The cosmic chronicle. The new Spanish Flu, 21st century version

I would like to brighten up the day or at least distract those of you who are in that kind of house arrest caused by the fucking coronavirus, especially if you are in a small and crowded space. I’d like to write a chronicle in a “good, good, good” way, which for a while would free the minds of those who think and dream continuously about this new Spanish Flu, 21st century version that we are suffering from (isn’t it that it reappears on the scene from time to time like certain travelling meteorites?)

It would be a similar chronicle to so many others I wrote here in Sauraha (Chitwán, Nepal) during the last decade. The spring has exploded and the greenery of this great garden has intensified as if you had put on a clean shirt, wild pot is growing everywhere and in the temple of Shiva, a god who is fond of smoking it, there are thousands of plants (I am not exaggerating) that are already rising one meter from the ground. I could also tell you that every day I hear new songs of migratory birds that have just arrived and that the temperatures are ideal, or that I feel wonderful and unbearably happy, despite knowing what is coming.

But if I gave the chronicle those colors, it would be as if I were giving a poetry reading while a pitched battle was being fought behind my back: it would be, in part, a fiction like the “Divergent Stories”. It would also be a bit hypocritical, since I would be hiding from you the Nepalese version of this epidemic. It is a war against an invisible enemy, and I am sorry to remind you that in such confrontations the smaller one almost always wins. Like when two anthills confront each other and the dwarf ants quickly finish off the giants.

Nepal always manages to be late, and this time it has done so with the coronavirus. Until March 22, and while the disease was spreading around the world, the only Nepalese infected had been a student who returned from Wuhan himself, and he got over it without further problems. This was fortunate because, in line with what I mentioned before about this country’s chronic backwardness, nothing had been prepared: at Kathmandu airport they only set up screening centres last week. The day before yesterday it was decreed that all new arrivals should be quarantined for fourteen days, but there are no agents to enforce that rule and no one is complying with it.

However, the mess with capital letters only broke out when, as in China, thousands of Nepalese abroad began to return. It is estimated that in the last few days more than thirty thousand entered Nepal from India. From that moment on, events were rushed. Do you remember that scene in the film “Big Fish” where time, after stopping for a few minutes, begins to pass again and it does so in a hurry? It was similar here. We were all aware of what was happening in the rest of the world, but in Sauraha’s bazaar there was not a single mask to be seen and nothing was moving or changing. Until, suddenly, and in practically a single day, Boom!, everything happened.

The hospitals in this region of Chitwan had isolation wards that remained empty until March 23, when the first patient was admitted. Alarm, the virus is close! On the same day there was a case in a nearby village. Ah!

And then the lazy Maoist rulers of Kathmandu issued one order after another: closing schools (they said they had waited for exams to be completed); closing border posts (which in many cases are porous and uncontrollable); banning travelers who have recently been to countries suffering from the pandemic (but, absurdly, China is not among them: are they anxiously awaiting their thousands of regular tourists?); no road traffic, for example, between Sauraha and the nearby city of Hetauda; no free travel back and forth (well, that gets rid of the avalanche of people who came on weekends from Kathmandu and other big cities); closure of non-essential shops (the liquor store will be open for an hour in the morning: Ha!); closure for two weeks of government offices that serve the public, such as the Immigration office where visas are processed.

The number of foreigners currently in Nepal is one thousand and thirty, and those whose visas expire in that time will be extended free of charge when the offices reopen.

I would add that we hear constant hoaxes about new orders and counter-orders (for example, that the travel ban will only affect public vehicles, but not private ones) and that I frequently exclaim: “I don’t understand anything!

CURIOSITIES

Hong Kong’s seven and a half million people are covered with single-use protective masks, many of which end up in coastal waters. Many Hindus are being “vaccinated” against the coronavirus by drinking “sacred” cow urine. In India there is a temple dedicated to viruses in general: I suppose that these days it must be very crowded with fervent devotees burning incense sticks and saying the relevant prayers: “Our virus that is in the viral heaven” Have you thought about what the order to stay at home could mean for the poor of the Third World who survive day by day with the little they earn?When Sauraha’s “fumetas” found out that assholes all over the world were hoarding toilet paper (“Get stupid, wipe your asses with water, it’s more ecological and hygienic!”), we thought about the need to buy all the rolling papers in the bazaar. But, of course, we forgot about it: Ha! This should be the high season for tourism, so the “Mountaineers’ Association”, which represents the Sherpas who are going to be left without the job of transporting the luggage of the climbers who are going to climb Everest, have proposed to the government of Kathmandu to hire them to carry out a general cleaning of this mountain, on whose slopes there are tons of garbage and even some bodies hidden under the snow.India has closed down international air traffic, but there are no checks inside the country, not even on those with the symptoms. My friend Mr. Tolstoy has always been fond of predicting any debacle, and he has assured me dozens of times that tomorrow, say, an atomic war will break out irretrievably. Pandemic that, apart from deaths, will leave the economic apocalypse in its wake. Will I end up asking for charity in the streets of Kathmandu? Before the Nepalese government ordered a general shutdown, most hotels had already done so and sent their employees home, like the luxury Hyatt, Radisson and Marriot.My cousin Enrique, who is in Santander and is a smartass, told me, “I don’t get it: this whole coronavirus thing is a government setup to send old people like me to their graves. That way, not only will they avoid having an aging society, but they will save a bundle on pensions, which they would be unable to pay anyway.

SEE WHAT I THINK.

Human beings evolved to be able to talk and listen and not even need to think.I remember perfectly the dust I didn’t put in because I didn’t want to (I…).Whoever tells the truth loses the friendships… futile.Don’t do the faggoty thing of being intolerant of other people’s faggots.This morning I threw away the plastic bag that I have been using for more than three months to transport milk and yogurt (it comes in half kilo packages), without dirtying the cloth bag that I mentioned in another chronicle; the one I bought, I think, five years ago in a Thai shop dedicated exclusively to selling all the paraphernalia needed by Buddhist monks and temples. I avoid mirrors because I always see a joker who laughs at me. As you know, the orgasm triggers the hormones of love for the person who causes it: that’s why I love myself so much.

And that’s all for today, my dear nincompoops. Bom Bom.

La crónica cósmica, de Nando BabaLa crónica cósmica, de Nando BabaThe Cosmic Chronicle, by Nando Baba

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