As Zombieland: Double Tap releases, here’s a guide on how to survive the zombie apocalypse in India
When a zombie apocalypse comes calling, here are a few things to keep in mind that could help you get through a life-and-undeath situation
A decade after the original, Zombieland: Double Tap has opened in cinemas worldwide. And it’s as good a time as any to wonder how long any of us would survive if there was ever an outbreak of the undead in India. While zombie pop-mythology does offer a wealth of survival tips, most films and TV shows only explore how the Americans would fare during a zombie apocalypse. Let's be honest: they would obliterate the Z threat by simply screaming, if not 'exercising', their Second Amendment rights. But the rest of us, who don't believe we have some God-given natural right to bear arms, will find it a little harder to thrive in this apocalyptic scenario.
Of course, we as Indians usually prefer to ignore our problems and hope they go away. But this particular panacea, which worked oh-so-well as we dealt with our politicians, poverty and potholes, won't be as effective when the zombies come a-rising.
So, here’s a nifty little guide on how to survive in Zombiestan. No, that Chhota Bheem episode you saw with your nephew did not cover everything. And don't laugh it off or give me the cold shoulder. In zombie vernacular, a cold shoulder is what Papa Z calls the appetiser in his full course meal. Here are a few things to keep in mind that could help you get through a life-and-undeath situation.
#1 Cities are death-traps
Today's living are tomorrow's undead — and cities with their higher population density would translate into more undead than you could possibly handle. Imagine changing trains from the Western to Central lines at Dadar as the zombie uprising kicks off. And if Brad Pitt thought navigating traffic in Philadelphia was a harrowing experience in World War Z, try being stuck at Bengaluru's Silk Board junction during rush-hour, and add zombies to the equation. So, in the event of a zombie uprising, the sooner you leave the cities and farther you are from civilisation, the better your chances of survival. This is a no-brainer.
#2 Fortify your homes
If you're staying put in the city for whatever reason, make sure to turn your home into an impenetrable fortress. Invest in some reinforced steel doors, bar locks and barbed wire. Zombies tend to gather outside windows and often smash through them when you least expect it. Don't be a victim of a jump scare, however well-executed it may be. So, your hideout must have no exposed windows at ground level. If they do, board them up with iron bars and cover them with blackout curtains. Living in a high-rise apartment is a good zombie-evading strategy and also gives you a great view of the surrounding area.
#3 It's a mall, not a makeshift home
Zombies don't care if you're from SoBo or Govandi, or if you hide out at High Street Phoenix or Eternity Mall. In the end, a meal's a meal. Regardless of what Dawn of the Dead will have you believe, you cannot hole up in a shopping mall and wait for civilisation to reboot itself. All the city-dwellers will be thronging to malls and supermarkets. All it takes for hell to break loose is one breach and one bite. So, just pick up the supplies you need and scoot.
#4 Stockpile food and water
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, Indian civilisation would have collapsed to such an extent that the government won't care if you have linked your Aadhaar to your PAN Card or not. After all, there are no bills to pay or taxes to file on account of no job or income. Silver lining, eh?
But we still need plenty of resources: food, water, medication, hygiene and utility supplies among others. Rely on non-perishable foods like canned goods, dehydrated foods, dried fruits and nuts. Stock up on Maggi and the whole MTR Ready to Eat range your mum secretly packs into your bag before a long overseas trip.
Finding a steady supply of fresh water resources may be next to impossible in India. So, you might need some water purification tablets. We all have that one cousin who works in some software firm in California. Hit him/her up for these.
Also, make sure you have a backup bug-out bag in case you need to abruptly abandon ship and escape. There are zombie survival kits available on Amazon which may come in handy.
#5 There’s strength in numbers
Your odds of survival increase when you team up with other survivors. But choose your friends carefully. You need fit, smart, resourceful ones who are ready to play the hero so you don't have to. Don't let people who are a little too slow tag along for too long. At best, they could be used as a lure to whet the zombie's appetite as you escape; at worst, they will slow you and your team down, and get you all killed as the zombie feasts all-you-can-eat-buffet style. These are truly un-PC times we are living in and Darwin did mention something about "the survival of the fittest," didn't he?
If we want to improve our odds of surviving, we must learn to be more self-reliant. This means learning how to grow our own food, and foraging for supplies when we eventually run out of commercial goods. We may be better equipped to deal with power outages than most (Thank you, BESCOM) but we still need to figure out ways to generate power. We must learn to install solar panels or wind turbines for whatever little electricity we need to survive — be it for the lights to spot zombies at night or the microwave to cook that ready-to-eat aloo mutter nearing expiry.
#7 Improvised weapons
The zombie apocalypse perhaps offers the only circumstance where the American Second Amendment becomes a luxury, rather than a societal menace. But Indians will have to make do without the services of a gun that fires a couple thousand rounds per minute. So, we'll have to improve our close combat skills with melee options like kitchen knives, axes, spears and machetes. Archery would make for a great skill too but don't let the zombies get too close or they'll be soon feeding on your bone and marrow. One common Indian household item which could also come in handy is the cricket bat. Channel your inner Dhoni and smash 'em zombie brains — and bowl as many beamers to their heads as you like. Of course, if you do find yourself a gun, conserve the ammo and use them only when you're in grave danger.
#8 Ditch the dupatta
No one expects you to look good when you're fleeing from a horde of zombies. Prioritise comfort and practicality over fashion. The zombie apocalypse is no time to be wearing saris, skirts or stilettos. Unless you're wearing that dupatta as a safety scarf or it's in your bag as a potential tourniquet, drop them too. Men, the days of walking around bare-chested in lungis are behind you. Wear a simple T-shirt, stealthy footwear, and maybe a heavy-duty jacket and pants, which provide protection without compromising movement.
#9 Avoid autos and two-wheelers
If the zombies have risen, it must surely mean we have screwed the environment to an unsalvageable degree. So, this is no time to be driving REVAs or e2os. If you don't already own the biggest, meanest looking SUV or pickup truck, you might have to steal one. I don't think anyone will leave the keys in the ignition or under the visor for your convenience, so you might need to learn how to hot-wire a car. Not just two-wheelers, autos are not a zombie-proof mode of transport either. They are a little too loud and the open sides leave you vulnerable.
#10 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Apocalypses often bring out the worst of humanity. So, expect some grade-A a**holes to take advantage of the new world order. Whether it is a cunning businessman, a dishonourably discharged army commander, a politician with autocratic ambitions, or a fringe group looking to save the cows, expect them all to make their menacing presence felt. You will soon realise your fellow humans, not zombies, may be the real threat.
#11 Move to Goa: You could gather enough supplies and buy yourself a boat, a luxury yacht or a cruise ship in Goa, depending on your financial means. Zombies are not known to swim and you could wait out the apocalypse in relative calm and style.
#12 The Apocalypse workout: You might need to cut down on your vada sambar, butter chicken and samosas and replace them with healthier options. The daily walk from your workplace to the Metro station cannot be considered a fitness workout routine. You need to train for speed, strength, and endurance to improve your overall fitness. Most importantly, you should be able to handle short sprints and long runs without ever succumbing to exhaustion.
#13 Reconsider vegetarianism: In a world where cannibals have taken over civilisation, you can't be finicky over what you eat.
#14 Don’t believe your grandma or mum: Haldi, coconut oil, Vicks or Dettol sanitiser cannot cure the zombies.
#15 Beware of the aunty who will hide her bite wound, and pretend like everything is fine.
#16 Once your loved ones turn into brain munchers, they are no longer human. Even if it is your nearest and dearest, do not shy away from what needs to be done — and don't feel guilty about it after. This is not Baghban.
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