Merry Christmas… my dear

There have been over 300,000 Covid-related deaths this year in the USA alone, and the numbers are still rising as many deniers refuse to take basic precautions like wearing masks. Asymptomatic carriers — no signs of illness — can be infected and infect others. The second wave is well under way. So many losses.

Here’s a recent oped by pediatricians in the Boston area, pleading for the public to stay home: We’re Pediatricians In A Pandemic. We Shouldn’t Be Taking Care Of Your Grandparents. A new confusing disease they’re seeing is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, MIS-C. In Karachi, Dr Darayus Gazder at Ziauddin Hospital describes the same thing, seeing children “who post-COVID develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is worse than adult onset COVID” (emphasis mine).

Tweet after hearing of another tragedy in the family: Sajid Rizwan Ansari, 36, died in his sleep of a heart attack

So many personal losses this year. Grateful to have spent time with friends and loved ones in Pakistan last winter. Several have since departed this world. There’s sadness also about the departure of some whom I hadn’t seen in years, like my second cousin Khalid Afzal in London, an early victim of Covid-19. In Allahabad, family friend and mentor Comrade Ziaul Haq (Munnan Chacha) passed on in November, joining his wife Dr Rehana who departed a week after his 100th birthday barely a month earlier. My mother’s college friend Inkesar Nawaz died suddenly in Lahore of a heart attack.

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“Better green than gas stations!”

Christmas trees instead of cars. Yeah.

We’re not exactly into the whole commercial holiday scene but it seemed like a good time to get a little tree to decorate for the season and put out to grow for the rest of the year. So we got ourselves to Ricky’s Flower Market. We’d often passed this inviting looking urban nursery, bursting with flowers and potted plants in warmer weather, incongruously tucked between two heavily trafficked roads at Union Square, Somerville, MA. Now it’s full of Christmas trees. We pulled into the parking spot (bonus) and after some deliberation and discussion with Ricky, the owner, chose a sweet little Dwarf Alberta Spruce (a hardy species indigenous to the New England and Canada area, we learnt), in a pot. Here’s part of our conversation with its surprise tidbits: Continue reading

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