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  • Tarang Chhabra
  • July 29, 2015 01:16:52 PM

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A blog about personal views on few topics, small fictions, micro stories, poems, etc.

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Preliminary Covid Analysis

A snapshot of Indian situation pertaining to outbreak of pandemic Covid-19. Brief view of numbers of various states/ UTs.

It has been almost 5 months that our Country is dealing with this pandemic. However, offlate the growth in Covid positive cases have been significant, and sometimes looking at the numbers might be a bit too scary! Nevertheless, a known devil is always better than an unknown angel! So, I have tried to jot down few basic parameters that I have been keeping a tab on. The numbers used are based on the data available on https://www.covid19india.org/

Basic figures that are being tracked by multiple agencies include number of tests, confirmed covid positive cases, active cases, recovered cases, and fatalities.

Then, based on these numbers, other data which is being tracked include:

  • Confirmed Ratio (ratio of Covid positive confirmed cases out of total tests done)
  • Active Ratio(ratio of currently active cases out of total confirmed cases)
  • Recovery Rate (ratio of total recoveries against total confirmed cases)
  • Mortality Rate (ratio of fatalities against total confirmed cases)

So first let’s start with a basic view of these trackers.

1. Number of Tests: Growth in number of tests being done on a weekly basis in the country has consistently been more than 18% since April-2020. The growth in number of tests was much higher during the earlier days owing to less number of tests! However, in regards with growth in number of tests, July recorded minimal growth. For entire July growth in tests was about 18-19% on a weekly basis, which has already increased to about 22% in August! A comparative view of growth rate of few states/ UTs is provided below:
Graph 1
However, it is worth noting, that test growth rate of Pune, Chennai, Thane and Bangalore are also at 28%, 25%, 24% and 22% as on 08/08/2020.

2. Confirmed Cases: Confirmed cases in India have grown at a much higher rate. Minimum growth rate observed in past 16 weeks was 23% and that too in the week ended on 08/08/2020! Although, growth rate of confirmed cases has reduced to 23% from as high as 52% in second week of May, but it still is not a reason to rejoice given the fact that we are already sitting at a huge number of 21.57 lakh cases, which implies that even a meagre growth of 10% would mean more than 2 lakh new cases per week! Further, another reason for concern is that the growth rate in testing is still lower than growth rate of Confirmed cases. Crudely put, the Covid-19 virus is still outrunning our efforts to contain it!Minimum and maximum CAGRs witnessed by few states in last 4 weeks along with India’s CAGR are detailed below:
Graph 2
Sad thing to notice here is that, now the virus is spreading quite rapidly in non metro areas as well!

3. Confirmed Ratio: There is a dual significance of this ratio. First, lower ratio implies that number of tests being conducted are effectively capturing the actual outbreak in the region. Secondly, a decline in ratio over time signifies improvement either in restricting the outbreak or in accelerating the testing efforts.
The ratio has been continuously deteriorating for the Country. The ratio was at a minimum of almost 3.82% in May starting, which has now deteriorated to 8.95% as on 08/08/2020!

5 states with highest (worst) confirmed ratio as on August 08, 2020 vis-à-vis worst position witnessed by them is detailed below:
Graph 3
Except Puducherry and Karnataka, all these states/UTs have started witnessing decline in the ratio.

States which have managed to contain the confirmed ratio to upto 3% are Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkhim, Rajasthan, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, and Punjab! Out of these states, except Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim, all states have conducted more than 1 lakh tests!

States/ UTs which are already past their worst confirmed ratio as on 08.08.2020 are Maharashtra, Telangana, Delhi, Bihar, Ladakh, Gujarat, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Mizoram.

Among worst hit cities, a view of Confirmed ratio as on 08/08/2020 vis-à-vis their worst confirmed ratios since 18/07/2020 are detailed below:

Graph 4

4. Active Cases: In India, total active cases have been growing at an average growth rate of 26%, which has reduced to about 11% in last week ended 08.08.2020! Thankfully, growth rate of active cases has been negative for Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Meghalaya! Further, among the cities most infected by the virus, Mumbai, Thane and Chennai, all have witnessed negative growth rate in last three weeks! Worst (maximum) growth has been observed in the states of Andaman & Nicobar, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Bihar! Top 5 active states with highest cases are still Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Uttar Pradesh.

