So, this morning I decided to step out of my house after roughly 35 days to make a quick grocery run. The supermarket was next door, I was armed with a face mask and gloves, and left my house early so that I would be among the first customers, and wouldn’t have to mingle with others. The roads were also empty as I walked to the supermarket.
Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?
Well, I was in for a rude shock: I ended up getting stuck in a major lockdown violation with about 100 other people crowded into a single supermarket for 2.5 hours.
Initially, social distancing was being followed- the security guard was making us wait in a orderly queue outside the entrance, maintaining distance from each other, and letting us into the supermarket in twos and threes only after an equal number of customers left, so as to control the crowd.
I got into the supermarket after waiting outside for about half an hour, and quickly selected all the items I needed.
However, in those few minutes, the queue for the billing counters had swollen to such an extent that they were spilling over into the aisles, several feet away.
No social distancing was being followed, even though almost everyone was wearing masks. My dad, who had accompanied me, stood in the queue and told me to wait in a less crowded area. Since I hadn’t brought my phone, I would come to check on his progress in the queue once in a while, and helped him load and carry the items once we reached the counter.
It was hot and sweaty, and people were getting extremely impatient, with the occasional argument breaking out when some smart Alec tried to cut the serpentine queue.
There were only a handful of staff who were wrapped up in dupattas and masks, working feverishly to finish billing each massive order.
Most people had brought their own carry bags and big shoppers, and the counters were being wiped down with a wet cloth after each customer was done with their billing.
However, it was impossible to stand in a crowded space with over 100 people for 2.5 hours without brushing up against a few.
As soon as I got back home, I disposed of my gloves, washed my hands till the elbow, and washed some of the items I had bought, which I needed to use urgently. My dad, after taking a bath, helped wash the rest.
I took a thorough bath, and dumped all the clothes I had worn to the supermarket into the washing basket, ensuring to the best of my ability that any possible contamination was washed away.
I ate my lunch alone, after my mother and grandmother, so that they wouldn’t have to interact closely with me. I am also mostly in my room now, and don’t allow my family members to enter beyond the door. I plan to practise social distancing in this manner for 2 weeks, as a precaution, especially since my grandmother is old, and I don’t want to risk her health by going near her.
How I Feel
To be honest, I’m a bit scared. I never expected such a crowd, and even though I followed all precautions, I can’t help but feel nervous till I come out of my 2 week long self-quarantine.
I came home and saw the news, and realised I had got stuck in a panic-buying rage after the announcement that Chennai would be under strict lockdown for the next 4 days.
I was earlier getting quite annoyed at being stuck at home for so many days, but now I realised its much, much better to stay safe and be bored that get stuck in a crowd and literally fear for your safety.
Image Credits: Google Images