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Yet Another Gimmick
Author: M B J Pancras

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“Mom, please don’t change the channel. I’m watching Mr. Bean….I like his comedy.”
The little boy, who was in sixth class, pleaded with his mother, who changed the channel to news channel.

“Hey, my boy, right now our ‘orange’ head is addressing our nation.”

“What, mom? The ‘orange’ head is always appearing on the screen, and everyone is mesmerized in his speech.” The boy’s reply turned in vain.

“Dear, come here. The head is about to begin his address.” The woman in the house gave a wake-up call to her husband, who had slipped before he stood up from his chair. He was reading a story.

“My dear boy, don’t cry. Mr. Bean will come again. Watch this news channel. Let’s listen to him what he speaks.” The father tried to convince the boy and made him sit on his lap.

“My fellow-citizens, We’re running through crucial moments of time and the whole world is gripped with the epidemic. It’s time we stood together to fight the pandemic which threatens and kills people across the world. I seek your togetherness and unity to join with me in lighting the world with lesser lights against the epidemic. Lighting together against the pandemic is our strong step to chase the plague. So, it is my humble request to you all to express your unity in diversity with the spirit of solidarity. So, tomorrow night at 09.00 p.m. sharp all shall put off the lights burning everywhere and in total darkness let’s switch on our mobile torches, candles and lamps for nine minutes to kill the plague. There are some exceptions that hospitals and other important official buildings will not switch off. Let’s switch off the lights in our houses and light the darkness with lesser lights and burn the virus. I believe you all follow my words since I am your ‘orange’ head to build a stronger nation. Thank you.”

The ‘orange’ head concluded his address and all the ignorant viewers were hypnotized.
“Dear!” The woman cried to her husband.

“What, dear?” The man raised a question.

“Dad, I know. Tomorrow at sharp at nine we have to switch off the lights and burn the lamps. Am I right?” Is it the boy’s sarcastic statement and question?

‘Right and cute, boy,” the mother patted the boy’s back.

It was seven o’ clock the next day evening. The sun had laid his head down; the moon raised her face with her twinkling fairies around her. The face of the nation slowly fell in darkness. Between the poles of the nation with some speckles of light the terror of darkness began enveloping the face of the country.

“Hi, dear, look outside. It is dark. There sneak out a family of members holding lamps and torches. How come they came out first? We should have done it first. Let’s carry our costly mobiles and light and chase the plague. Let’s take a ‘selfie’ and post in YouTube. Be quick, dear. Hey, my dear boy, join with us for this ‘selfie’.”

The woman of the house failed to control her emotions and persuaded her husband to act accordingly. The husband obeyed sincerely. The little boy looked astounded, but he could not disobey their parents’ order.

Balcony riders from every nook and corner of the nation flocked out holding the burning lamps, candles and glittering mobiles and demonstrated a grand ‘mela’ shouting ‘Go, plague, go, pandemic, go, virus. We burn you with our ‘unified’ lesser lights because our ‘orange’ head has said so, for he is our ‘popular leader’.

The clock struck nine. The electric lights were put off. There fell a shroud of darkness over the face of the nation. The inmates of the houses were forced to switch off the lights in their houses by instinctively. Yes. Hysterical Instinct governed the citizens of the nations. Most of the citizens switched off the lights out of fear over their ‘orange’ ‘head’ who might act otherwise, if disobeyed. They even unplugged the fuse of the power from the electricity board.

There in the middle of the roads flocked out in large numbers, both men and women, including hyper-sensitive children and youngsters holding lighted lamps, glittering mobiles and burning candles. It was a procession with beating of drums and crying of slogans: “Go, go, virus! We burn you, virus. Go, go, virus.” Media track these men and women in procession. Videos were shot; interviews were conducted.

“Dear, be haste to go to the media. They will conduct an interview with us. We will appear on the TV screen. Come, come.”

There were exchanges of conversation among the members of the family members.

Live telecast became viral on the screen.

“Look there, our ‘orange’ head is holding a lamp and he is seen surrounded with his minions who were also seen holding ‘pitchers’ in the hands.”

TV viewers shouted in amusement looking at ‘orange’ ‘rulers’ and slave ‘rulers’ holding lesser lights to ‘fight’ the epidemic.

The drama lasted for nine minutes.

“Mom, has the pandemic chased away?” The little boy shot a convulsive question at his parents.

“Yes, boy, it will be done away soon”.

Thereafter lot many foolish and groundless explanations were discussed on the social media supporting the gimmick of the ‘orange’ ‘leader’.

In two days number of victims of the pandemic increased and increased.

In the midst of the groundless explanations there too arose skeptical transactions against those superstitious blabbering.

The poor in rags had no way except to carry their empty bowels begging for a single meal.

The ‘orange’ radicals have led the nation stray and at the threshold of destruction. They have the way of escape leaving the ignorant citizens astray.

The little boy changed the channel back to Mr. Bean…But the show was over. He went to bed in tears.

What did his tears mean?

Yes, it is yet another gimmick…

------- Author's Notes -------

This short story was written based on a real incident happened in India in Lock down period in Covid 19

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