Today I am out. As are co-members in the A-F letters of the alphabet. Therefore it’s Monday. Or Thursday. But, I happen to know it is Monday, because I have had to take my car to the garage and wait for it to be fixed. It has a strange complaint, my car.
Then last night the Government announced that, as from 1 May at 6:00 in the morning, if all stays the same or improves Covid-wise, there are now few enough new cases that we can go about a more normal life – no need for WAPs or alphabet days. Gatherings of more than 10 still not allowed. So, as the epidemic rages worse than ever in India, so it is, as we described yesterday, waning here. But, humanity as a whole is a long way from being out of the woods. We still need to be strict with masks, grouping, hand-washing, windows open, and keeping a cool distance. Not easy.
Anyway, I still have to take the car to the garage. Remember I said in an earlier blog how the two big Alsatians that live in Ragoo Lane were spending the nights dancing on the bonnet of Ram’s car? And how he had to start parking his car the other way round to stop it? Anyway, after a few nights, they started to dance on my car all night. Bonk! as the roof would cede and Bonk! as it would pop out again. Ditto for the bonnet. So, I had to start parking my car head first down the slope too. And for some night they were quiet. We thought it was all over. Then, they found that they can bounce around both cars’ bonnets and roofs, even the other way around, as they please. But, that is not the complaint my car has been brought to the mechanics for. The plot thickens. One night they, the two dogs, the mother-and-daughter team, ate Ram’s front left hub-cap right off. I do not lie. He managed to put the mangled thing back. Then, a few nights later, they ate the lining thing around the front wheel loose – you know the thing that’s like a lining to the car’s “latol” in front of and alongside the front wheel. That is the complaint. For fun! Ram, a neighbour and I patched it up temporarily. But it keeps slipping loose again now. I had to work out what to tell the mechanic, Robin. That the dogs bit my “ba-volan” loose? The mind boggles. He won’t believe me.
I also get to go out on Thursday for my flu jab. I quote Ram here: He says he notices nobody asks if the W.H.O. has certified this vaccine. I love his jokes. The flu vaccines come to our neighbourhood and are very quick and instant events – to the Centre Social – and, as you can see, by alphabet. Ram goes for his, for example, on Saturday, on Labour Day. So, staff will be working on the public holiday so we can get vaccinated. The dates are good for us, because our 2nd dose of Covid Vaccine, the AstraZeneca, will be in 3 weeks’ time. I wonder if the Government will manage to get Covid Vaccines for everyone? With the world’s biggest exporter, India, engulfed by a second wave of the Covid epidemic and with the Biden Administration simultaneously invoking its Defense Production Act to ban export of vital ingredients for India’s production of vaccines, things do not look at all good. Right now, one of the Chinese vaccines is being rolled out, but it will soon be finished. The Government needs a good million more doses.
And before that, on Wednesday night, I get to go out virtually. How’s that for a treat? To speak in a debate. The debate is called a “conversation”. We live in an age when people tend so much not to listen to each other that you have to call a “debate” a “conversation” to try to force us to listen. Anyway, it is on a fantastic subject: Culture and De-colonization – well that’s my interpretation of the title. But I must give you the full title, in all its glory, because it is a whole conversation in itself: “Nation-building, Decolonization and Human Life: Towards a National Policy for Culture and the Importance of Promoting Art forms.” It is part of the lovely Mamajaz festival this year. You can go to YouTube on Wednesday night. It’s live and direct. Well, as live and direct as you get these days. It will be moderated by Anupah Makoond. The other three speakers will be two former Culture Ministers, Joseph Tsang Man Kin and Rama Poonoosamy, and the MGI lecturer, Hans Ramduth. You can follow us on YouTube on Wednesday (day after tomorrow) 8 – 10 pm. Just look for: “Mamajaz.org” on YouTube (one “z” only in jaz.) Then you can listen to whether we listen to each other’s points. I hope I’m not too nervous. I’ve never been on a Zoom debate like this. Doing this is just one more side-effect of being kept indoors because of the epidemic. It sure makes me long to go to a real debate.
The tradition of debates was so lively in Mauritius. Everyone used to just wait for the next one, take bus, go listen. On any subject you can imagine. It was very highly cultured: person presiding welcomes and introduces everyone: then, one speaker, a few questions or points of precision, the second, the third, the fourth, each with a few direct questions. Then the floor is open. All manner of important debates were held like this. Some very, very few came to blows – which I mention because it was so intense, so heartfelt, so precise that it could come to blows.