The fear of the highly contagious coronavirus — as well as the official lockdown — has ‘forced’ people indoors but also made them realise certain basic civic duties
About 10 days into the lockdown, the city seems to be adapting to a new ‘way of life’, so to say. Slowly but surely. Though, a lot of it is only an extension of what we always wanted to see our fellow citizens do in public spaces — keep our distance (remember ‘Mind the Gap’ instructions?); stand a good few feet apart at a cash counter in a superstore or bank (which we always crowded to the extent where we’d get a vantage-point view of the payer’s wallet); and so on. There were times when we had had enough of our prying neighbours and nosey relatives. We craved privacy, and hated uncalled-for attention. Yes, we Lahoris are culturally known to be overly sociable, but when that translated into uninvited guests and unwelcome stares, no one was happy. The fear of the highly contagious coronavirus — as well as the official lockdown — has ‘forced’ people indoors but also made them realise certain basic civic duties.
As those who step out of the house because they must, sporting facemasks and (less commonly) hand gloves to protect themselves from catching the virus, they appear guarded but vulnerable. Suddenly, the perceived distinctions between the weak and the strong are gone; everyone is equally susceptible now. That fact alone has birthed a kind of a fellow-feeling we always missed. Here is hoping that this pandemic and its scare are over soon, but when they are over, we don’t give up on the good things we learnt this hard.