A few days ago, two people (of the same family) were tested positive for COVID 19 in my condominium and subsequently 8 other families have been put under quarantine. The little shanties around our colony have had 7-8 cases and some areas are being sealed. Until this, the illness was something I was following on TV. The whole country has been under lockdown and that’s a reality we had gotten used to living with. We transitioned to online work and online classes for my son with mild hiccups.

We got used to wearing masks and carrying sanitisers whenever we went out to run errands. Inconvenient, but we got accustomed to it. Was there fear? No, not at all.

Our RWA was tremendously proactive. They handled the lockdown with aplomb. There was (and still is ) regular sanitisation of lifts and the common area. Support staff (guards, and housekeeping) to maintain the complex were given a space to stay within the condominium, they were provided meals and taken care of. Walks and general socialising in common areas was prohibited. The residents rallied to support the RWA team in their efforts and we adjusted to this dystopian way of life.

Then came the partial lifting of lockdown. You could see people taking their daily constitutional. We ventured out for a stroll armed in our masks. Our 18-month-old (in a pram) who by now has been trained to wear a mask was over the moon to be out and about after more than 3 months of being cooped up at home. House help was allowed to come in. Things seemed to be inching towards normalcy. Was there apprehension? Sure, but the thought was we have been spared so far hence we should be fine. Right? WRONG!

COVID struck. Too close to home. Too close for comfort. Just too close! We have been shaken out of our false complacency.

It’s been a rude shock. The immediate reaction was, how is it possible? We’ve been safe so far. Why now? How? Debates on ‘was it wise to let help in‘ raged on the society WhatsApp platform. Each side taking the moral high ground. In the white noise … a voice of reason who made us all pause and reflect. All the person asked was ‘how many of us have been lax in our sanitisation procedures ever since we realised the rules have eased?’ Silence and reflection on the group. A rare occurrence indeed.

How have things changed for me now? Well, I’m scared. I’m scared for my well-being and my family’s health. I’ve been the brave one, venturing outside to run errands like I’m infallible. Now I’m scared to even touch the lift button to go down. The bravado is all gone. I couldn’t sleep for two nights worried wondering if I had had any contact with the afflicted or been in touch with anyone who had been in touch with them. I want to cry, in frustration, in anger, and in fear. A harsh lesson learned in all this is that we can’t afford to let our guard down. Safety and hygiene protocols need to be stringent in every household. What do you do with young children around? How does one ensure they are following the same protocols without shortcuts. How do we monitor them 24×7 and is it even possible to do that? What happens when schools open? Do we send them to school without a vaccine? How do we protect them when they are out of sight?

How long is this new reality going to continue I have no idea. I suddenly don’t seem to have any answers and that’s scary.

I wish this blog ended with a solution or even a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I take comfort in the fact that writing this piece has helped me vent out some of my fears and has been cathartic.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

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