“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” ― André Berthiaume
“Did you know our country may soon be the mask manufacturing hub of the world?” asked a friend.
“No!” I said, “But would it be possible to visit a factory?”
It was just a matter of hours before I was whisked to the village which housed the factory. The manager, wasn’t wearing a mask as he greeted me at the gate, “You may take your mask off!” he said pleasantly, since you are already wearing one underneath!”
“Wearing one underneath this COVID-19 one?” I asked confused.
“We are very good at recognizing masks!” said the manager smiling.
“Which is your best-selling mask?” I asked.
“This!” said the manager as he picked one from the top of a pile and passed it to me, “In fact it’s selling like hotcakes, and millions are buying it in our country. Put it on and look in the mirror!”
I put the mask on, and was amazed at the ease in which it slipped onto my face. I looked in the mirror, and saw concern and pity, mixed with sympathy, compassion and kindness with even a tear gathering in my left eye, “Whoa! Whoa!” I shouted, “What is this?”
“The mask everyone is wearing today when they talk of the poor migrant worker!”
I watched as the tear rolled down my cheek and another started from my right eye, “It’s so realistic!” I whispered.
“It made us a lot of profits!” said the manager beaming at me, “But, the masks that yield us the biggest returns are the ‘made to order’ ones that political leaders order from time to time!”
“Are they difficult to make?” I asked.
“Very!” said the genial manager, “You see what’s important about a mask, is, it should sit well on a face, and then say exactly the opposite of what the person wearing it thinks or feels! That takes much time and effort to make. In fact, a couple of days ago, I’m sure you must have watched, as one of our best masks was worn on TV! And our workers cheered as we watched the masked man’s masquerading mannerisms. It was so realistic! And although the masked man gave little or nothing to the people, yet millions clapped and applauded, thinking they were getting a windfall! He is very good with his masks!”
“Don’t you make coronavirus, COVID 19 masks?” I asked.
“What’s that?” asked the manager as he tore the mask from his face and I found myself staring at a scary bulldog face. I ran, then watched astonished, as all the workers automatically put on their masks, then looked at me being chased, sympathy and compassion fixed rigidly on their faces..!(Published on 18th May 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 21)