One fine day towards the end of March, our lane was declared part of ‘containment zone’.
A new form of untouchability we experienced. NO deliveries, no shops were allowed to be kept open, except for chemists and dairies. Even then, the dairies would shut within an hour or two.
The Prarthana Samaj market was forcibly shut down by police, obviously, because a death was reported in Brahman sabha hospital, which is situated in this lane. Imagine, for nearly one month, we got NO fruits, vegetables or groceries. All the names forwarded by family and friends of those who home deliver groceries had a mandatory minimum amount or rupees of purchase.
For the first time I dreaded being left in the lurch by the authorities. Thankfully, my childhood and a school friend bailed me out.
Never before, believe me when I say it, even during the Bombay riots or bomba blasts our market was never shut. This was eerie. Dead pan silence. Police moved around like gangs equipped with batons to ensure no vendor or shop was open.