She does it again. And it opens again. Director Operations Punjab Food Authority seals one of the most popular and expensive eating hubs for violation of food safety standards, selling death and disease.

This reminds me of folklore from ancient pages: Hydra was a water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. The serpentine lived in the lake of Lerna. In the Hydra myth, the monster is killed by the hero Heracles by sword and fire. Hydra, as the myth goes, possessed many heads. It had regeneration feature. For every head chopped off, the hydra would regrow one or multiple heads. The hydra had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly. As poetic justice, the monster died. And the subjects lived happily ever after.

The story ends.

Did the giant really die and people lived happily ever after? I have always stood in disagreement with this happy ending…the myth lied that the giant was dead; he in fact changed into a different form and disguised himself into a new role and robe. The inferno not only multiplied itself in multiple-folds, it has since been living happily ever after, gnawing incessantly into the flesh and blood of the people noiselessly and stealthily.

That particular tale tells us only about one hydra that devastated the world of yore and terrorized it generations after generations. To me, the folk is introvert in description and lacked in vision and its futuristic approach; it neither warned the readers about the regeneration and resurrection of the monster nor told them how to combat and kill it.

Our world has countless of hydras playing havoc with the lives and health of the people. In reality, the serpentines that live today vomit deadlier poison and fire than the one that lived in the mythologies many centuries ago. They say, ‘The king is dead, long live the crown’. Up here, ‘the Hydra-head is dead, long live the monster’.

Compelled by conscience and stubbornness, the lady Director Operations PFA continues raiding these lakes of Lerna – the dwelling places of these monsters - to little or no effect. Brandishing her rusty sword aloft, the lady drudgingly swoops down and only succeeds in wedging and pegging the shadow of the demon.

The famous food-chain restaurant (Liberty Market Lahore) that PFA team raided the other day was locked down for feasting the customers with stinking, stale and sordid stuff. The place reportedly smacked of filth all over – the kitchen, refrigerators, food stocks - literally everything. Going to this particular restaurant’s branch perched atop Margalla Hills Islamabad is reckoned as a status symbol. Despite being expensive, eaters swarm the place every single evening as a ritual. Metaphorically speaking, visit during the peak hours makes one wait for centuries. Is this the wait for disease and death?

Never mind, this is not the first time that a famous food point, restaurant or a hotel has been raided and sealed by the lady officer. The violations and seals have been running parallel. Previously five star hotels, elite clubs and famous, local as well as foreign, food chains were latched up by the same director. But to what impact! The sealing formula did not work and is not working. Every time a food point is closed down, it reopens the next morning. The harmless warnings are ignored and innocuous penalties and fines happily paid. The monster becomes mockingly more vicious and poisonous.

Food safety standards need full protection of law. These are to be made more stringent. Penalties should be heavy and duration of seals long and then permanent. The imprisonment must stretch over many years. The courts, which grant instant reliefs in the form of stays to these food points, hotels, restaurants, will have to re-think before any allowances are granted to these businessmen. Neither the government nor the courts must show any mercy on these blatant bounty hunters who are relentlessly skinning off and plundering the people simultaneously. Least likely these fiends will ever lessen the volume of their unkindness.

A lot said, all laws and legislations would fall flat if not proactively and revengefully supported by the end users and victims - the people.

The society will have to wake up, show its strength of character and rise to the occasion. Their active role is crucial in salvaging the situation. Right now, the society looks disfigured and distorted – caricatured to the core. People stand dormant, dumb and duffer. They keep a deep criminal silence for which they will have to pay dearly. They are the real culprits who knowingly let everything happen to them. They are careless and carefree in their reaction to this sugar-coated poison being stuffed down into their stomachs. They need to stamp their foot down and stop going to all sealed and fined places to register their wrath and thus finish off the monster once and for all…to brace for the next monster….