If the experts, and by that I mean the same folks who told us how to keep Covid at bay with brass utensils and Go-Corona-Go chants, are to be believed, another wave is coming our way. And while masks, hand sanitizers, triple-boosters and wild dancing in streets do help, the need of the hour, however, is sustained, planned avoidance of other human beings.
Below is a list of people who need to be avoided not just during pandemic times but even if a meteor were to come hurtling at us and this lot had the only escape spaceship.
A dangerous beast, to be avoided at all costs. If your infant son is waiting for a lifesaving drug, this creature will still try to sell you its latest book outside the ICU. Whether dressed as scholarly writer of nonfiction, middlebrow reteller of epics or purveyor of Bollywood-style romance, this being is equally bloodthirsty. Look out especially for the poet, or worse still, the performance poet. It wears a mookkutthi and reads you to a coma, and will continue reading even if you die like Sivaji Ganesan in Miruthanga Chakravarthi, blood spurting from your facial orifices.
Yogis and Yoginis
A yoga guru (realizing I was a philistine who needed remedying) once told me, quite conversationally, that one drop of semen is equal to seven drops of blood. It made me feel very bad. That’s the principal job of all yoga practitioners: to make people who don’t practise yoga, the majority of the world, that is, feel bad. And they do this by posting pictures of themselves looking deeply at their own normally unseeable parts with utmost ease, with the Eiffel Tower, Auschwitz or the Bermuda Triangle in the background. Protect your sense of self-worth. God didn’t intend you to look at certain parts of yourself. Or look at people looking at certain parts of themselves. Avoid.
I once messaged a friend of mine, an avowed feminist, thus: ‘How are you?’ I said. ‘You are asking me that only because I’m a woman,’ she responded. ‘No, not at all,’ I messaged. ‘I was asking generally.’ ‘You can ask generally only because you’re a man,’ she responded. ‘TTYL,’ I texted. ‘Typical of you to run away when you’re asked tough questions,’ she responded. And when I didn’t respond, I got ‘You’re the reason they have a swimsuit round in the Miss World competition.’ ‘I apologize,’ I said. ‘Too late. Make amends by wearing a two-piece next time you go vegetable shopping.’ ‘Should I wear my conservative green one or the other skimpier scarlet one?’ I messaged. ‘Die.’ She responded. You can never win with an activist, any activist. Whatever their cause.
NRI Dance Akkas
This one is a seasonal menace. But equally lethal. She migrates to Tamil-speaking shores at the end of the year, to flit maniacally between Nalli and Narada Gana Sabha. She can be identified by the Thillana Mohanambal-style makeup even in civilian situations. She also wears vankis and vaddanams even while sleeping and does mudras ‘absently’ so you never forget she’s a dancer. (Imagine if a proctologist behaved that way, constantly reminding you how he does his job.) If you are caught unawares, you’ll be made to watch a performance. Run.
Followers of seers, godmen and philosophers of all denominations should be given a wide berth. If you tell a follower that your entire family died in a train accident, he’ll tell you that’s just your perception. Or that death is a dimension and the train an invention. Or that all five fingers are not of the same length. Or that you shouldn’t be judgemental. Or that you are full of negativity. Or that when a bud breaks, it becomes a flower.
While you’re at it, it might be wise to avoid: members of any and all types of clubs, man-bun wearers, chess players, people who bring guitars to parties, proud Indians, golfers, stamp collectors, anyone taking two snacks at one time from a waiter, techies, anyone who says ‘stay blessed’, social media influencers, people who speak of wine needing to breathe, people who begin stories with ‘so’, Sudoku players, people who invite you to like them on social media, slimfit trouser wearers, people who invite you to take part in webinars, anyone who calls themselves a curator, trainers, vegans, singers, people with the same surname as yours, Bongs who like Bongs because they are Bongs and Bongs are the best, Golts who like Golts because they are Manavaadus, Mallus who like Mallus because, hey, Lalettan, but also pretend to like Bongs just to be on the safe side.
Actually, perhaps it’s best to avoid everyone....