Living with asthma in Delhi

Kaushik Das Gupta, one of the participants in the CSE study, wonders if the government will ever announce a ‘clean air package’ for his misbehaving lungs

 
By Kaushik Das Gupta
Published: Sunday 07 June 2015

Kaushik Das Gupta, one of the participants in the CSE study, wonders if the government will ever announce a ‘clean air package’ for his misbehaving lungs

The past few years I have come to develop mixed feelings about the festive season that begins with Dussehra. I look forward to the season. But no sooner than it sets in, a part of me wishes it away. That part that resides in my thoracic cavity: for some reason, my lungs are a huge killjoy. When the entire city is engulfed in frenetic gaiety, these cussed organs sulk and go on strike.

A few days before Diwali this year, that familiar tightening around my chest was signal of tough days ahead. But so were festivities—for some time they were enough to keep negativity at bay. Not for long though. As Diwali approached, the lungs started issuing warning signals after a commute from my home in East Delhi to work in Tughlakabad Institutional Area—and back. They stood their ground with irritating obstinacy while I was demanding them to work more. I admit it was unbecoming of me.   

The protests began to take on a nasty turn during the Diwali Mela and the accompanying cracker burst, a few days before the actual festival. It seemed that the organs decided that they would work only so much at a time while I was asking them to work more. 

I couldn’t take such dereliction of responsibility. I responded by placing greater demands. I began to issue wheezing sirens to get the recalcitrant organs back to work. But it was of little avail. At times though, they would return to work. As if only to mock a boss engulfed in fatigue. They would be particularly ill-behaved at night.

During those days I felt how lovely it would be if the government were to announce a package for the striking lungs. They weren’t demanding much. Were they? Some nice clean air. And the government was anyway on a cleanliness drive. But then it was not a matter of the enthusiasts it had roped in extending their brooms skywards and cleaning the air. The air demanded abstinence. It demanded restraint. It wanted people to temper their festivities. My terribly misbehaving lungs demanded that too. 

Heavy demands.   

 

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