5. Active Ratio: This ratio depicts active cases as on date vis-à-vis cumulative confirmed cases till date. Personally, I feel, only significance of the ratio is to depict the level of outbreak as on date. Higher the ratio, it depicts that Covid outbreak in the state is quite recent, however, lower active ratio might be on account of high recovery ratio or high mortality ratio. States having Active ratio of more than 50% as on 08/08/2020 are Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Sikkim, and Mizoram depicting that the outbreak in these states is quite recent! Among these states, Andaman & Nicobar, Nagaland, and Jharkhand have among the highest growth rates in confirmed cases as detailed above.

6. Recovered Ratio: Total recovery ratio for the country has increased to 69%. Top-6 and Bottom-6 states/ UTs in this aspect are highlighted below:
Graph 5
Among the worst affected cities, Chennai’s Recovery ratio is most promising (after Delhi) as on date at 87%, followed by Mumbai (78%) and Thane (75%). Lower recovery ratio is almost in line with higher Active Ratio!

7. Mortality Ratio: World average of Mortality ratio due to Covid 19 stands at about 3.70%, which, for India is 2.02%. Highest mortality ratio for India was on May 05, 2020 at 3.43%. Significant decline in this ratio can be attributed to constant efforts of healthcare workers. Another significant reason could be outbreak of Covid-19 in non metro areas, where people are presumed to have better immunity as compared to people in metro cities. States having mortality ratio higher than country average are detailed below:
Graph 6
Mortality rates in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, which are among 5 most infected states along with Maharashtra and Delhi, are significantly lower at 1.80%, 1.65%, and 0.89% respectively. Mortality ratios have been continually declining on a weekly basis for past 7 weeks for the states of Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
On the contrary, mortality ratios have worsened in last 4 weeks for the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Tripura &Ladakh.

These are the basic numbers which are generally being used to track the outbreak of pandemic in the country. A trend which can be made out from this data can be summarized as:

  • The pandemic is now spreading to non metro centers as well.
  • Growth in Covid positive cases is still at a higher rate compared to growth in testing
  • States/ UTs of Andaman & Nicobar, followed by Mizoram, Nagaland, and Jharkhand urgently need to take drastic steps to deal with the worsening situation.
  • Delhi and Maharashtra’s numbers have improved when compared to its levels one month back, however when compared to other states, the numbers still look alarming.
  • Situation of states/UTs of Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Puducherry, Assam, Meghalaya &Sikkhim presently appears manageable, however, looking at the speed of outbreak in these states/UTs, lack of preventive measures can prove quite detrimental.
  • Although, numbers have increased significantly in states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, but these states have managed to keep a tab on other parameters.

There are still a large number of parameters, which when considered might give an entirely different view, since some of the assumptions in above analysis include an even outbreak in entire state. Further, based on the numbers/ ratios discussed above, it is still a bit difficult to do a predictive analysis, however, I will try to work on a predictive analysis in my next post.


The Animal Kingdom

Ever wondered what other living creatures are going through at this time?

While we were busy dealing with our trivial issues, somewhere few communities were brainstorming about sudden changes of their ecosystem! I was able to lay hands on few of the meeting agendas!

