News Karnataka
Friday, October 07 2022
Editor's Choice

Covid, conversions, conversations, and coins!

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“OMicron! Thou art still small, invisible, and shapely (round is a shape) with modern coloured spikes in your hair, designed by China’s (?) best hair stylist, and yet you can drive the worlds health eco system – its hospitals, its pharma, oxygen and vaccine manufacturers, and retailers, its people (there are those that charge double their normal consultation fee if they have to see a Covid Patient, with Omicron will it triple? it may require a booster shot), its insurance, its diagnostics and even its undertakers to unfathomable profits even as you control the worlds travel, tourism and population like no known contraceptive or population policy drafted by a single (as opposed to married man) can!. Indeed, you are superhuman. Change is your only constant. And for us your change is our only constant. Even the bus conductor is envious of your wallet, not just the Bata shop owner.

You are so dangerous, you spread through news channels and social media, and WHO ever, rather than medically and we still don’t know where you were born or where you are headed. But you seem well traveled, knowledgeable about human habits and habitats and of course its climate, despite its change that everybody is trying to fight through conferences that debate “phase out” and “phase down” like grammar Nazis, comfortable in the knowledge that the debating room is climate controlled through air conditioners. Its beside the point that Air cons are the “Charles Shobraj” of Climate Change! While they control the climate within, you can literally hear them say Oh Micron, from where did you come?

Are we perhaps wearing our masks wrong? Should we cover our Eyes and Ears rather than our noses and mouths? So that we can’t see or hear you sticking your spike into our cell (phone) or into our business? Shouldn’t matter much, as it is no longer there, at least not as or where it used to be…” so lamented the beleaguered human being, who is lucky that he still feels human in the turmoil around him.

We are forced to lament because of conversion by the original virus and the conversations about it. The virus changes its nationality and allegiances every six months, and we don’t or can’t do anything about it. Thankfully, it treats humanity as one – no caste, no creed, no language, no nationality. It’s a world citizen but called an anti-national everywhere it goes. Nobody welcomes it with an open nose and mouth, so the Virus converts itself into new strains, which do not need a nose or a mouth, induced perhaps by parts of the body that were previously anathema to it. It knows it should not be seduced and convert itself, but as soon as it sees a place where it is welcome, feels at home, feels joy and peace in its mission, a place where it feels it can thrive, it converts itself to suit that part and attaches itself fiercely to this newfound hope of survival. Can’t ban that because it is acting of its own free will. And even a mob cannot stop it without getting infected. That is quite an achievement. Isn’t it? It enjoys the freedom of expression that even we humans don’t have. Because even if it hurts our ever-sensitive sentiments, we cannot afford to get sentimental about it. We have to try and ignore it as much as we can; but can we, when we are prisoners in our own cell (phones)?

Can try though – maybe if virtual or real conversations are banned too then we won’t hear about it? What’s one more ban when we have so many already… Covid and its various avatars have already enforced bans on gatherings, schools, colleges, public functions, pools, gyms, parlors – the list is endless. But it hasn’t stopped the virus’s conversion and the conversation around it. Can’t even make jokes about it. Nobody laughs except OMicron! That’s why perhaps most comedians retire early…at least the ones that can still make us laugh at our two selves – the one on Facebook and the one in the mirror!

Speaking of conversations, according to the constitution of India, great conversations are supposed to happen in parliament, the repository of the historical and amalgamated wisdom of India. But conversations take place more outside than inside for some reason. Maybe, because to have a conversation, there has to be a listener and a speaker. One of them has converted to the other. So does only a speaker exist?

In fact, besides listening and trying to understand what the speaker has to say there are several other elements that are involved in a decent conversation according to – Asking: Engaging and seeking information; Informing: Giving information; Asserting: Stating something as true; Proposing: Putting forward argument; Summarizing: Reflecting your understanding; Checking: Testing understanding; Building: Adding to existing ideas; Including: Bringing in others; Excluding: Shutting out others; Self-promotion: Boosting oneself; Supporting: Lending strength; Disagreeing: Refusing to agree (without being disagreeable); Avoiding: Refusing to consider argument; Challenging: Offering new thoughts to change thinking; Attacking: Destruction of their ideas; Defending: Stopping their attacks; Blocking: Putting things in the way of their arguments. Now which of these other elements are missing or are prominent by their presence? Not a tough question at all and you’ve got a whole week to come up with an answer…

It’s not just the virus and the listener (can find very few these days) that are converting themselves. Currency is in on the game too. First, there were coins that have converted themselves into bitcoins. They too are invisible, they have as much an affinity for human beings as does OMicron and they too are banned! They keep your wallet light but valuable, but they are held by a foreign hand, which means no revenue, no control, but also no promises to pay the bearer the sum of… under the signature of… and a picture of….  So be careful. Once bitten you’ll be twice shy!

But then, forbidden fruit is that much sweeter! The value of forbidden goods is always 2x or more of its original value. It’s the conversion rate! It’s already chained to the block and that’s why perhaps it needs to be blocked and will be, until you pay to release it! But the conversions don’t stop there. Even our assets have converted into NFTs after an uncomfortable existence here on earth. NFTs? Non-Fungible Tokens. They’ll never get spoilt because the fungus can never get to them, unlike your other assets. They are the silver lining in somebody’s cloud – you can buy them with your bitcoins but don’t bite off more than you can chew! And they are digital assets. That means you can only see them like you do some of your best friends – on your electronic devices! That’s devious don’t you think? Right now, these NFTs are mostly works of art -literally; but soon, who knows soon even your house and your corporate brand and teams may be NFTs like the stars in the sky. Now you see them, now you don’t!

This piece was all about the power of the invisible on our lives because the visible are losing their influence. It’s the cloud and not the sun that matters. Keep your head there, but your feet on the ground…

Let not your judgment be clouded.

Until next week then…


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

Image by Gerd Altmann

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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