As a pandemic sweeps across the world, India has ordered a 21 day lockdown (March 25 – April 14).
Update: lockdown extended to May 3rd
2nd Update: lockdown extended to May 17th
3rd Update: lockdown extended to May 31st
Nearly all businesses are shut down except for those providing essential services like food and gas delivery. Poor and those directly affected by the shut down will receive 3 months of basic food packages, cooking gas, and direct cash transfers. Although, I would not be surprised to find out many poor households are not setup to receive direct cash transfers; even the middle class are distrustful of banks and prefer to keep their savings at home.
Anyone venturing outside during lockdown faces arrests and, according to social media, beatings by the police. There’s even stories going around WhatsApp of medical personnel being harassed by police on their way to the hospitals before they are able to get their travel passes out.
Medical personnel are generally supported by the populace. On April 5th, we all turned on lights and clapped and cheered for them. Unfortunately, some rumors started spreading that the vibrations of the clapping kills the virus…
Personally, I am having a great time. Our work schedule has us work all night and sleep most of the day. If anyone’s talked to me in the past two years, you know that India is hella loud. But my struggles to sleep are largely resolved under lockdown. No more construction noises! No more school bus honking for kids to come outside! No more guests showing up unannounced!
Plus there’s a whole lot more chefs in the kitchen now. Aman has decided to perfect his chicken recipes. His dad is making barfi (sweets) every week. And even Karan has found out he can make himself a chocolate cake anytime he wants. I am definitely benefiting too much from all these kitchen adventures.
When I take Zinni for walks around the neighborhood, not only do I not have to worry about neighbors staring, talking to, or following me – I also see way more birds, chipmunks, and even the occasional cow out and about than I use to.
My friends in the US are starting to go a little stir-crazy, so they are reaching out more to chat and do video calls. The inevitable dropoff in conversation (out of sight, out of mind) had happened long ago, leaving me in the awkward position of having to request interpersonal communication – something I do not excel at.
At work, we had worried that we would see a severe drop; however, we are a bit overwhelmed. Plenty of small, local businesses that had never had much need for a website are suddenly switching to selling online or needing to update hours and policies they haven’t touched in years. We’ve created a small package deal to get websites up and running as quickly as possible. The way we buy and sell has been shifting towards the internet for decades, but those behind the curve are scrambling to catch up now.
Between my work schedule, lack of communication (both locally and internationally), and staying inside because it’s dark when I’m awake, I feel like I’ve been in quarantine for years and everyone else is just now catching up with me.