Epiphoney Columns

The Corona ripple

Illustration: Mihir Balantrapu

Illustration: Mihir Balantrapu   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Mihir Balantrapu

The masks are going on, as the flights are emptying out. There’s always a silver lining

Corona, in the beer world, is only conspicuous by its general lack of any particular taste. It is a beer for non-beer drinkers, just like Rolex is a watch for the rich but unimaginative.

The Corona virus, by contrast, has shown itself to be a lot more spirited and masala-packed. It has managed to do two seemingly impossible things — bring China to its absolute kankles and make the beer brand loathed even more than it already was.

But just as there is an upside to everything — it is the natural duality of the general state of things, don’t blame me — the spread of this virus has meant some blessings in disguise. I will first list them before discussing the one most relevant to me.

Dogs and cats might finally get spared from becoming main courses on the mainland. Sharks and chickens, unfortunately, have no such respite in sight yet.

The student protests in Hong Kong have almost died down which is good for China, but not so much for democracy.

Flights and airports are emptier than our politicians’ promises.

Now the dog/cat bit is brilliant, the HK curfew, not so much. But it is the flight situation that really works out well.

Now, I rarely venture to the other side of the galley, but every now and then for short-haul sorties, I still allow myself to sit in the cosier (read: coach) section. It is a tough world out there; if business class is brutal, economy is akin to an episode of The Hunger Games. But ever since the virus did a Thanos and clicked its gauntlet-ed fingers, the numbers flitting about the globe are sparser than a Trump rally. What this means is:

1. Quicker check-ins for starters. More seating options, too.

2. You will also possibly get more seat for your money — the three-set economy row will become the new full-flat albeit bumpy bed.

3. Bathrooms will remain freer. Also, devoid of pesky tots, flights will be generally quieter.

4. Food options, which never last beyond the emergency row, will now hopefully be available right into the rear galley, which means you can order what you like, maybe even twice!

5. No more fast track privileges needed as immigrations will push you out like a runny egg. But, on the flip side, the health inspectors might hold you up for a longer probe.

The only downside is that if the airlines and the airports deploy lesser people at their posts, chances are a lot of the inefficiencies that currently prevail won’t stand mitigated. In fact, since the smarter of the set will stay home, we’ll be riddled with the dumber of the lot, which could then mean even longer waits.

The virus hasn’t hit Indian shores properly yet, so domestic flights remain full of apathy and the stench of selfishness, not unlike our politicians. But I certainly hope that Covid-19, in its travels through our subcontinent, takes down a teeming million or few of those masquerading as upholders of the law by taking it into their own hands. Trouble is, I am sceptical it will have any effect on them goons — it might not even find a way through their thick skins considering how logic, reason or any sense of empathy have failed insofar.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:42:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/the-corona-ripple/article30999737.ece

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