The Ball Is No Longer In Your Court

Edited By: Aneesha Chandra (UG 21)

As the need for odomos tubes has increased, the presence of smog (more smoke, very less fog) in the air has also rocketed. This smoke settled in my chest and I didn’t realize that I was playing a basketball tournament with infected lungs. As it turns out, six cups of tea a day wasn’t the solution —I wonder why. I knew for sure that I couldn’t breathe properly and that my chest was hurting, but  what I didn’t realize was that my condition was because of me getting pneumonia.

People from Mumbai complained about the ‘cold’ Delhi weather and how much cleaner it was in Mumbai, while the rest were drinking tea like it was water. With most of us coughing and trying to rub the burning sensation from our eyes away, it felt like the day had ended before the match had even taken place. The smog had rendered all of us with ill-health, tired bodies, and irritated demeanours. The entire ordeal got worse for one particular person from our team for she fell during the match— a dog ran onto the court during a game and she tripped over it, while the rest kept treating the animal like a hurdle and jumped over it to continue with the game. What made it worse? The university did not have a doctor in their infirmary and our matches kept getting delayed because other teams didn’t want to play in the smog, as if the smog was going to vanish in three hours. Though one ball was definitely in our court, the one made out of smoke and pollution definitely isn’t anymore.

With our lungs filled with smog and the AQI (Air Quality Index) extremely high, breathing was difficult. With an Air Quality Index higher than what is deemed to be hazardous, breathing was injurious to health because it was equivalent to smoking thirty-three cigarettes a day. In such conditions, imagine playing a sport that requires you to breathe deeper and faster than what makes you smoke thirty-three cigarettes a day. After a long day and tiring journey back, returning to Ashoka’s campus wasn’t much of a relief.. With more assignments welcoming us at the gate, the AQI of Ashoka (actually, all of Sonipat) made the entire situation worse multifolds. The smoke from  stubble burning, firecrackers, and traffic alike didn’t leave us alone even in the closed space of our rooms. The mess was clouded with a haze that made our eyes burn and we couldn't even eat in peace. Almost everyone was wearing a dust mask. I guess pneumonia and most of the players having coughing fits should not have been as a shock after all. 

Even after all of this, all’s well that ends well. Ignoring the fact that all of us ended up getting ill because of the smog, we won. The celebrations on campus heightened the second Ashoka declared a week long break due to the smog. Though I’ve been in my bed with medicines all around me, doing assignments, this break was a necessary one.