned half an hour later with a mid-sized fish. The medical staff and other patients laughed but realised the man had mistaken “mask” for “mass”, which means fish in Assamese.

“The sister (nurse) at the medicine counter asked him why he had come without wearing a mask that could save him from infection. She advised him to buy a mask from a pharmacy nearby and then get his medicines. It was apparent he did not know what a mask is when he returned with a fish from the market,” said Tayabur Rahman, the Joint Director of Health, Udalguri.

Declining to identify the man, Dr. Rahman said the hospital staff gifted the farmer a mask and asked him to take the fish home along with the medicines.

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