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  • Neelav Bhatiya


Written by Neelav Bhatiya

Illustrated by Tanishka Sonavane © Renesa - SVNIT

30th April – It always seems far enough until it stares you right in your eyes. A few hours earlier, I didn’t even know if I was listed or not, and now, I need to prepare myself for the first push. First, they came for our parents, and now they want us to go too. It will be alright, I guess. Won’t it?

D-Day: 1st May

0200 hours – Sleep eludes me. I have heard stories. No 19-year-old should be exposed to such horrors. Social media has been flooded with people who have returned, but my mind lingers upon those who haven’t. I leave at 0930. It’s going to be a long night.

0900 hours – People who know that I leave today have been calling me lucky. After all, many of them who had volunteered didn’t get their calling. I wouldn’t call myself lucky. I always knew that this day would eventually come and I would have to make peace with my demons, but I had not in the slightest known that it would be this soon. The question that eats my mind at the moment, however, is what clothes I need to wear.

0930 hours – I finally settle on a loose t-shirt and now I’m en route to the center. It can’t be that painful, can it?

1000 hours – The entire center is consumed with chaos. I can’t believe my eyes. People are fighting to get in and are not scared at all! It seems like the rumours were true after all.

1100 hours – After standing in the scorching sun for 1 hour, my turn finally comes. They had to call the police to control the mob outside. As I walk towards the premises, the nervousness in me becomes more apparent. I start to perspire a lot, my hands feel clammy, and my stomach begins to gurgle. Will I survive?

1105 hours - It happened. I got shot.

1400 hours - The wound itself wasn’t too painful. I guess the adrenaline coursing through my veins did its job just fine. However, I have been told that the worst is yet to come.

1800 hours - In the following 4 hours my body temperature rose from 97 to 102.5. My hand hurts like hell. My head seems as if it might just explode any second now. Drugs might bring me some relief but I refuse to take them. I might be in for a long night.

2200 hours - I finally gave in to my body’s demands and took some drugs. But at this point, I doubt it will make any difference. It seems like I have looked death in its face. Am I beyond redemption? Is today the day that I meet my creator?

2nd May

0800 hours - I finally slept at around 2 am. I feel a lot better now. Maybe I will be fine. After all, it was just a vaccine. It wasn’t as if I actually got shot or anything. To be honest, I don't get the government's push for getting vaccinated. I mean can’t we stay at our homes and not give into the societal pressure of social interaction? You feel me? But hey, why listen to me? Go try it out for yourself. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you though.



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