A Land of Spices
Throwing in a cinnamon stick, a cardamom, and a few cloves in the sizzling spoonful of oil for my Kofta Curry, I think of that ‘Land of spices’. A land full of rich colours in almost everything nature has allocated for it – from wild life, birds of the air, fauna and flowers, almost every type of spice imaginable and even to the raw materials for its textile industry!!
A land to which the Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama, journeyed in order to get in on the then lucrative spice trade of the 15th and 16th century. This land which had become so well-known for its gold and spices, that the explorer made a special sea voyage to get in on the action.
‘Gold, spices, and other riches were valuable in Europe. But they had to navigate long ways over sea and land to reach them in Asia. Europeans during this time were looking to find a faster way to reach India by sailing around Africa. Da Gama accomplished the task. By doing so, he helped open a major trade route to Asia.’
A Land Stricken
Now six centuries later, this is that same land that is so brutally ravaged by the COVID pandemic. Ravaged, largely because of the negligence of a government that failed to put the strictest of measures in place, to curb the spread of this deadly virus. A government that failed to garrison its health care places with urgent and ever depleting equipment and resources which now are nearing zero. A government that could have foreseen possible second waves of the pandemic hitting the nation, made contingency plans and turned its many large auditoriums into hospital units – but didn’t.
This is the land where its wealthy and powerful citizens also have failed to meet its powerless and ordinary citizens in their hour of need.
We watch in horror as the land reels under the mountain of fatalities, too fast and furious in numbers to even be anointed with any of the priceless spices used for cremation.
We agonise with families separated by oceans and now closed borders, unable to attend to the loss or care of loved ones stricken by the virus.
The World Responds
The world watches, sends much needed oxygen cylinders, PPE’s and other urgently needed aid – and prays. Prays for a land that had so much going for it, but today is brought to its knees.
We pray for the government of India to make good its failures even through this time and rise up to do what needs to be done, to battle against even these new strains of COVID.
We pray for the thousands, if not millions of families, caught on the wrong side of the global diaspora, in this critical hour of necessary border closures to countries under the strangle-hold of COVID and its variants.
We pray with all our hearts as we sprinkle those precious spices in our dinners for the day.
May God’s mercy and provision also be sprinkled in India, with abundance, – that land ‘of many colours’.
‘Call to me and I will answer …..’ says the God of mercy.