Synopsis

Do they know the Indian variant has many sub-variants? There’s a Mamata variant which can be more infectious but less fatal. Then there’s the Khattar variant — a ferocious creature. Once it hits, there is no escape, except to a delayed vaccine. The Kejriwal strain is all over the place with little logic guiding its path. Uncle Sam had waited a long time for a mutation in China. A mutation did emerge. But, alas, not with properties that uncle wanted. It took a while — like more than two decades — before the army of well-paid democratologists decoded the genetic sequence of the Xi variant. They had bet on a friendly, like-minded mutant ninja from China, one that would infect the world with a market-driven democratic fever.

Everyone would ‘buy’ happiness and iPhones. But lo and behold, wu and han, the lab down yonder let loose something else entirely. ‘Double-mask and double-distance!’ cried uncle. ‘We must decouple from this double trouble,’ cried Trump-ji.

But the ninja was already deep inside the Beltway, that imaginary circle of charmed democratologists crammed into the American capital who always know better about the world. They design ‘world orders’ when not launching wars from their desks, a bit like the Lutyen’s Delhi lot really.

The virus had not only infected them, but it had also established home in Silicon Valley, where it found the highest concentration of frequent fliers to China. But that’s such an old tale, like going back to the times of the ancient sage, Bill Clinton, when market fever was raging so hard, no medicine seemed to work, especially not the truth serum that was, in any case, ‘never inhaled’. And the virus was welcomed with open arms.

Time-travel to 2020, and the virus had run amuck, gone deep into Africa, travelled the European trail and pierced the heart of Asia. Some experts suggested that an Indian variant could be grown under controlled conditions to counter the Xi one — a smarter karate kid to take on the more dangerous ninja. After all, Uncle Sam had been genetically engineering stuff for a while, and even funded some weird research in that Wuhan lab that people keep talking about these days. But the National Institutes of Democracy are reporting ‘mixed’ results from the experiment.

Far from accepting a disciplined existence to combat the Chinese variant, the Indian strain has gone hyperactive. It’s giving headaches, nausea and breathlessness to Uncle Sam’s experts. They are wondering if the Indian variant will evolve further and become as dangerous as the Pakistani variant, or the many varieties in West Asia.

Controllers of the Indian variant say such fears are nothing but a global conspiracy to malign the country’s image, destabilise the government, and create more fear and loathing among the masses – if more fear and loathing was even possible. There’s already so much loathing on Twitter trails, the house is full, they add. India is done with listening to foreign experts sitting in their ivory towers and pronouncing judgment when they don’t understand the complexities of the Indian variant.

Do they know the Indian variant has many sub-variants? There’s a Mamata variant which can be more infectious but less fatal. Then there’s the Khattar variant — a ferocious creature. Once it hits, there is no escape, except to a delayed vaccine. The Kejriwal strain is all over the place with little logic guiding its path. The Khoda variant is ploughing through a remote island these days to create trouble where there was none.

People also report a Mulayam strain – apparently kept in a hidden lab somewhere between Etawah and Utah — which, if it hits, the afflicted can recover after a few months in institutional quarantine.

India has strongly protested foreign labelling of its homegrown variants, which the country achieved without outside help. India’s new democratologists are considering going to the United Nations to seek Bharatiya nomenclature for products created indigenously.

Back in America, their counterparts are worried. Can they still hope for a united front against the China variant if Indian variants go strolling in different directions? Watch this petri dish.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)

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