Friday, April 16, 2021

3254 : The shape of my privilege

I just returned home. From my vaccination (first dose).

I am privileged in this country by speaking English and having some money. I also can call people if I need help. This means I am not powerful, but I know a few folks who might be deemed "powerful". I have also have two doctors in my immediate family, and a renowned surgeon as one of my best friends.

That sets the context about me.

I registered on Cowin (which is a masterclass in UI/UX design!!) and went to one of the Mumbai hospitals as a regular middle-class individual.

Here is my experience

1) The hospital is choc-o-bloc. Don't blame them, it's covid.

2) The process is quite literally all over the place. I have to move between 2 floors and about 5 different windows.

3) One place to collect a manual form (do we need it post COWIN?)

4) No pens to fill the form.

5) A different place to go line up.

6) About an hr long queue. That's probably because I reached at 1.30, which is lunchtime.

Also in that 1 hr, about 30 people joined directly the head of the queue - I believe people of power, politicians, etc. Very blatantly, no explanation. They looked entitled. So all of us meekly gobbled it up.

7) Another window to electronically register.

8) Next window (at a different place), where my manual form is verified.

9) Another wait of 20 mins before I get the vaccine. 

10) No spirit, no dabbing - just a jab in less than 10 seconds. No patch to cover up the wound of the needle. Wonder is this safe.

11) Next window (6 by now???) for submitting your manual form and waiting for 30 mins.

12) Not enough place to sit in the observation zone. So I am supposed to be watching for symptoms, but standing. Seats did clear up in a few mins, but I let the elders take the seat.

13) I am sweating like a pig. Most of us are, including the staff.

Call outs

1) Staff is all contract workers, none of them seem like hospi workers. But super sweet and super polite. Big call out to them :-)

2) Vaccines are coming off a card box. No idea if these were ever refrigerated.

3) I believe a setup like this is a super spread in itself.

4) Common air-conditioning and zero safe distance. We were all standing like we stand in bus stops @ Mumbai. Literally our dick poking into the next guy/girl. If this is not a superspreader, I wonder what is?

5) It's free. So I paid nothing. 

6) Should this not be done in the open 4 acres that the same hospital has? Like china does - or at least I saw photos.

Fun facts

One Gujju lady (not being racial, she was gujju and that is my 3rd language), was not wearing a mask - but she had her dupatta covering her mouth, not her nose.....and she was all the time (ahead of me) - through all the windows - and through the journey - she had an app one - where she kept pressing a red button - and one more "Ram" in Hindi appeared on the screen. This is the digital equivalent of writing Ram 108 times or a million times on paper.

My mom used to write this when I was younger. So I have no disrespect or mirth in this. Still, the irony was not lost on me - you don't wear a mask, but you chant Ram.

Faith in my view can move oceans, but the virus can attack your heart and lungs :-)


I do feel thankful at the end of the day, I saw people from all strata getting the vaccine. So I do feel gratitude to all the human beings involved in the value chain - who made this happen for me.

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