Say “Cheese” While Taking the Jab!

Arun D. Jatkar, Monroeville, PA

  I fully understand and highly appreciate it when people in high positions such as President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are photographed receiving vaccine injections for Covid-19, and those photos are widely and repeatedly publicized on TV. They have a significant  value: they send a much-needed message to people who are sitting on the fence or totally resistant to the idea of getting vaccinated against Covid-19. The photo of the first Black nurse in New York City getting the vaccine jab is important for the same reason.

But now I am receiving messages via WhatsApp from my high school buddies in Pune, India, showing them receiving the vaccination shot. In some photos the nurse who gave the injection is also posing for the photograph.

I wonder if these photos have a value. Sometimes I think, they do.  They tell their friends to stop procrastinating and register to get the shots. But it has spawned some funny exchanges that show facets of mind, for which the folks from my hometown are famous:

● People have started asking whether the vaccination center provides a photographer, or whether you have to make your own arrangements for the photoshoot.

● This has a special significance because if you go to a municipal hospital, the vaccination is free of charge. If you go to a private hospital, you pay INR 250 per shot per person.

● If you took the vaccination at a municipal hospital at no cost, those who took it at a private hospital for INR 250 fee would look down upon you.

● Too many people getting themselves photographically shot while receiving the vaccine is slowing down the process. So, now there is a concerted move at many hospitals to give the second shot on the butt, rather than on the arm.

● In Marathi, it is common to say, “He does not take it!” to mean that he does not drink (wine, whiskey, etc.). The same verb is used when people enquire of each other whether they took the vaccine injection.

● A friend has sent a message saying, “Until yesterday people used to respect me because I steadfastly refused to ‘take’ it. Now, I am an object of intense hatred because I have not ‘taken’ it yet.”  It is, indeed, a strange world!


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