  1. The Canis Familiaris Dilemma: Dogs out there are worried that their chasing and barking might have scared the vehicles on road, which could have led vehicles to go in hiding! Now, since they are the superior species, they are trying to find ways to coexist with vehicles without scaring them.
  2. The Population Explosion: Poultry birds are now getting more and more worried about sudden increase in their population. Meeting has been called to explore birth control options in a timely manner so as to avoid implementation of any harsh policies such as physical distancing! One offspring policy to be rolled out on urgent basis!
  3. The Territorial Expansion: Streams and rivers which were earlier considered unfit for family outings are now looking over-tempting! Aquatic kingdom is trying to evaluate risks associated with opening of these new picnic spots and whether to reconsider long term habitation in these water bodies.
  4. Cease Fire Violations: The society of Home Lizards has called for an urgent meeting in their bunker due to sudden increase in attacks from Humans! Now it is to be decided whether they should turn offensive or consider relocation!
  5. The Restricted Menu: Cows who used to receive variety of food from local people are suddenly feeling abandoned and are finding it difficult to solely depend on grass and leaves on a daily basis! Debate is about if they should try approaching Human colonies and moo for food or satisfy themselves with newer varieties of leaves and grass which are now available!
  6. Weight Gain Problems: Horses, Elephants and Donkeys who were earlier enjoying the sudden relaxation in jobs have now called for a collective meeting to explore options for keeping a tab on their increasing weight due to lack of workout! Proposal is being drafted to be put up to Human employers for allowing them access to jogging tracks!
  7. Fear of Change: Availability of peaceful environment has resulted in splurge in number of singing reality shows even in cities! Tsunami of talent has disrupted the music industry. Motivational chirpings are now being planned for established singers like nightingales and cuckoos to help them deal with sudden reforms in the industry!
  8. Lack of Attention: Sudden absence of cameras and all the WOWing is driving zoo animals crazy! In present meeting they intend to finalize the draft of request to be put up to their meal providers for including atleast one photo along with each meal.
  9. Taste of Revenge: A ceremony was organized to posthumously honor the sacrifice of some of the Bats, who laid down their lives to take revenge from Humans who have been killing them for consumption purposes! A team is being set up to keep track of number of humans impacted worldwide!!

I will try to find out about more of such meetings. Stay tuned for more such updates!


The Brighter Side

Covid-19 has potential to trigger a tsunami of changes which might actually be a revolution in itself!

“Rivet” was a simple solution by Adolf Hitler for reducing weight of his ships to carry more men and ammunition during World War! Similarly, T-shirt was designed by “The Copper Underwear Company” targeting Bachelors, since inherent problem with shirts was ripping of buttons and stitching & sewing was considered work of fairer sex! These are just two examples of innovations done by us, to simplify our lives! I am sure there are numerous such examples!

T-shirts or rivets were designed to help just a few people and still had such a huge impact going forward! However, Covid-19 has impacted not just an organization, community or country, but entire world! Along with battling the virus, people around the globe are trying their best to function even when their entire social and professional ecosystems have gone for a toss! This pandemic has catalyzed innovation processes by organizations as well as individuals!

Some of these changes might be temporary; however few of them will change in entirety the way we have been living (not just working)! Although it’s difficult to make an exhaustive list of such changes, but few of them are mentioned below!

