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Archana Natarajan

Abstract


4.5  

Archana Natarajan

Abstract


Day 8 Of Lockdown # COVID- 19

Day 8 Of Lockdown # COVID- 19

4 mins 116 4 mins 116

1st April 2020

Diary of a new mother 


My entire series of these 21 days will be based on my experience of being in this lockdown and staying home as a first-time mother of a 5-month-old baby, Anvay. 


Dear Diary,


From today morning I started hearing the shout out given by various vendors who were passing by our lane selling vegetables, fruits, coconut, etc. Last week I did not see anyone doing this. Since our week’s stock of vegetables was getting over I thought of buying a few from a lady seller who had just come by. The advantage of having no traffic in our street made it easy for us to hear their high rhythmic peculiar call-outs( in Kannada mainly) by the different vendors who would pass by in their pushcarts. Their job had become tougher during this lockdown as they had to move out of their designated places and go from one lane to the other in order to sell whatever they had brought for the day either from their farms or from the KR market, which has now shifted to Electronic city side. I think KR Market and Russell market would have never shut down like this until the COVID19 pandemic came in to shut it down for disinfection and sanitization purposes. The local sellers had to take an autorickshaw and get the vegetables/fruits stock for the day. These were the only means of commute that were permitted. So, after a lot of hard work and travel, the sellers came to every lane to sell whatever they had. I felt pity looking at their tired face but at the same time also was surprised to see them sell their items faster when compared to the other days. Since the residents were dependent mainly on these local door-to-door sellers or Hopcoms they were able to get good business done. No one was haggling much with them either taking pity on them or because they knew that if they haggled a lot and the seller refused to give the items there was no guarantee when the next seller would cross the street. 


I have always loved buying fruits and vegetables from local sellers on the streets of Jayanagar/JP Nagar when compared to buying from supermarkets or online delivery services like BigBasket; mainly because it is therapeutic and I stay in close proximity to the local market. So, I depend on online shopping only when there is a real need. With a baby at home we all have a busy schedule so we had started purchasing grocery and vegetables online until the lockdown was announced. I was more than happy to buy from the local vendors again without wasting much time away from the baby. There were few lady sellers for whom I was a regular customer in the 9th block market; Yd calls them my friends. It was great to see them around often in our lane. I went down, had a chit-chat with them, collected all the necessary gossip that was happening in their seller world, and selected whatever I needed. The effort was less and also I felt because of the absence of traders the farmers were able to sell their fresh produce easily. One lady told me that she was bringing the vegetables from Hosur. I asked her, how was it possible for her to cross the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border? She replied in Tamil, ‘ Akka, policekaran ku lanjam kudtutu vandirkirein (I have bribed the cops at the border in order to get the vegetables across). I laughed at the way she answered my question and came back home. After staying home most of the time during the maternity break and having minimal interaction with the outside world I felt great when I could interact with the street vendors just like before when I used to go shopping carefree. The ease of the virtual world cannot supplant real world connections and empathy.


I was telling Yd the other day that this reminded me of my childhood days in Jamshedpur when there was an Anda walah ( Egg seller) who was my ‘so-called friend’. He kept shouting-‘Anda, Anda, Anda,’ while going on his bicycle with crates of eggs.  As a child, I was very fascinated by the way he shouted. The stress was on the, na and da, right from the base of his throat. I used to stand in my balcony and keep repeating the same and he smiled back at me. If only our 17th Main remains this peaceful, I am sure in a few months Anvay will surely learn to imitate them.


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