The bug grips individuals rather than collectives, and then, what can only be described as the captive congregation syndrome takes over. The rest is known to every neighbourhood even in the distant neighbourhood of a mosque, shrine, or imambargah. Global health watchdogs like the WHO have yet to realise its gravity, for, like much of the UN, it has its hands too full preventing epidemics among massive human dislocations to worry about raging inflammations among the firmly-rooted.
In any case, empirical studies suggest that the outbreak is seasonal. Not in the climatic sense but more of a piece with the word lunar and some of its more unsavoury derivatives. This is when the incidence peaks, both in intensity and magnitude. Not that the affliction remains below the pain threshold ordinarily. Only that the graph shoots out of the screen during those extra-ordinary times when the very rays of the sun (moonlight famously being reflected light) are supposed to be imbued with sublime tidings.
Thousands upon thousands have been inoculated against the bug by long –sometimes a lifetime – of exposure. So the everyday, or garden, variety of the bug is just a part of the environment – a remarkable feat of acclimatisation that even cold warriors of the Siachen would be proud of. And this static response to the sharp, steep and sudden attenuation? Behavioural scientists have a challenge on their hands to unravel this wonder of adapting by anticipation.
But has that not been the name of the game right from the Word go? Anticipation? Bangs, big or small, pale in comparison to the power of the word when drilled into eardrums through material waves, and the most glorious sunset, sunrise and high noonturn to ashes in the mouth amid reverberating incantations where decibels are thought to be infinitely more effective than devotion.
In less enlightened times, the laity sought the Word’s Elaboration, but gradually, in the course of wisdom-turning-into-knowledge-turning-into-information, was thought fit only for Amplification – the 3G of divine guidance. Naturally, the process had to be mechanised. No, that is obsolete. It had to be automated – sorry, that too is passé. It required a highly advanced stage of robotics, many generations above humanoids, and running on software known by the generic name microphonitis