The startling news that one third of Covid deaths in the world have come from India and that we had the most number of fatalities, may have shocked the world, but not our country as I started finding out: “Who is WHO?” said a man selling tea on the platform of a local station, “Did they physically count the number of dead?”

“They say, ten times more people have died from Covid then the official data has revealed!” I said stubbornly.

“You see,” said the tea seller on the platform, “WHO’s claim is like the moon landing!”

“Moon landing?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes,” said the tea seller laughing mirthlessly, “those Americans picked up a Hollywood movie of astronauts landing on the moon, showed it to us and soon the whole world believed they actually landed on the moon! Just look up, can you see the moon?”

“No,” I said, “It’s daytime!”

“Exactly!” said the man on the platform as he poured tea for another passenger, “How can anyone go to the moon, when they can’t see the moon during the day? You tell me?”

“I don’t know!” I said, “but…”

“No buts,” said the man firmly as he nearly threatened to spill hot tea on me, “Now can you imagine forty-seven lakh people dying of Covid in our country? Can you imagine such a huge number in your mind?”


“I said no buts,” said the tea seller, “Now let me give you something easier for your limited mind. Now just imagine four point seven lakhs in your mind? There I can see your mind, you have been able to do it, just like the Hollywood moon landing!”

“What?” I shouted.

“We need to believe in reality,” said the tea seller smoothly, “Not a fantasy, some foreign agency paints for us! Close your eyes, now see that moon landing film set, see the astronauts climbing out of a plastic space ship and after that can you hear the director shout, ‘cut’?”

I nodded. The tea seller sure had a mesmerizing way of making me believe what he said. Though I am not sure whether it was just his voice or the threat of scalding hot tea all over me, that made me agree to his far-fetched logic, but I nodded in agreement even as he smiled and poured me a glass of tea.

“Drink!” he said pleasantly, “and stop believing all those western data people who talk about our covid deaths being ten times more, or our country being somewhere last in the corruption index, or that we have religious persecution here, or that our freedom of speech is on the wane!”

I nodded in agreement as he concluded, “We know how to write Hollywood stories that are believable, so believe us!”

I nodded quickly as he lifted his kettle threateningly..!   

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