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How Covid changed the life of an ‘Aam Aadmi’

After a tough 2020 and hoping for a better 2021, we are all back to square one – the ravaging coronavirus in a stronger and deadlier avatar, the same old lockdowns, work for and from home, fear, uncertainty and again hoping that this too shall pass

Life has taken a 360-degree turn ever since Covid struck us. Now, everything revolves around the virus — yet again. Till Covid entered our lives, our mantra was to be positive always. But now ‘positive’ is the most dreaded word.

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The moment we open our eyes in the morning, the first thing we do is check our society WhatsApp group to see if there is any new case. Ever since the cases have been surging recklessly all over, a sense of fear has dawned — at least in our campus — and people do not go out unnecessarily — the only bright thing in an otherwise gloomy atmosphere.

Until Holi, the atmosphere was like — where is Covid? And people celebrated the festival of colours as if there is no tomorrow. And now the virus is doing tandav all over — and in multiple and stronger strains. Some people partied too early and celebrated victory over Covid, and just because of those foolish few, we all are suffering, locked inside our homes once again.

Just two weeks before Holi, we went home 2,000 kms away from Delhi. Things were much better then. There was a semblance of normalcy. We just needed to be patient. Had people waited another year to celebrate their favourite festival, maybe things wouldn’t have turned so bad.

We just can’t blame Holi. Just look at the gatherings at election rallies; as if Covid had bid adieu. But we are not allowed to speak or write on that. In a digital India, election campaigning could have been easily done virtually as the internet has reached Bharat (rural India) too. Some leaders even claimed that cases in their states were going down, making a fool of themselves and even the aam janata, who otherwise seem to know everything.

Religious gatherings made things worse. Don’t understand why we Indians become blind when it comes to religion. If we believe God is everywhere, why can’t we pray inside our four walls till things get back to normal?

Another topic of discussion has come into our lives: whether to take the vaccine jab or not, and if yes, which one to take — Covishield or Covaxin or wait for Sputnik? And ever since the government has announced that every adult is eligible to take the vaccine, the enthusiasm has only increased. As if we will all get our boondh of amrit. But folks, don’t forget you will still have to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour even after taking the vaccine. Else, even if you might be shielded a bit, you will be the carrier and infect people around who are yet to get be vaccinated.

A new trend that is emerging on social media is a selfie after taking the jab with the hasthag #vaccinated. Nice to see that people are taking it seriously. But in a hugely populated country like ours, it will take time and patience to vaccinate one and all. We tried twice but the crowd was scary. There have been instances of people getting infected at the vaccine centre itself, and we didn’t want to be among them. And seeing very old people standing in long queues, we felt that we can wait as they need it more than us.

Now that a lockdown is being imposed phase-wise all over India again, an atmosphere of panic is gradually sinking in. There are queues in grocery shops to buy essentials and stock up, lest we die of hunger. If there is less space in the kitchen, then our living room has become a mini-grocery shop with all sorts of food items stocked. The unwritten rule is leave the things as it is for the first 12 hours, then sanitise each and everything in case the virus dares to stay even after so many hours in May’s scorching heat.

Our hunger pangs have also increased in the lockdown, and we tend to have too many meals throughout the day — breakfast, brunch, lunch, early evening snack, mid-evening snack, dinner, midnight snack and more the better.

Having helpers at home was a normal thing during pre-Covid days but now we have to manage everything on our own, including brushing our cooking skills like last year. Good for us, at least some exercise after all the overeating we do throughout the day. But don’t forget to help the helpers who are dependent on us. We can all become mini-chefs and try our hands in our retirement days if the virus lets us live.

Fake forwards are doing the rounds all over social media yet again. Every second person starts giving advice on how to boost immunity, what to do and what not to do. And we the obedient people are tempted to follow them too often. Ayurveda is ruling again as home remedies to boost immunity are flying thick and fast — garlic, lemon, amla (Indian gooseberry), turmeric, ginger, chyawanprash and what not. At least in our home, we take them all as a regular ritual depending on availability.

Mask is another debatable point. Initially it was advised that only medical professionals need to wear masks. Then it became essential for all to wear masks. And now it’s safe only if we wear a double mask. The best part is we don’t have to apply make-up as the mask comes to our rescue. For some it has also become a fashion statement but don’t forget the safety factor.

Now it seems no family will be left untouched by Covid. Recently, my brother-in-law tested positive in Guwahati. A doctor friend of ours arranged a bed in a hospital. As we could not go, my mother-in-law called 108 for ambulance but it was not available, so she tried for private ones and they demanded Rs 5,000 to drop him to hospital and Rs 5,000 for PPE kit. This is just a single instance; there is black marketing all over. Guess in these uncertain times, some people are forgetting there is a law of karma. Karma is smiling, saying “As you sow, so shall you reap”. Fortunately my brother-in-law had mild symptoms and he remained in home isolation. By God’s grace, he is fit and fine now. Yes God’s grace is the only silver lining in the cloud in these uncertain times.

Even if it’s a conspiracy as many articles doing rounds say, till there is a supreme power above us, we should not lose hope and just keep our fingers crossed and pray that things will be back to normal like before — and not the new normal we are going through.

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