Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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The Mask

mask cartoon

Nothing shady about the title 🙂 . Nothing to hide 🙂

Am sure I reminded you of ‘The Mask’ and Jim Carrey 🙂

This post is all about how the ‘Mask’ has become one of the most important accessories  during the last 9 months.

My ‘Mask’ is now a constant companion from the moment I step out of the house.

Having struggled with frequent Sore throat problems and dust allergies followed by Antibiotics all these years, I wanted to check if  a Mask would help me stay away from these issues. I invariably end up with a Sore throat if I inhale any kind of dust .

Before I went ahead and bought a mask, I did some research on the internet on the varieties of masks that are available.

Long ago I had read about how an N95 mask can protect the wearer from viruses .

I also learnt the difference between a Respirator and a Surgical Mask.

A Respirator protects the wearer from the environment. Learnt that the N95 Mask is a Respirator.

A Surgical Mask protects the Environment from the wearer of the Mask, so that the wearer of the mask doesn’t transfer any unwanted viruses/bacteria to others.

Bought one N95 Mask that appeared simple , lightweight and comfortable to wear and not too expensive , on Amazon. There are several varieties that one can easily buy online.

Unfortunately I was unable to wear this beyond 5 minutes. Felt suffocated and it was too tight on my face.

simple respirator

The above image is a simple N95 Respirator that I tried.

With the bad experience of wearing an N95 mask , I wanted to try the surgical Mask . If a Surgical Mask can stop letting viruses go out while we breathe/talk then obviously it can stop viruses from getting in too 🙂 . With this conclusion I bought a few normal surgical masks. These are very light and so comfortable to wear. Hardly any suffocation. I liked wearing these even if it meant that I appeared like hospital staff who forgot to remove the mask after leaving the Hospital 🙂

mask.jpg

I now keep a bunch of these in the car seat back pocket.

I began using these when visiting public places like Supermarkets, farmers markets, Malls and Movie theatres . Initially I did feel a little awkward and tried covering my Masked face with my Dupatta/chunni.

A Dupatta/Chunni is like a long scarf worn over the shoulders.

Very soon I felt the Dupatta was restricting my head/facial movements. Stopped using the Dupatta and felt relieved and free. It is not my problem if people are uncomfortable looking at my masked face 🙂 🙂

There are times when I travel through dusty roads and in spite of sitting in a car I felt I should be using a Mask . All the vehicular pollution was making me depressed. I was sure that some of the polluted air was entering the car too. I didn’t want to take any risk of being exposed to any kind of dust.

Very soon I was wearing the Mask everyday on my way to work and back home even while seated in the car :).

I soon started noticing the benefits of wearing a Mask. I haven’t experienced a Sore Throat and Bronchitis issues ever since. It’s been 8 months since I started using a Mask.

I always carry a few Masks in my handbag too. These are disposable Masks which I discard every 2-3 days. Initially I was buying Masks in 10s from the local Pharmacy. Very soon I bought a big box of Disposable ones online and now I don’t have to worry about running out of them. They are very affordable and effective.

I wish more and more people begin using these Masks thereby protecting themselves and also  not transmitting viruses to the environment and those around us.

A lot of men and women in all the cities in India are using Handkerchiefs , Dupattas/ Chunnis to protect themselves from pollution. I sincerely wish that those to see me will be inspired to use these disposable masks  🙂


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Diwali and cancellation of my Official trip to Delhi.

Every festival in India is celebrated with gaiety . Diwali too is celebrated in all parts of India in different ways. 

Almost all the Hindus clean up their homes , all family members get involved in decorating the house with Rangoli , thoran and diyas . Most Hindus also perform puja to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening .

There was a time when I too would look forward to Diwali , I still do but now there is some nervousness.

It is due to the burning of firecrackers during Diwali. All the towns and cities turn  into gas chambers and the fog worsens the situation as the weather transitions from Rainy season to the Winter season . The environment turns toxic owning to the harmful chemicals used in the making of  these crackers. 

There is a rise in patients getting admitted to hospitals immediately after Diwali with complaints of respiratory issues. Small children and old are the most affected. In spite of the rise in pollution people do not realize the harm that we are causing to ourselves and the planet by burning crackers.  

Glad that in 2016 the Supreme Court had banned the burning of crackers in Delhi . But, how many heed to the order. Every day some of the News Channels display the pollution levels in the bigger towns and cities in the Country. This year it is learnt that Crackers are already illegally stocked up by the traders in spite of the ban . They will find numerous discreet ways to sell their wares.

I am allergic to dust and all kinds of smoke. I do my best to avoid such environments.This year Diwali is being celebrated on 19 Oct.  I had to cancel my Official trip to Delhi on 23 Oct  for this reason. I cannot take the risk of travelling during this time as the smog in Delhi is very severe and pollution reaches very dangerous levels. Emissions from vehicles, Thermal power plants around Delhi and crop stubble burning around Delhi are the reasons for the severe Smog in Delhi during this part of the year. Add to this all the toxic emissions from burning Fire crackers and you create a recipe for disaster. Delhi turns into the worst polluted city in the world.

Unfortunately , people do not understand and compete with friends and neighbors as to who burns the most crackers. It also pains that the supreme court ban is being  politicized and communal color added 😦

Looking forward to the day when Firecrackers are banned all over the country . High time the manufacturing of these crackers are banned. Hope to celebrate a noiseless , smokeless  and pollution free Diwali in the near future. 

 

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Happy Deepawali !!