I ended up writing quite a lengthy post and thus, thought of breaking to into parts. All the parts were written on the same day.
Social Distancing Day 50
May 3, 2020
I am in the 8th week of staying at home. While lockdown in India began on March 24 (and had been extended twice since then), my office asked us to start working from home from March 16 onwards. The last time I saw the world outside was back on the evening of March 14. It was a Saturday.
Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.
When there was fear but…
I crossed the Laxman Rekha of my home twice in April to go and buy some groceries. On a Sunday, I went to buy milk and bread. I went on my scooty. Riding a scooty has always meant so much to me, but that day, it was an altogether different experience. Roads were empty inside the society. All the dust from the construction work was still there. It was all quiet.
At the Mother Dairy, there were three people, including me. Everyone was wearing masks. We stood at a distance from each other. I made sure that I was carrying all types of notes and coins so that I won’t have to take anything back from bhaiya. While buying bread and some biscuits, one aunty tried to invade my personal space. She may have been in a hurry so I just stepped back and let her buy first. I wanted to take no virus back home.
Three days later, I went to buy veggies and fruits, along with milk. The scene was the same at the milk booth. But at the veggies store, it was all different. After parking my scooty, I started hunting for a basket outside the shop. Then I realised, people were standing in a queue. I waited and waited for my turn.
Finally, the bhaiya on the counter asked me to come inside and take a basket. He sprayed a few drops of sanitiser from a bottle on my hand. I didn’t feel that it was enough to sanitise my hands. But I felt shy to ask for more as sanitisers have disappeared from around the world. He handed over the basket to me. I don’t know when it was used last or if it was sanitised.
Once inside, I realised there were 4 people already picking up stuff that was kept outside the shop. So I started picking up things from inside the shop. By the time I was done, there were so many people at the entrance and outside the shop, that I just did not know how to go outside to pick up potatoes, onions and tomatoes while maintaining social distance.
Those who were behind me and were done picking up stuff, so they started to invade my space. I decided to run and make it outside as soon as possible, hoping that I would not become a victim of the virus. After the billing, I somehow managed to load the huge packets on my scooty and return back home.
I need to see a doctor. No, it is not corona
But what is it? I have been coughing since the beginning of March. No, it is not corona. I have a minor dust allergy.
In the past six years, there has been no Holi, when I have not been suffering or recovering from viral fever. This year, it was no different. But me coughing throughout the day at office back in the first week of March made people stare at me with questioning eyes. I even decided to take work from home for a couple of days in hopes that I would get better.
After about five weeks of social distancing, I was not getting rid of the cough. In fact, it got worse. I was so fed up of it that I decided to call my cousin, who is a doctor, to make me “first class”. I had no symptoms that could point out that this is corona. My question was, if I have stayed at home for over 40 days, why was it getting worse? I was not going out in the dust of construction, Diwali crackers, vehicular pollution, etc. and the pollution levels are going down. Is it really dust allergy?
His answer was: Dust is there everywhere. Inside our homes too. The biggest carrier of dust is our mattress. But to be sure if it’s just a dust allergy or not, we need to do tests and I (obviously) can’t go outside at the moment. “If it is really dust allergy, then you are safer outside,” he concluded.
I was prescribed with some medicines that would give some relief for the time I stay at home. I am doing much better. But I am waiting for the time when I can go out to find a solution to this.
This post was inspired by Dr Tanya’s question in her Blogging Insights series.