  1. Work from Home: It is one of the biggest changes which most of the organizations have adapted to! Although, WFH is not a new concept, but this maybe the first time that it has been implemented on such huge scale! Earlier, WFH was offered as one of the employee benefits by few organizations; however, lockdown has forced most of the organizations to offer WFH and that too for a considerable length of time! This lockdown period is practically an experiment or test run for organizations which were earlier hesitant in offering WFH! It might even prove economical for quite a lot of them! Presently, organizations spend a fortune in developing and maintaining a “comfortable” working space. If Work from Home doesn’t prove detrimental to organizations, then over a period of time, various infrastructure costs can be reduced significantly if not eliminated!
  2. Increased Automation: Although this change is yet to happen, but increased automation might be a reaction to this pandemic. Outbreak of Covid-19 has highlighted one key risk that most of the manufacturing units are exposed to! Although, industrialization set foot in India long back, but still there is a lot of human intervention in manufacturing processes! It’s well understood that the probability of occurrence of such lockdowns is low, but the impact is severe! Till now the trend was to automate bottlenecks in the process flow, however, this lockdown has highlighted a need for end to end automation and it has potential to trigger Industrial Revolution 2.0!
  3. Increased faith on Domestic Brands: Exports and imports all over the world have declined significantly. However, various domestic organizations have stepped forward to cater to various requirements of central and state governments. Be it development of ventilators, PPEs, or medicines, or extension of healthcare facilities; domestic companies have contributed in all possible ways. Along with showcasing of abilities of indigenous organizations; this pandemic has also built a significant amount of goodwill of local government and citizens for these organizations, which might prove useful in post Corona period.
  4. Lower Pollution: Delhi NCR has been suffering from air pollution since long. Average AQI which never came below 300 is now in double digits! Yamuna river is looking much cleaner these days! Similar trends can be observed all over the World! Undoubtedly, manufacturing units can’t shut their operations permanently, but isn’t it very much evident that maybe pollution control norms were not being complied in full spirit? Also, we can safely say that Mother Nature doesn’t always take decades to heal herself. Hence, if certain emission norms are strictly complied, we can witness significant decline in pollution levels even after industries resume operations.
  5. Hygiene Habits: The fear of corona has made a lot of people extra cautious towards their personal hygiene! People are washing their hands more frequently and diligently. All goods and supplies coming from outside are being cleaned and washed before using. People, who still have to go out, take a shower as soon as they return home! With time, if not all, most of these things will become a habit for lot of people which will indirectly help in reducing hygiene related health problems!
  6. Healthy Living: Since there is no cure for Covid-19, only thing which will help people in saving themselves is their immune system. As a result, people have increased intake of healthy food! Yes, there is a temporary restriction on going out, but more and more people are trying to establish a routine of workout even at Home! And who doesn’t know benefits of overall healthy lifestyle!
  7. Emotional Bonding: Before outbreak of this pandemic, the trend being followed was Social Bonding and Emotional Distancing, however now it has changed to Emotional Bonding and Social Distancing! With sudden abundance of time, number of voice and video calls has increased significantly; conversations among the family members have increased! Absence of domestic help, has brought all family members together as a team for completing daily household chores! Social media is now full with people sharing screenshots of their phones with multiple people in conference! People have rediscovered happiness in something they have ignored since long! I believe, maybe people will remember this happiness and will pay more attention to staying in touch!
  8. Hobbies: A sudden change in daily routine is capable of inflicting a lot of stress! And people are exploring various methods of dealing with such stress! Initially most of the people resorted to “Binge Watching” of some of their favorite shows or movies, but slowly they realized that sitting in front of a TV was not doing them any good and people started exploring other avenues to invest their time! A sudden splurge in views of Youtube videos teaching to play some instrument or various cookery blogs is proof of the same! Although it was boredom which forced people, but still, people finally are taking out time for hobbies they always wanted to pursue!
  9. Redefinition of Basic Necessity: As Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind” said, “One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it”. Basic necessities are like amoeba which, over the period of time, engulfs various luxuries! However, sudden imposition of lockdown has ripped out lot of such luxuries and made people realize what their actual basic necessities are! It’s not even a month and people are already pleasantly surprised by their Credit Card Bills! Obviously people love wining and dining, or shopping and parties, and these things will resume; but atleast for some time they will be looked upon as luxuries and not necessities!

As 21-90 rule states, it takes a commitment of 21 days for us to make a habit and 90 days to accept it as our lifestyle; so, let us see what sort of habits, lifestyles and innovations we emerge with as we overcome this Corona crisis!


War 2.0

The post is about a Banker's view of what challenges the country might face in near future and possible ways to start preparing for them!

“Survival of the fittest”

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do”

These quotes highlight the importance of physical, mental and emotional strength for individuals. But, the same applies, not just to individuals, but also to entire societies or nations as well. The same is quite evident right now, at a time when all the nations across the World are trying to survive Covid-19!

Today, every country is a War Zone, fighting its own war against the common enemy. During a war; everything counts, be it strength and capabilities of soldiers, their preparedness, or available resources. Our soldiers fighting against Covid-19 are doing a brilliant job, even though they didn’t get much time to prepare for it! Ask any of them and everyone will unanimously say, if they had sufficient warning or time to prepare, they could have performed even better!

This war also requires large amount of resources. Channelization of such resources along with a shutdown of entire country is more than sufficient to cause a significant blow to the economy, and this concern is clearly reflected in one of the tweets of US President where he said “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem”.  Although, as of now there is no end date to Corona crisis, but, whenever it is, we already have another war at hand! “A war to revive our economy! War 2.0!”

