DailyOh! What is serosurvey, to how Khaike Paan Banaraswala became a part of Don

The survey may answer the question everyone is asking – are we in Stage 3 of coronavirus transmission.

 |  6-minute read |   12-05-2020
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May 17 will come on May 17, but the lockdown relaxations are underway already. The thing with relaxations is that you can’t allow one relaxation without the other. If you allow movement of people from one state to the other in trains, you will have to allow movement of people from their houses to train stations. Which means you will have to allow public transport once again on roads.

As passenger trains started chugging today morning, those who booked seats on them complained that they started walking last night to be able to make it in time. That, perhaps, is part of learning to live with the virus – learning to walk. You may say you learnt it as a toddler, but we are talking about walking miles. Trains and buses and flights may start soon, but we never know when we will have to halt and ground them again. We don’t mean to scare you. The virus is doing that job well enough. We are only saying, perhaps, we need to learn to walk long distances. If you have a car, this is not for you. Can this help push car sales? That time will tell.

What we can tell for now is that the economy is in a mess. Now, do not despair. Read what Ratan Tata has to say.

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In past difficult times, entrepreneurs have displayed far sightedness and creativity that could not have been believed to exist. These became the flagpoles of innovation and new technology today. I hope that the ability to find another way to build a product, run a company, run operations a better way, will emerge as an outcome of the current crisis. I won’t downplay the challenges and the difficulties embedded in these current times. But my confidence remains high in the inventive nature and the creativity of entrepreneurs today who will find ways to enable new or modified enterprises that would be the benchmarks of tomorrow. It can all start on a clean sheet of paper that looks at ways of doing things that were never thought of before. This crisis will force entrepreneurs to adapt and create.

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Let’s leave the fixing of economy business to those whose job it is to fix it. If they do not do that job properly, we will get back to demanding answers. For now the question is – what does economy mean? That answer we will provide because economy is our Word Of The Day.

The word finds origin in Greek ‘oikonomia’, meaning ‘household management’, where ‘oikos’ means house and ‘nemein’ manage. No more should you take your monthly budgeting lightly because what you are dealing with is your own economy. If you don’t trust us, trust Aristotle on this. Greek philosopher Aristotle termed economics the science of 'household management'. The household can extend to the level of the country, also the world. In India, we call that Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world is but one family. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), growth in that ‘one family’ is set to see a contraction of 3 per cent.

Economy is contracting but the virus is spreading. To determine just how much, India is working on expanding the testing net. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to conduct a population-based 'serosurvey' for that. Wondering what is that?

1_690-1_051220021649.jpgSerosurveys would soon start in India to check the spread of coronavirus. (Photo: Reuters)

A sero-survey involves testing of blood serum of a group of individuals to check for antibodies. Agencies involved will use a combination of RT-PCR and Elisa antibody kits for these surveys. Under RT-PCR, throat and nasal swabs will be collected and tested. Under Elisa, blood serum will be put to the test for antibodies. The test results will answer the million-dollar question – is community transmission happening? A look at the virus spread in Mumbai will also answer that question, but we would go the scientific way – or the government-authorised way. There is little choice on that.

Choice however is for lesser mortals. For the higher mortals, there is freedom. The freedom to step out without a mask. You may think that’s not such a big deal, but hold on, there is more to what higher mortals are free to do. They can step out without masks, riding on horsebacks, galloping on highways. Gundlupet BJP MLA CS Niranjan Kumar’s son is that higher mortal. This Karnataka man is also our Covidiot Of The Day for taking a horse ride in the middle of a lockdown day.

Now, we do not know where he was going on a horse and why he chose not to wait for a train to go there. Also beyond us is how he was planning to protect himself against the virus without the mask. Maybe he thought at that height – on the horse – the virus won’t reach him. Maybe he thought the virus can't reach the higher mortals anyway. But we are sure the police can. The act, we concede, looks straight from a movie.

Talking of movies, let’s talk about one of the greatest actors Indian cinema gave us - Amitabh Bachchan.

The superstar in T 3528 (that's how he numbers his tweets, in case you are new to Bachchan's Twitteriquette), shared some unseen photos, now seen by millions, from the Filmfare award ceremony in which he got the Best Actor award for Don (1978).

We bet – without putting anything at stake - you liked the movie’s songs as much as you liked the movie. But did you know that the iconic song – Khaike Paan Banaraswala was never meant to be a part of the movie? It was actually supposed to be part of Banarasi Babu (1973).

How did that happen? Well, Don director Chandra Barot had been an assistant to Manoj Kumar. He showed the rushes of the film to Kumar. Kumar was impressed. He said the movie was so gripping that people wouldn’t even get up for a “toilet break”. Gripping, we agree, but the toilet break part we disagree with. Anyway that’s not the point. The point is that it was Manoj Kumar on whose recommendation the song was included in Don. Bachchan, who is unintentionally helping people LOL to his tweets and Insta posts these days, sure helped many smile ear to ear as the ‘Chhora Ganga Kinare Wala’.

Banaras ka paan for now is out of question because the city is not connected by trains. We mean the tracks exist, but the 15 trains that started today do not include one from Delhi to Varanasi. On all routes where trains are running, passengers will not be provided linen, blankets or food. Individual thanks to IRCTC for all three. Train food laced with cockroaches was no one’s ask ever. Railways provided linen in white because the hospitality industry believed white helps people know it’s all clean. As in, if there is a spot, it is easy to spot. On trains, the white spots were your problem. If you wanted to throw a tantrum, that too was your problem. Linen at least was washed every day even if it didn’t shine like there was tubelight attached to it.

But blankets – the less said the better. Blankets were passed on from one person to the other for a month without a wash. At one point Railways said “okay, we will do it twice” but then realised wool washed that frequently would wither away. So you could have been on Day 1 of using it, or Day 30, depending on your luck. Yuck!

If you want to know more about how you were sleeping with viruses and bacterias only to save yourself from the cold, read this.

blanket_051220022752.jpgBlankets that Railways provided in trains were washed once a month. (Photo: Twitter)

The virus scare would someday be gone. It’s hard to believe that now, but it will. We need to ensure Railways doesn’t come back with its dirty linen. Make it a habit to travel with your linen and blankets. Sleeping bags may help. That too is part of learning to live with the virus.

On that note, we will say bye to you for today.

See you tomorrow.

Also read: DailyOh! Man stuck at Delhi airport since March 18, to man who stayed at a terminal for 18 years


Vandana Vandana @vsinghhere

Author is the former Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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