Published: September 26, 2011

People in Lahore are dying, the government is being accused of spraying ineffective and adulterated insecticides, a shortage of platelet kits had put more lives at stake - dengue fever is at large. PHOTO: REUTERS

When I hear of people parting ways with their mental well-being in Lahore, I can relate with their despondency. When I hear of superstition defining remedial measures, I understand the urgency for a cure. The appearance of only three mosquito bites on my arm made me visit the darkest chambers of my mind.

I was sitting in the office, my eyes transfixed on the screen before me, when my ears picked up a familiar tune and I reached out for my cell phone vibrating in the corner. A very short conversation it was; all I remember was discussing the screening of upcoming movies at Atrium Cinema when something red flashed before my eyes, my bangles parted to display a tiny sore bulge on the skin. A mosquito bite I told myself before I spotted another two on my wrist.

Under normal circumstances someone would have just jingled the bangles on their arm and carried on with a laugh, however, this time, with news of a rising epidemic, things were a bit different. People in Lahore were dying I reminded myself, the government was being accused of spraying ineffective and adulterated insecticides, a shortage of platelet kits had put more lives at stake, schools were being closed down and I was fretting over three mosquito bites.

I constantly see people being extremely careful whenever they spot any kind of flying insect, in any other scenario it would have been hilarious to see someone constantly raising their hand to push away invisible insects hovering above them. But considering the current times, I completely understand their frame of mind. Now whenever I read a headline in the papers saying “Dengue claims another nine lives”, I’ll know the agony of the person lying in bed praying he had decided to stay home that evening.

The next time someone ridicules people panicking and stopping cars in the middle of the road on the presumption that they had spotted a mosquito, beware because that person might just end up being you.

Dilaira Dubash

Dilaira Dubash

The author is the Commissioning Editor at the Express Tribune with a penchant for food writing. She tweets @DilairaM twitter.com/dilairam

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • umar

    Was that a public service message?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Use ‘On’ or ‘Off’ or ‘Mospel’, they all work. Prevention is better than cure.
    Agree, all the reporting in the media does make one a bit paranoid. Recommend

  • Fah

    and the point was??Recommend

  • Amer


  • Arshad

    So What…?Recommend

  • Mustafa

    actually, the comments by Umar, Fah and Amer neatly sum up the general attitude of Pakistanis, ‘I could care less, until its my turn…’. Can we please start thinking of others for a change? We are Muslims, we should feel pain for our brothers and sisters who have died or are suffering. Pakistani people need a serious shift away from the dog-eats-dog mentality to actually starting to put others before themselves.Recommend

  • Obaid

    Thank you Mustafa for pointing that out. Unfortunately we have become a coutry where all that anyone can ever think of doing is criticisizing others.

    Arshad, Amer, Fah, Umer: If you don’t like something just move on instead of commenting on it trying to bring people down. Unless ofcourse you have something constructive to say.Recommend


    Madam ……we should try our level best to save the rest as well, In our small town all people are going for HOMEOPATHIC medicines for prophylaxis and treatment and it is working effectively. so please all PRACTICING HOMEOPATHS come forward and play YOUR role very effectively and help people from all communities……………
    This is NOT the time to go for this that, is homeopathic good or bad? ……..we should go for the prophylaxis and treatment where available.Recommend

  • Nadia Jameel

    In a democratic system, there is an elected representative of the party in power that runs the health department as the minister in charge. However, under the present dispensation the CM has not assigned any member of his party to look after a department of this importance and has preferred to run it through administrative secretaries. The fact that no consistent political oversight was available to take charge in the initial stages might have contributed to the spread of this epidemic in such a rapid fashion. The CM, after all, has a lot on his plate and can only do so much at any one time. Even though the Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab cannot be directly blamed for this epidemic but as the chief executive as well as the minister of health, he must accept ultimate responsibility for the present state of affairs. And the excuse that all this is unexpected is not true.Recommend