India is a country of 1.3 billion people. Mumbai, the city I live in, is a small speck on the large map of India, and has roughly 20 million people or more.
While Mumbai has been fairly good in maintaining the rules of the 21 day all India lockdown, social distancing still seems like a ‘work in progress’ when stepping out. I don’t mean that there are many people out on the streets.
But there are many, even with the few.
My experience for every visit to a grocery store or a vegetable vendor is the same. A one meter distance is expected to be maintained. Some keep it well. Others tend to crowd behind your back out of habit and need to be reminded to move a few steps back. As is the use of a sanitizer, which is regularly sprayed on our hands before entering a grocery store or touching vegetables/fruits from a vendor. But the stores are tiny spaces, and there is no correct way to maintain a distance once you are in there. People keep bumping into you like any normal day, except that they have masks covering half their faces. And yes there are people coughing too. But how does one maintain the distance?
The few are still too many!
The 21 day lockdown in India is currently in its second week. The decision to extend the lockdown or not, may be taken after the 3rd week. But a thought did occur in my mind about how quickly the virus spread demanded that we change the way we have been living so far. Habits or routines are an important part of our daily functioning, and we’ve had to change that. It is said that new habits take 21 days to form and old habits 21 days to break. What will the 21 day lockdown do for India? And to the rest of the countries in the world where people have been locked down for 3 weeks or more?
Will we continue washing our hands every hour? Or wear a mask whenever we step out? Will we get comfortable working from home? Will we always keep a distance from strangers? Will we continue being content with the basic minimum in life? And treat our nature and our environment with more respect?
I think some old habits might slowly come back as the lockdown eases, but awareness will remain.
Note : I’ve shared this blog post based on my experience of the quarantine. I consider myself privileged, but the struggle is way more difficult for many people out there.
Also, I’m not an expert on discussing the virus but I’d like to share a few sources incase certain questions need answers –