Soldiers of ongoing war are doctors, health workers, sanitary workers, law enforcement agencies, etc. Although, Bankers are also a part of “Essential Services” and it is imperative that Bankers ensure smooth delivery of financial products in these testing times, but we are still on the backstage right now. However, there is no doubt that Banks, Financial Institutions and Various Industries will have to move to front in forthcoming war!

Unlike the brave hearts busy in saving the Country right now, we bankers are comparatively lucky in two aspects. Firstly, we do know about the looming crisis. And secondly, Corona Crisis, has given us sufficient time to prepare. Most of the businesses are in shutdown mode, Exports and Imports have rock bottomed, and Individual spending has reduced to bare minimum resulting insignificant decline in financial activity throughout the country.

For War 2.0, we are at a stage where we need to ensure foolproof planning and optimization of resources! So, if we talk in terms of Risk Management, we already have identified the risk! Next step will be Risk Mitigation. Ofcourse we can’t mitigate all possible risks, but we can try to minimize the adversities! Finance Ministry, RBI, and all the Banks are already on the job. Various policy decisions such as moratorium of 3 months, deferment of interest payments, relaxation of working capital norms, etc are part of such risk minimization steps! Some of the Banks have even gone one step ahead and offered temporary credit lines to various businesses to help them absorb this financial setback!

Despite all the precautionary measures, our country’s growth rate will be significantly reduced. As per latest forecast by Fitch, the growth rate is estimated to fall back to 2%, i.e. the lowest in last 30 years! So, yes…we still have a big problem to solve!

All these policy decisions and financial products are just like Artillery firing, providing some cover to soldiers before the actual war begins! But then, the war is inevitable! So the next step should be to ensure that the soldiers of this economic war are at the best of their strength and capabilities and are well equipped when it begins! There can be multiple ways to ensure that!

Currently there is a sense of uncertainty among all the Corporates, hence this is the best time to collaborate with them and chalk out a rescue mission! It might be a good idea to discuss with Companies in various segments and Industries, and understand the support they seek from their Financial Partners! Ofcourse ‘Demand’ levels can’t be restored overnight, but minimization of bottlenecks can be ensured!

After policy development and Corporate Collaborations, third thing which might contribute significantly in preparations is skill development of employees! Almost all the banks as of now have their e-learning platforms in place and right now, and when the financial transactions are at all time low, Banks can focus on this aspect. Afterall we need each and every one of us to be well prepared, since, as quoted by Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, and that, we can’t afford!

Bankers have always been front runners in implementing various schemes launched by Government from time to time. And I am sure, entire Banking fraternity is geared up to help the nation sail through these tough times as well. Hence, at times like these, when we are already in Community Spread stage of Covid-19 transmission, we need to exercise maximum possible caution in order to ensure that Banking operations are not impacted/shutdown. This makes it all the more important for Banks to deploy their Business Continuity Plans and ensure optimum operations with minimum employees, so as to ensure maximum strength of employees at time when Banks will have to function on full throttle! Further, minimizing the daily movement of 15 lakh bank officials (if not more), will also help in improving effectiveness of lockdown!

To summarize, we are well aware of the brewing economic crisis that Country is going to face! I think we still have ample time to strategize, prepare and implement our action plans. And four things which might prove helpful to Banks in the same are:

  1. Policy level decisions along with development of new products.
  2. Active collaboration with Corporates
  3. Skill Development of Employees
  4. Implementation of BCP and Optimization of staff till the time, level of Banking transactions normalize.

Afterall, right now entire country is Banking on doctors, law enforcement agencies, and others; and then when the time comes, and country looks towards Banks, we need to stand strong and fight this War 2.0 for the nation!


The Journey

Travelling alone from Jabalpur to Rajkot, which is 28 hour ride by train, and that too when your ticket is under RAC (you only have half of the seat) definitely leaves you with a lot of time! And so, I was fully prepared to confront those 28 hours…I had a phone with two seasons of...

train-with-wagon_2

Travelling alone from Jabalpur to Rajkot, which is 28 hour ride by train, and that too when your ticket is under RAC (you only have half of the seat) definitely leaves you with a lot of time!

