by Vinita RK
The alarm rang at 6.24 am.
She woke up and fought her habit of cupping her hand to her mouth while yawning, drank a glass of water and went to the washroom.
She brushed her teeth and took a shower with a disinfectant and put on the now mandatory face mask after wearing her clothes.
Her daughter who used to go to school earlier had now started home-schooling like several other kids across the country.
She took the newspaper packed in a sterile bag and washed her hands with a hand-wash and used a sanitiser before her morning ritual of tea with newspaper.
When her daughter woke up a little after 8 am, she too was trained on first washing her hands and using a sanitiser and wearing a face mask before even being hugged good morning.
The interactions were limited outside the immediate family, shaking hands and hugging friends were a thing of the past now.
The malls and cinemas halls had shut down temporarily and gradually, permanently six months ago.
The outdoor parks have been redesigned with masks and protective gear compulsory for children from Age 0. The parks are constantly being cleaned with disinfectants yet despite the precautions, not many have the courage to take their children out to play. Apart from a few restaurants that follow the zero touching policy and the rigid new hygiene policies, most of the entries around the country were now closed.
What had started off innocently enough a few months ago had now become a way of living and despite the initial hiccups, people had to accept the changing way of life.
Her husband who ran his own business worked from home most of the time unless it was extremely necessary to meet in public. All offices now followed the work from home policy and the necessary few that did require to meet in a public setting followed a not more than 10 people at one time rule.
There were no handshakes and hi-fi’s anymore. People were much more comfortable behind a screen with their face masks and in some cases, even hand gloves.
The past few months have seen a tremendous rise in businesses manufacturing and selling durable and cheap hand gloves, face masks and sanitizers.
The airline industry has gone through a massive loss so has the tourism industry.
What is on the increase is virtual holidays and staycations.
The house helps have been replaced by machines that require minimal touching, dryers and dishwashers mandatory in every household and robotic mops and sterilising sprays the newest additions to keep the home clean and sterile.
Weekends no longer involve going to malls and long drives. People prefer to remain indoors and watch television.
The percentage of obesity has risen as people spend all their times indoors.
On the other hand, studies are showing that children are becoming much more efficient and smart in performing otherwise adulting tasks such as book-keeping, virtual vlogs and smart plays.
With interactions restricted, children as well as adults are becoming self-reliant as well as independent in managing the ‘new’ meaning of everyday life.
Children are being born.
New lives are coming into this world everyday.
And this world of quarantines, curfews, masks and sanitisers is the only world they will be knowing at least for the evident near future.
The days of long walks, midnight conversations, coffee dates, mall outings and picnics are now replaced by virtual meetings, e-dates, rise of ‘fantasy’ websites and a world that existed only in movies and novels and games.
At present, we are all living in a world which is no less than a series or a grim book that seemed too far-fetched and too unbelievable to actually happen. Well, at least, for now, this is real and a living proof that absolutely nothing is impossible and sometimes like now, doing nothing is the best thing that we can do.
Chaos leads to nothing and well, nothing leads to chaos. ***