It was September 2009. Now those were the days when Swine Flu had wrenched havoc in Pune. Ironically, I was reading a book called ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. This was a story wherein Pigs, after having had enough of the human atrocities, fight the humans off the farm. They then take over the farm and run it by themselves! It was a wonderful story – to say the least, and eerily relevant to the present situation.
Dad switched the TV on to check out the latest news…. “The swine flu count in Pune is over 100… Stampede at the Naidu hospital… wear masks… don’t sneeze or cough in public…” said the beautiful reporter with as much seriousness as her cute face could muster. “At last some animal has decided to get back at the Homo Sapien” I thought! It bought a smile to my face.
“What are you smiling about?” asked my Sister. “Nice gal” I joked. “What?? You looking at the news reader? Over a 100 people are dead in your city and all you seem to be interested in is the news reader! How very insensitive!” she said and gave me an exasperated look….I looked at her sheepishly and wondered why ladies over-react so much…
The word insensitive lead to a flurry of thoughts…. the Human race seems to be the most insensitive one to have walked the face of the earth… we are insensitive toward the fellow animals, toward the plants and vegetation, toward the Environment, toward the Earth itself. We dump, we pollute, we de-forest, we kill and do all sorts of pathetic and irresponsible things.
Through my window I looked at the street below, all people were wearing masks. Masks of various shapes and colors. Right from the traditional ‘Hospital green’, to the aqua blue to yellow. Irrespective of the colour, I noticed an unmistakable pattern: on wearing the masks, the humans in the street looked, undeniably, like swines! How weird!
It seemed to be a scene right out of some Steven Speilberg ( or Mithun Da ) movie, wherein the Swines decide to attack and conquer the Earth. The smart swines are aware that they won’t be able to beat the Homo Sapien at fire power. So, they attack humans through the H1N1 Virus (Technically a Bio Warefare! Hey did they steal it from Saddam??!!). Now, the H1N1 is just like the common Type A influenza virus, with the exception that it contains unique ‘swine & bird strains’ ( genetically formed from Pigs in Euratia, North America and Asia) that makes it immune to the traditional influenza vaccinations, while retaining ( in fact magnifying) the contagiousness.
The H1N1 attacks America 1st ( is that the country where Swines are ill treated the most?) then spreads to the rest of the world. The WHO officially recognizes it as a world wide epidemic. Governments across the world are put on high alert, clinical cures are attempted but to no avail!
The H1N1 ,in the meantime , continues to vandalize the humans across the world. The treatment facilities are very few and the suspects numerous. The toll rises day by day, even as little ailments (like coughing and sneezing) start getting un-precedented attention! The innocent coughers and sneezers suddenly start getting treated like criminals! Pigs start inspiring a certain amount of awe and fear! Riots break loose at testing centers, which in turn become the centers for spreading the H1N1!
6 months from the date of the attack on America, the king of Swines sends a video taped address to the Humans through the Al Jazeera TV ( I wonder where they get all that footage from!). The Swine King emphatically says “Very soon all humans will be dead. You have ill treated us , exploited us for far too long. The Earth will once again be ruled by 4 legged animals in general and Swines in particular. The Earth will again become a place where all the life forms will live in harmony. Green will prevail – the Homo Sapien – the most destructive species to have walked the Earth will be wiped out… But you are an intelligent race…So, only those of you who are ready to eat the Humble pie, by becoming one (by wearing that silly ‘swine look alike mask’) of us will survive. All others die. Today onwards we proclaim the Earth to be the Planet of Swines! Hehhahahhahahha!!” ( laugh like a typical Hindi film kidnapper).
The governments across the world meet in light of the Video Tape, even as it is learnt that the Al Jazeera reporter has contracted H1N1! Some decide to give into the demands of the Swine King. Others decide to fight…. Violent protests start across the globe. The communists start various animated rallies against the stands taken by their governments ( irrespective of what the stands were – it doesn’t matter anyway!). The Left front pitches in for making subsidized masks for poor. The HR ministry ( lead by Arjun Singh) propose regulations for caste based reservations in mask provision….
“ Where is the Curd that I had asked you to get from the Kirana dukaan”, Mom yelled, interrupting my chain of thoughts… “Shucks, I forgot” I said (the 2nd sheepish expression in 1 hour). “ Then, go get it! We need it for Lunch! Get going NOW…and don’t forget to wear your mask”…. The Mask… gosh… I look at my mask, its another one of the ‘Swine look alike” ones. I wear my mask and become one of the Swines, as I walk into the Planet of Swines….