I bumped into my doctor friend a few days ago while I was on my way out. I had met him after a while, so we got talking. I asked him as to how he was doing in these times of pandemic. He just shrugged and said that patients had to be treated and some were indeed Covid positive.
That innocuous statement really set me thinking. So many people I have been interacting with are going out for a living, braving the Covid.
For instance, the maids who work in several houses, the watchmen who guard the buildings, the vegetable vendors, the shopkeepers. The list goes on.
In fact, in many buildings, for months the only conduits of outside contact were the watchmen. They interacted, ferried materials, ranging from milk, vegetables to courier deliveries to the residents. Even visitors were not allowed.
Presently, the maids who have started working, normally walk down from their homes to avoid social contact. But the houses they work in are not always well sanitised. In some houses there are guests, which make them more susceptible to Covid.
Moreover, shops have commenced business now. Mumbai has several small markets with small shops that are ensconced on two sides of, more often than not, a narrow corridor. The shopkeepers, many of them women, stand outside the shops. In such places, social distancing is impractical. Masks are on but many customers are careless enough not to bother about any kind of precaution.
Then again, auto rickshaw drivers, cab drivers, bus conductors are all living under constant threat of the pandemic.
But I feel the doctors who actually treat the patients face a grave risk. It’s living from one safe day to another.
In these days of uncertainty, when one only hopes that some vaccine will open the gates to general cure, it is a close shave each day.
However, as Marie Curie said, ‘Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’