Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.
Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.

Shukr Usgaokar



Shukr Usgaokar


Of Claps And Lamps

Of Claps And Lamps

3 mins

“Symbolism exists to adorn and enrich. Not to create an artificial sense of profundity” — Stephen King.

Once upon a time, there was a king,

Who ruled in a land far, far away.

Disliked by some, though he was,

Over his fiefdom, he held sway.

He believed that he could do no wrong,

With a coterie of sycophants by his side.

A crafty monarch who had remained in power,

With the age-old tactics of distract and divide.

Then one day, a dreadful pestilence

Spread in the kingdom like wildfire.

The helpless people rushed to their king,

Who for them was God, their savior?

“Oh! Mighty king, please do something.

You’re the only one who can save this country.

Lives are being lost and people are ill.

The doctors need your help and so do we.”

The king may have been predictably clueless,

But like any good orator worth his salt,

He addressed the kingdom with an impassioned plea,

And in one swift move brought it to a halt.

“At five o’clock, I implore you all,

Stand in your balconies and clap your hands.

It will boost the morale of our doctors

And drive this disease away from our land.”

But a few wise men started to wonder,

“Wasn’t this an empty symbolic gesture?

Sound policies are the need of the hour”.

Only to be heckled and branded as traitors.

The doctors meanwhile soldiered on,

Putting in their blood, sweat, tears, and toil,

With little help and no protective equipment.

The king’s indifference made their blood boil.

The people again turned to their king,

“Oh! Mighty king, while you are safe and secure,

Please do something for millions of us,

Who are helpless on the streets, with no food or shelter”.

“And while some of us are inside our homes,

This mass quarantine is not enough.

For the day you lift it, the disease will spread,

And then the devil will have the last laugh”.

The king decided to give another speech,

“Light some lamps in your balconies.

We need to be together in our resolve,

And this is a symbol of our unity”.

Again the people did as they were told.

The king had found the perfect strategy.

Token gestures mixed with emotion

Would send the people into a frenzy.

But one day the people said, “Enough’s enough”.

The death toll was slowly starting to rise.

The king’s rule would one way or the other

Spell their doom, they began to realize.

They got together and stormed the palace.

Forced the king to abdicate.

It was time to take things in their own hands,

Otherwise, it would be too late.

After testing in bulk, they isolated the infected,

While also ensuring the welfare of the poor.

And contained the spread and eradicated finally,

A disease that was believed to have no cure.

They had also learned the lesson of a lifetime,

To never again depend on a single ruler.

Collectively looking after all their needs

Was the only way to live happily ever after.

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