Symbiosis - The Virus Speaks
The colossal tower stretches out its stone torso, reaching out to kiss something much more above the cerulean firmament or the cottony masses wandering in it. You smirk at the possibility of your failure in this contest, for you’ve always survived- an obdurate boulder unwilling to bow to the destructive forces of time, the elements, and your other living counterparts on earth. From the moment you rubbed two stones to light the torch signifying your ascent in the hierarchy of nature, you’d started to develop the necessary skills to ensure your existence.
You shudder in fear while climbing, for you notice the appearance of the silhouette of another, overshadowing yours. The mere prospect of an infinitesimal microbe snuffing out your prized torch with its fiendish gloom is enough to paralyze your senses. I’ve moved my first piece on the chessboard by toying with your nightmares of death and destruction, choking the breath out of your lungs. I’m your adversary, and I never wished to be so. Suspended in an incomprehensible state of nothingness, it was the call of Nature which brought me into this game of survival. Like every other player, I’ll place all my cards on the table to counter your vain attempts to stop me. Don’t you see how futile it is? Don’t you see the projections which I wear proudly like a crown… that you’re bound to bend the knee?
I’m a seed which seeks nourishment by latching onto you, parasitizing the necessary energy in your cells for all my biochemical activities. Shrouded in an innocent droplet in the air, I tiptoe into your nasal passage, a task which must be carried out with great secrecy, lest I alert the watchmen of your immune system. The camouflage and stealth I’ve used is enough to put your espionage operations to shame. You lose your footing during the climb- my first victory –for I’ve breached your cells, used them to create more of myself. Like an expectant mother, I watch with joy as my progeny multiply, breaking you down bit by bit.
All the scientific progress you have developed over the years yield to my prowess. You slip some more, and soon, you begin to fall. I’ve infected every sphere of your life, from your mighty population to your prosperous economies, which crumble like ephemeral sandcastles. However, I’m appalled by your arrogance! You seek relief from your climatic conditions- hoping to destroy me -the very climate which you’ve reduced to the state of a shriveled vegetable?
Unlike you, I evolve. I observe my surroundings, growing stronger as I work hard to develop myself. I grow accustomed to your attacks, mutating into something worse. I sense the raw fear concealed within you, but I must say, I’m impressed by how sedulous you’re. You’re learning too, just like me. We’re nothing but two rival students sitting on the same bench! I’ve restricted your freedoms, rendered you weak, insecure- unable to continue any of your regular activities or mannerisms -ripped families apart and placed them at opposite ends of the earth. Yet you’re back with better equipment to continue your climb. Nothing will stop you.
You begin by moulding the infrastructure in different areas. You transport yourself from the physical realm to the technological one, allowing the world to go online, so that the productivity you need doesn’t get compromised. But is that enough? Like an adroit colonizer, I’ve divided you. Racism is rampant around you, and it will continue to be so. Your sudden shift into the virtual world has left you vulnerable to the onslaught of my pawns- the hackers and online viruses.
Why do you refuse to look me in the eye? Because you know that I’m your well-wisher, and what kind of a friend would I be if I was not a mirror reflecting who you truly are? The guilt runs in your veins as you recall the atrocities you committed to deserve this purgatory, butchering everything belonging to Nature, in whose lap you were born. You realize that you’re a plague too, a virus infesting this planet.
I came as your contender, but I’ll stay as your teacher, the most important skill a foe can have. I’ll show you the sins you’ve committed, but also how to reverse them. It’s up to you whether you want to accept my gift. You’ll succeed in your climb, because, despite being a virus like me, you’re a living organism. You possess that which I can never have:
By - Gokul Nair Graphic by - Yastika Shetty