It’s Day 17 of India’s 21-day lockdown. And it’s almost exactly the same as the last 16 days.
It’s eerily quiet, except for the birds, and the garbage truck, which rolls around every morning around 8am, blasting an anthem from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign.
I don’t remember hearing it in pre-corona times – but it works because people dash to the street to make sure they don’t miss the pick-up.
Then there’s the lookout for the neighbourhood vegetable vendor – whose arrival we cannot afford to miss because ordering in groceries is no longer the most convenient option. The occasional delivery does arrive but it’s now “contactless” – they leave it at the door.
Narrow balconies in my neighbourhood, where people would rarely spend time before the lockdown, are the new place to hang out. That’s where everyone gathered to clang pots and pans, and light lamps, as requested by Mr Modi.
It’s also where I find my neighbours in the evenings, looking at me curiously as I walk past their houses to the now-empty neighbourhood park.