Exactly four days into unlock-1, and I already feel that half of the population is on the roads. Cars being lined up on both the sides of the iconic Green Park Gate—the same green park which once used to be bustling with the crowd, and now, has entered into a long wait-list to host even a single international match.
I remember those days when this so-called ‘VVIP’ road used to get so occupied with long lines of cricket enthusiasts that reaching my home on the other side of the road used to become a nightmare. Today, it is different. Yes, the road seems quite busy with country folks hanging around even in corona times, but the purpose of their coming to this place is entirely different.
Things are barely in our hands. Coronavirus cases are burgeoning, and amidst all this, life has to be lived. Yes, there is fear, but can we afford to stay back at our homes anymore? Lockdown has indeed trained us, but the finale is yet to be played! People are trying to achieve the normality, but of course, they have to make their peace with the new normal. Unlock 1 and 2 had just been announced, and time to face the invisible demons has come. Government is issuing strict guidelines regarding what can be opened and what cannot be, and of course, the opening list starts with the most essential commodity shops – the liquor shops.
Winds are effused with the after rain smell. Parrots and birds all around. As the sun is fading, some people have also come out for their evening quotas of liquor. They are talking and catching up and why won’t they take it as excursion! It’s been 50 days after they have finally found the courage to meet each other.
Do you remember a time when you got so engrossed in a conversation with your inner self that out of nowhere you found yourself staring at something? This moment was it. I found my gaze fixed on a wall bearing the most caustic advertisement that one can come across in the coronavirus times. It was a travelling company’s advertisement.
The spell finally broke when my gaze shifted towards a rickshaw puller who happened to pass by. “Perhaps he is looking for a costumer,” I thought. But instead of venturing away, his rickshaw halted just beside a Honda City car which was idly sitting in front of the liquor shop. The liquor shop owner noticed it, and he already had a frown on his chubby face because, in his opinion, the parking space was only reserved for his elite guests.
On the contrary, rickshaw puller did not seem to be at all bothered about what anyone would think. He bent low and picked up a liquor can which was perhaps littered by the so-called ‘elite guest’ and then he picked another one and then another one. He kept on picking up the cans until none could be found anywhere around.
He then laid all the cans in a line and started squashing them. In my opinion, both our minds synced emotionally at that moment. After all, this year had been a rough patch for everyone. I thought that this was his way to vent out the emotional, mental and perhaps financial trauma he was going through in the pandemic situation.
But I was so wrong…
He gathered all those flattened metal cans and placed them on a jute bag which was lurking at the back of his rickshaw—the trash bag which skipped my attention. While there were still some cans left to be kept in the bag, another can dropped out of a scarlet two-seater.