As I stepped out of my vehicle, I felt cold sweat running down my forehead, my palms were clammy and could hardly catch my breath. Thoughts were racing through my mind - what should I do? No, I wasn't taking any online tests. I was at a local supermarket. It was the first time I had gone out in months!
The security guard started scanning me up and down. As I walked into the store, the guard halted me. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands. He approved my masked face and sprayed sanitizer on my palms. Another guard approached me with a temperature gun and held it close to my forehead. The guards signaled each other and allowed me to proceed. I breathed a sigh of relief.
As I walked through the store, the only thing I could smell was alcohol, not the drinking kind, but the kind you squirt out of a bottle to clean your hands. The scenario at the grocery store had changed - everyone at the store was wearing a mask. I heard a tussle outside the store. I peeped out to realize that the guards weren't letting a man inside because he wasn't wearing a mask. I forgot my grocery list watching the people around me!
I saw rice on my list and continued shopping. However, a woman was towering over it due to which I couldn't reach the rice bags. I politely asked her, "Aunty, can you please give me the way?". She turned around and started yelling at me in a deep voice. I was so startled I couldn't understand a word of what she was saying. I calmed myself down and started to process what she said. I apologized, grabbed a bag of rice, and waddled away as fast as I could.
The staff at the store helped me find a couple of items. I was grateful to them. Here I was trying to get home as fast I could though they were slogging every time. As I proceeded to the checkout, I noticed a couple of yellow circles on the floor. I looked closer as it reads "Stay within the circle" for the people to maintain distance while waiting in the checkout line.
I finished my purchase and headed out of the store, spraying sanitizer on my palms as I walked out. I noticed two policemen hurling sticks at a young man on a bike. He wasn't wearing a mask but was wearing a helmet. Another man drove past them, helmet-less, but wearing a mask. The police didn't raise a hand at him. It's ironic how wearing a face mask has become more key to saving our lives than a helmet!
Times have changed with the global pandemic! Even simple tasks from going shopping to taking a stroll outside require extensive planning and effort. Wearing a mask, carrying a sanitizer, and practicing social distancing has become a part of our daily routine. However, yesterday was an intriguing day, which gave me a new perspective on the problems we are facing. Take away from this phase was life is never full proof. Probably the virus wanted to make us ponder and meditate upon what we have become as human beings. We can do our best to keep safe, take precautions and be responsible. If the 'spiky' fellow finds its way into me, I will survive and gain immunity. A vaccination will soon dawn upon us. The world will be a better place for sure. Having made peace with the pandemic, we accept that lives must go on.