To vax or not to vax

Two years into the pandemic, the world is now split into two camps. Those that are eager or ok with the idea of getting vaccinated and those who are refusing to take the jab. Let me clear the air right at the start. I have taken both vaccines as mandated in my country. So have all those in my immediate family.

Did I evaluate the chances of success of the vaccines before getting them?

No. But then neither do I evaluate all the off the shelf medicines that I end up taking for various other ailments. I am not a Doctor nor do I keep myself up to date on all the conspiracy theories that float around on the internet.

And sure enough, the pandemic has spawned a number of theories. Right from the ‘how it all started’ to ‘how it can spread’ and ‘how to avoid it’ there are multiple theories that float around. ‘Graduates from WhatsApp university’ …. you know, folks who spend endless hours ‘whatsapping’ are mainly responsible for spreading all this information or better let’s call it disinformation. The problem for most of us normal, human beings is deciding what to believe and what to discard.

I for one believe it is wrong to force anyone to do anything. That being said if my inaction can result in someone else getting sick or worse dying, then I am all for getting vaxed.

Bias in the News

Pick up any newspaper, browse any news site, turn on any news channel and listen. The chances are that you will sense a bias. In India, the driving force is more of a financial nature. The government in power can place full-page advertisements in newspapers of their choice. These can mean revenues in millions. Obviously, newspapers that toe the Government line get the ads. These newspaper houses have to ensure that the articles which analyze Government policies get watered down to present a positive spin. News media of countries with dictatorships or totalitarian governments have no options to choose from. For them, it is always better to write praising the virtues of the Supreme Leader than to find themselves tied to the business end of a cannon.

Personally, I think the worst example of bias is visible in the news media from the US. From CNN to Fox, everyone has a bias. Democrat or Republican, the news item gets doctored to favour one or the other side. For a country that claims itself to be the epitome of democracy and democratic values, this is really sad.

What happened to pure and simple journalism?

Presenting the news as it happens. Treating readers or viewers with respect and letting them draw their own conclusions. Letting the readers form their own opinion as to who the heroes and villains were in the story you narrated.

Optimism and Hope

A few days back, we welcomed a new year. 2022 has started, and we are already halfway into the first month. A new year brings with it new resolutions, hopes, and aspirations. Most of us set targets that we hope to achieve during the year. Most of us also end up forgetting all about these goals even before the year is halfway through !!
What is it about the New Year that makes us so optimistic?
The pandemic has impacted lives across the globe and is now into its second year. It is also showing no signs of easing off. And yet we still wish a ‘great new year’ to all our near and dear?
Where does all this optimism come from? Is it that we humans have over the centuries developed an innate quality to look at only the better side of life, mask the pain and sorrow and hope that we will eventually survive and overcome.