Not even once did we cross the ‘laxmam rekha, remained confined within the four walls of our home during the first two months of the lockdown. All the items of daily use, including medicines and groceries, were ordered and delivered at our door step, quarantined at the designated corner before being put to use.
At a time when the positive cases were minimal, threat perception was at its maximum. There was so much fear of the lurking danger that even after outside movement was permitted for limited hours, there was a sort of inertia, hesitation to step out of the house. We had to muster courage even for going out to the neighbourhood park for a walk. A hurried round in the park and we would rush home before the hooter. Oh! The sound of hooter gave me an eerie feeling, brought back memories of December of 1971 at Jalandhar when dreaded sirens would blow at any time during the day and night. A shiver would go down my spine every time a siren sounded alert of a possible aerial attack. The same fear and anxiety, but enemy is invisible this time.
Considering the seriousness of the situation, we, a retired couple in early 60s has been following the guidelines strictly, taking all the precautions. Now there is hardly any restriction, yet our outing, by and large, remains limited to the nearby park for a walk. Despite the pandemic fatigue setting in, we have been adhering to no travelling, no socializing, no eating out regime.
We have remained confined to our home during the entire period, but for one indulgence, a guilt outing. It was a wedding in close friend circle that my husband and I attended in the month of August after seeking consent from our children. Yes consent, you read it correctly. A case of role reversal! In these unprecedented corona times children are the ones taking call on the movement of their parents.
It was a weird feeling getting dressed in a formal sari, adorning jewelley and wearing make-up after months. I was all decked up; however, the final accessory was the mask without which I could not step out. We had an inexplicable feeling entering the hotel, the venue for the party. Temperature checked, hands sanitized, Aarogya setu app downloaded, names tallied from the guest list, we stepped into the hall of a five star hotel. Oh my God! So many formalities, as if we were at an airport boarding an international flight! Even inside the hall, the scenario was so different from the usual wedding scene, just a handful of guests.No customary hugging, just a distant ‘namaste,’ rightly so under the circumstances. The most conspicuous were the designer customized masks matching with the dresses of beautiful damsels.
Well, that was the first and the last social gathering we attended in the past nine months of the pandemic, that too with restraint. Let us hope and pray for the early launch of vaccine. It is only in a world free of Covid that we will be able to indulge in festivity with gay abandon. Till then, it is better to exercise restraint and take precautions.
(Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on 26 December 2020)