The Sars-CoV-2 is a tricky customer. While governments and states have sought to marshal everyone into a war against the virus, it has left no scope for bravado. The only heroism expected of soldiers in this battle involves endless washing of hands, agreeing to be muzzled in public — and the ability to cling to your sanity till a vaccine arrives. Into that dreary dull void, a new marketing trend has bravely forayed, luring us back into the world that we had forsaken. For those who had not yet reconciled to the comfort of pyjama couture, several clothing brands have brought out a line of anti-viral clothing that promises to protect them from bugs. While they are at it, they might also want to check out a pair of spectacles that claims to repel pathogens, even as eyes wear out from daily communion with Zoom screens. And might you not consider a coat of gleaming anti-viral paint on your walls this Diwali, all the better to secure the house that you have not left in half a year?
Those naysayers wondering if such untested claims ought to be believed must also consider that the world has swung worse than crucial American states in embracing solutions to the pandemic. There was the panic that locked people in their houses, wary of a killer on the loose. There is now a stoic weariness that is showing up on Indian streets in a surge of festive shoppers, with only their chins resolutely protected against the virus, if they have remembered to strap on the mask in the first place.
The virus has been welcomed into the pantheon of incalculables that add zing to the functional Indian chaos, from wrong-side driving to jumping queues and sarkari sloth. And anti-viral products are just one more way — like herbal kadhas and immunity-promising supplements — to learn to live in denial. Look at the bright side: Do you really need a vaccine?
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