And so, I was fully prepared to confront those 28 hours…I had a phone with two seasons of Lost, 3 movies, more than 1000 unsolved Kakuro and Sudoku puzzles, a fully charged 13000 mAh power bank, a charger, and quite a lot of songs, and of course a book on Sociology, which I knew I might not even open! And of course I planned on spending some quality time on whatsapp as it’s been long since I had a chat with many of my friends!

As the train started rolling, I arranged my luggage and stretched my legs on the seat (thankfully my co-passenger was supposed to board after 4-5 hours! Combination of heavy breakfast and nice air conditioning can make you sleep in minutes! But the problem with side lower berth is that anyone and everyone seem to have a license to come and sit there on the corners! And then with continuous movement of train and these bums…I mean their bums, within no time, they are the ones in comfortable position and by that time the high of heavy breakfast and air conditioning gets lost somewhere between cramped legs and shouting kids!

It didn’t take much time to realize that chatting in moving train can be a pain due to fluctuation in network. Well I still had a lot to do…I watched 2-3 episodes of Lost, and a movie, had my lunch, listened to few songs, solved 4 kakuro puzzles until my phone started screaming for mercy! After putting my phone on charging, I realized that Rajkot was still more than 20 hours away! It was a relief to have a charging point on my seat and a power bank at my disposal. With this very thought started the train of thoughts! To think of it…so much has changed over a period of time…!

Back in my school days…summer and winter vacations were the time to travel and train travel used to imply a reservation in sleeper class! At times when ticket did not get confirmed, travelling in general class was the alternate…although troublesome, but with a little persuasion and negotiation with the TT (or TC) it was still manageable! And now, even when the summers are yet to reach their peak, the thought of travelling in Sleeper is somehow scary…and in winters it’s definitely not an option as that would mean packing a blanket! Further, the concept of watching a movie or browsing internet during train journey was alien at that time. The only modes of killing time were chatting with actual people, eating peanuts, reading chacha choudhary and nagraj and maybe playing on handy videogame till the pencil cells lasted. Offcourse using rechargeable pencil cells was also not an option as there were no charging points in train! Also, one of the most important parts of pacing used to be selection of cassettes for Walkman! Now I don’t see nobody reading those comics or I don’t hear those monophonic sounds of clearing a stage! So much has changed!

But then, the kids still love jumping from one seat to another, and climbing to top berth is still a mission worth accomplishing for them. Still there are parents who give their piece of mind to those kids when they lose their peace of mind trying to keep a tab on movement of those kids! 😀  The wailing of these kids still resonates with the crying infants. Still there are people persuading and negotiating with TT for seats and ofcourse, I do have childhood memories of people first sitting at the corner and then slowly getting comfortable on my seat! People still get down at stations and bring back samosas and bread pakodas! And you can always find people standing near the door feeling the speed of train! So much is still the same!

Maybe things are still the same and it’s me who has changed with the journey of time and it’s this relative change which triggered this whole train of thoughts…or maybe it was just me getting bored!

Anyways! What matters is these thoughts have helped me kill three more hours and now it’s time for dinner and then I can continue watching Lost and playing kakuro! 😀


Heads / Tails

Outside his apartment. Clueless and lost he stared into the sky for some answers. Life felt like a vicious circle!? Noraiz stuck the lonely face and breeze dried away his tears. Everything seemed to fall in place. All it took was… All it took was…A fresh epiphany, a deep breath and a click of trigger....

Outside his apartment. Clueless and lost he stared into the sky for some answers. Life felt like a vicious circle!?

Noraiz stuck the lonely face and breeze dried away his tears. Everything seemed to fall in place.

All it took was…

122

All it took was…A fresh epiphany, a deep breath and a click of trigger.

Finally, ending his own path, his own life

A deep breath, click of a button and his only companion roared to life.

Once again, ready to travel his own path, his own life

 


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