Today, for various not particularly interesting reasons, I went out to do a little shopping. This was the first time I’ve been “properly” out to the shops since the week before lockdown.
That’s mid March, folks.
I’ve been to my local market a couple of times, but otherwise the staff dash out & do the daily veggie shopping, and everything else has been ordered online for months now.
It’s been dull but safe. And Mr. Bezos must be laughing all the way to the bank.
But, as I said, today we ventured out. Properly out.
First stop – FIRST STOP – in 8 months was….???
A bookshop, obviously.
We both wanted books that were not available on Amazon, so Himmat suggested we try the real world for once.
He got his books. (Sadly mine were not available there either).
We bought a few bits and bobs from the food shop opposite the bookshop and that’s when it started.
The lack of social distancing.
People doing that INFURIATING Indian thing of blithely pushing to the head of whatever queue there is and shouting out their order.
The man behind me was doing that other very Indian thing of pushing ever closer to the person in front – that would be me.
And as most people were wearing their masks at half mast, or as chinstraps, I realised I felt uneasy, so stepped out of the queue.
And THAT is the unexpected Coronavirus side effect.
I discovered that I was borderline scared to be amongst people.
And I don’t like that feeling.
Not one little bit.
The old me would’ve challenged the pushers-in and the getting-too-close brigade.
Today I simply stepped away.
I did not want to have to deal with it.
I did not want to have to speak with strangers.
Then we went to INA market.
It was awful.
We didn’t go into the market proper, just shopped for dry fruit on the outermost lane, but there were crowds, there was NO social distancing whatsoever, there was no one-way system – and there was way too much chin-strapping.
So I left.
Yet again, I do not like the new me.
Suddenly I can understand how people lose their confidence, and their ability to be amongst people – things I’ve never even thought about before, to be honest.
On a scale of Coronavirus side-effects, I realise this is paltry, truly I do.
But being scared like this is insidious and worrying.
What are we all going to be like whenever we emerge from the other side of his awful virus?
Perhaps I over-reacted today, but this is a city with scarily rising infection rates. With pollution so vile I feel nauseous all day long. Our health is under siege, there’s no other way of putting it.
Stay safe, friends.
And for Indian friends – please don’t venture into the crowded Diwali markets.
I took a risk today, and it definitely wasn’t worth it.