Coimbatore

My first ever lockdown shopping venture

My mother called me early in the morning on Wednesday, the first day of the 21-day national lockdown. She demanded to know what groceries I had in my kitchen. I listed out the contents of my kitchen shelf and she was worried. “That won’t be enough for you to survive for three weeks!” Her questions were many and I could not quite calm her down. I tried to tell her that the grocery stores would function, but she refused to be appeased and insisted I go out and see what I could buy. She followed up that phone call with a list of items — pulses, potato, coconut, bread, eggs, rice and oil.

Fearing my mom more than the lockdown, I stepped out armed with my cloth bag and hand sanitizer. It was the first time in days and I took a deep breath, sent up a prayer and started my scooter. What would it be like? Will the police stop me? Perhaps not. My destination was a local departmental store. The roads were empty and the salons, ice cream parlours, bakery, and textile stores were closed. I did not spot any policeman on the road thankfully. The shutters of the departmental store were half-closed. I checked with the man in charge if there were any pulses. The store had run out of it and the stock that was supposed to arrive had not reached yet. “Come back tomorrow,” he told me.

Disappointed, I decided to head back home. On my way, I noticed that the medical stores and the milk booths were open. I also spotted a small grocery store that was functioning. There were helpful markings made of kolam podi to indicate where customers should stand. They were a metre apart. I got the first spot! “This is for everyone's safety. We will be open every day. You don’t have to worry,” the shopkeeper assured me as he handed me the items. I got back home, called my mother and set her mind at rest by WhatsApping her images of my supplies. I feel better too because now I am sure the essentials will be available to me through the lockdown.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:56:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/grocery-shopping-on-the-first-day-of-the-21-day-national-lockdown-due-to-corona-pandemic/article31171380.ece

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