People die all the time. But not while they are being ferried from one hospital to another. Not while they lie on a stretcher gasping. Or while they desperately wait for a positive test result. What is happening right now is worse than what we feared.
With Indian hospitals, it has always been a take it or leave it deal. “Taking it” either meant deciding to pay extortionate prices or waiting in jam-packed corridors. Leaving it was to leave it to higher powers of one’s choosing.
Now, as hospitals run out of beds, oxygen and medicines, there’s nothing left to take or leave. And for doctors and nurses working in stressful, traumatizing conditions, there’s nothing more that they can give.
We are living through times of dangerous government apathy. Help, if at all it arrives, arrives after begging and hopelessly scavenging through black markets.
India, right now, is a nation aggrieved by the burden of avoidable deaths. An entire generation of children and young people has been exposed to death earlier than they were meant to. By the time this tragedy ends, many of us would be left poorer and lonelier.