The corona scare has everyone hitting the panic button. But some would prefer to take things in their stride, even cock a snook at the pandemic. The deadly virus seems to have let loose the creative juices in a few. Social media is awash with take-offs, memes and spoof videos on the possible scenarios in the days to come.

With no let up in the corona surge, parents might go for funny monikers for their newborns . The kindergarten roll call in future might sound like this: Gloves Gaikward, Mask Mahto, Qurantina Joshi, Lockdown Singh Rathore, Covid Awasthy, Corona Pal Singh and Social Distan Singh. Surely sometimes it takes pain and misfortune to teach lessons of life. As the world reels under the corona pandemic, some would like to laugh away the blues.

The deadly virus has unplugged creativity in no small measure. Poets, who mirror the vicissitudes of life, have given vent to the present troubled times in their own way. A good amount of social distancing shayeri has emerged in Urdu which is both thought provoking and funny at the same time.

Well known poet, Ahmed Faraz, feels proximity is what lovers pine for but there can be attraction in aloofness too. Sample this verse:

Qurbaten laakh khubsurat hon

Duriyon mein bhi dilkashi hai abhi

The humble handshake, the simple sign of greeting, is no-no these days. Health experts fear that the physical touch can be extremely critical now. Poet, Javed Saba, feels one might end up washing hands off with life itself if one goes about shaking hands with all and sundry. See how beautifully he captures the gravity of the situation. He says:

Ye jo milate phirte ho tum har kisi se haath

Aisa na ho ki dhona pade zindagi se haath

But this touch-me-not attitude could be very painful to lovers. It sure is a litmus test for them. In another verse Javed Saba reflects the dilemma of the lovebirds thus:

Ye keh kar usne makhmase mein daal diya

Milao haath agar waqai muhabbat hai

Social distancing has become the new normal with everyone accepting it willy-nilly. Padma Shri awardee, Bashir Badr, goes lyrical to express this idea. He says:

Koi haat bhi na milaiga

Jo gale miloge tapaak se

Ye naye mizaj ka shahr hai

Zara fasile se mila karo

Young bard, Shabbir Nazish, goes lyrical advocating the importance of remaining indoors to flatten the corona curve. Without mincing words he says:

Ghoom phir kar na qatale aam kare

Jo jahan hai wahin qiyam kare

The same idea is expressed in a different way by Etibar Sajid:

Ek hi shahr mein rehna hai magar milna nahin hai

Dekhte hain ye aziat bhi gawara karke

The scare, anxiety and sense of helplessness caused by corona is best captured by renowned Pakistan poet, Jaun Elia. He writes:

Ab nahin koi baat khatre ki

Ab sabhi ko sabhi se khatra hai

Despite global efforts, a cure for corona still eludes. Wajih Sami gives expression to this predicament thus:

Koi dawa bhi nahin yehi to rona hai

Sad ehtiyat ki phaila huva corona hai

Stay positive. Perhaps that’s the best way to beat the virus.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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