Posted by Pankaz K. Sharma, Guwahati, Assam
Nostradamus must have been one of the most hard working guys in the world, making so many predictions on all major global events; be it the reign of some emperor in the 17th century or the 9/11 terror attacks and, of course, the more recent COVID-19 pandemic. And to get the best update on his predictions, one must rely on the large number of the WhatsApp University alumni. One such acquaintance told me during the last week of March, 2020 (when the lockdown was still new) that Nostradamus predicted the outbreak of COVID-19 – in words that implied the Coronavirus would come out of China as a queen (wearing Corona, Latin for crown) when pigs would fly. According to him, it meant that the epidemic would spread to humans from pigs, and it would travel the world, when infected people would return home from China in airplanes.
Who knew, his words (this guy’s, at least) would literally come true within a span of five months and that too, very near my residence.
On that extremely hot and sultry Guwahati evening, we went out for a stroll, when a jogger stopped us, pointed to a bulky pig and told us not to proceed further, as this pig was highly aggressive and people had to fend it off with sticks. Undecided about what to do next, we stopped and watched the pig, while two cars passed by. We took it for granted that it must be one of the farm animals, who might have defied captivity and escaped from nearby Uzan Bazar locality. What intrigued us, however, was its muscular physique and a rather long snout, which convinced us that this was not any ordinary pig, but a wild boar.
What happened next was a little scary, to say the least.
Our pig sort of flew into the Suzuki car and hit it hard. So hard that its rear wheels became airborne for a second or two. Naturally, we beat a retreat, only to hear the sound of something hitting another car. We looked back at the sound to find the pig hardly 10 meters behind us, a sight that made us take to our heels.
After reaching our place, we spent our energy in describing the incident to whosoever we came across. Our landlord rode his Scooty and drove away to gather more information. We too went back to talk to an eyewitness as to where it went. He told us that it took a detour at a bifurcation and went down a slope, which would lead it to either Guwahati Club or to Silpukhuri, two of the many busy spots in Guwahati.
The next morning, we struck a conversation with some people during our morning stroll and they told us that the pig had previously attacked a woman and injured her. They surmised that it must have come from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated at a distance of about 40 kilometers to the east of Guwahati. It could have been forced by the recent flood to move out, or could have even been washed off by the flood. We will never know. But what was sure, was that the ongoing lockdown made it confident enough to roam in the city, but then it became nervous with the city lights and the sound of vehicles.
By the afternoon, TV channels started reporting on the pig attacking people at the Guwahati Press Club and the State Directorate of Archaeology premises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eynsgMxIL_A), both places situated at Ambari, which is not far from Guwahati Club. One of the persons, attacked by the boar, succumbed later to his injuries.
By late evening, the news reached us that the boar was killed by an angry mob at Marakhali Colony, near Assam Textile Institute, which too is situated at Ambari.
To cut to the chase, there remains the following important questions:
Did the pig fly, as predicted by Nostradamus? The answer is ‘no’, even though watching the grainy CCTV image gave the impression that the pig jumped over a gate and could be flying, well sort of, for a few seconds.
Did Nostradamus ever really make such a prediction? The answer, again, is a ‘no’, but why to spoil the fun with a little truth?
To conclude: The pig is dead for sure, but both WhatsApp University and its devoted students continue to exist and prosper. And life will continue to be a little fun as long as they exist, with or without lockdown.
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