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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 674-675

N95 traverse and travails

Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Submission29-Sep-2020
Date of Decision14-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance14-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Ajith Cherian
Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 011, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_303_20

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How to cite this article:
Cherian A. N95 traverse and travails. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:674-5

How to cite this URL:
Cherian A. N95 traverse and travails. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 23];3:674-5. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2020/3/4/674/304976

As the saying goes, “A bad liver to a Frenchman is what a nervous breakdown is to an American, is what an irritable bowel syndrome is to an Indian.” Everyone wants to talk about it and derive a peculiar ennui going through the entrails of the disease. Similarly, conscience finds it impossible to shake off COVID, and babies now utter corona before “amma.” I am supposed to wear an N95 mask, or so I am told. If I do not, they can take legal action against me, even while rapists, psychopaths, and ecstasy smugglers roam free. Hence, I give in. However, where do I get the N95 mask from?

I go to the nearby pharmacy. The attendant tries to sell me a mask saying that it is the last piece in his shop, and the next consignment will not arrive in the near future. His attitude and the price he quoted made me think – was he into selling apartments before this? The one that he tried to pass off as an N95 reminded me of something from fashion TV-like a sagitally split half portion of lingerie.

Then, someone told me that medical representatives may have N95 masks and may give me one. I called a medical rep known to me and asked him for an N95 mask. He said, “Sure, shall deliver,” and since then, his cell phone has been perpetually in, “The customer you are calling is either switched off or not responding at the moment,” mode. I am left wondering – did I ask for a mask or his kidney?

To a query on the availability of N95, someone in the WhatsApp group posted that there is this “X” guy in a “Y” store who sells “A” -rated masks, I mean, the best quality masks. Off I go with a full tank of petrol [Figure 1], lest I have to rob a bank to fill it again, little knowing that such WhatsApp advisors are like the eunuchs in the harem who know all about the technique, but with little practical knowhow. Now, this “Y” store is situated in the sleazy area of town, reminding me of the gully areas of some metro city where “Dying is easy, but parking is impossible.” When I ask for a mask, I am shown all sorts – the green mask of Jim Carrey fame, the Spiderman mask in blue and red, the Halloween mask, the Dracula mask, the mask of Zorro, the poker face mask (if one exists) – except the one I came for. I mention N95 and they look at me as if I have uttered something unholy in a sacrosanct place. Quickly I realize that day is turning to dusk, and if I do not quickly quit, I might turn to dust with none noticing.
Figure 1: N95 traverse and travails

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Like a brave new bride who went into the in-laws' world and eventually returned to the old homestead carrying a bundle of worries, I returned sans the mask. As I idle after my days labor and scroll through my messages, I find teenagers complaining about their current unimpressive selfies and that they cannot swagger about their new lipstick color or lip gloss. In the pediatric oncology ward, children have been wearing masks since the time of Adam and Eve. However, I have never heard them complain about the mask being a nuisance or undermining their snapshots. Often, I could hear their sweet giggles and occasional sobs rendered behind those veils. It is all in one's clairvoyance, I presume.

Hence, my traverse for the N95 still continues, and until then, I make up with its step cousin, the N59.


Image Courtesy: Dr R. M. Aswin, Senior Resident, Department of Cardiology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, is acknowledged.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


  [Figure 1]


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