Empty Metros, Deserted Streets & Work From Home: This Is What It’s Like To Live In Delhi Right Now

by Kanika Sharma
Empty Metros, Deserted Streets & Work From Home: This Is What It’s Like To Live In Delhi Right Now

‘What’s the worst that could have happened, if the city was under a lockdown.’ This is a thought that crossed our minds a lot of times, which watching sci-fi movies or during conversations with friends. But we never really imagined that we would end up living it. At least I didn’t.

Delhi has seen many horrid moments during the last couple of months. Air pollution, riots, and now coronavirus. The first case in Delhi was reported on March 2, and ever since then the people started to panic. I didn’t. Life was going on as usual. Work, office, home, socialising, taking the public transport; nothing had changed, until last week.

What Is It Like Stepping Out?

Even though it isn’t advised, some of us were still operating out of our offices. At first, it seemed like a blessing to find empty roads and empty metro during peak hours. But unfortunately, the reasons behind it were far more scary. People have stopped stepping out of their houses. Queues are no longer there at Rajiv Chowk metro station, where at one point of time during office hours you would fear stampede.

Picture Credit: Youtube

The National Highway, that connects Delhi to Gurgaon, which is packed with cars and cabs, and crossing the toll takes you not less than an hour, is a breeze now. Most of the MNCs are located in Gurgaon, and because of Work From Home policies, the hubs seem like haunted houses.

Also read: All Restaurants In Delhi To Stay Shut Till March 31

I would usually brace myself for a Monday morning. Carry the extra change for surge pricing, be prepared to be stuck for a while in traffic, but last week when I woke up, I was able to get my cab at half the cost. It wasn’t a pool, or an auto, it was four-people cab that I took for myself. I was feeling rich, but at the same time, the moment I sat in, I wondered who was sitting here before me? And so, I took out the sanitiser and cleansed my hands. It was the most uncomfortable ride.

The Every-Day Life

Now, that I am working from home, the question that arises… am I safe? I was at work, when my mother called me and told me that someone in my colony had been tested positive. It was the same day that the first patient was reported from Gurgaon. Fortunately, it was Chinese whisper that reached my mom and it wasn’t the same person. But I panicked.

Also read: 3 Premium Hotels In Delhi’s Aerocity To Offer 182 Rooms For ‘Paid Quarantine’

Milk gets delivered to our home. The daily newspaper comes in, and so does the daily help. We went to the grocery store to get the daily supplies, but it was overcrowded because people were ‘stocking up’. I came in contact with so many. None of them were wearing masks, but I could hear some coughs and sniffles in the distance.

The Social Life

That last call where I told my friend that we will meet next week, seems like such a regret now; because when will that next week come, I really have no idea. Stepping out to grab a drink or a cup of coffee with friends seems like a distant dream now. Video calls and voice notes and text messages is the only way that we have been interacting the last couple of days.

Also read: Nightclubs, Gyms And Spas TO BE SHUT In Delhi Till March 31 To Prevent Coronavirus Spread

As a single, 31-yr-old, ambivert (introverted extrovert), I am going through mixed emotions at this time. Yes, I am one of those memes that you see, who rejoice when plans involving people get cancelled; but at the same time, I like to spend time with a few friends that I have. Now, that too, isn’t happening. Dating apps are off the phone too, because one wants to make sure that all non-essential contact is avoided.

Picture Credit: Trip Advisor

A friend of mine went to Galleria market in Gurgaon the other day, hoping to get herself  cup of coffee. The cops there were asking to shut the places down. Another friend, spotted a man sitting on a bench and reading a book at a public place. The first thought that came to her mind was, he could have done this at home, why risk his life?

Also read: 2 Popular Delhi Restaurants Close Doors Till March 31! Will More Follow?

I had some official work that I had to go for, that required meeting somebody in Chandni Chowk. It was official, so, not going for it was not a choice. I was packing my bag in the morning. I kept two bottles of sanitisers, two face masks, wore full-sleeved clothes and was all set. The thought that scared me the most was of getting paranoid about visiting one of my favourite places in town and hoping that it is deserted, when it’s the hustle bustle of that place that I like. ‘What if I bump into a foreigner?’ seemed like a scary thought, whereas I would act as a local guide when the same foreigners would walk up to me asking for directions. That thought scared me more than the scare of me catching coronavirus infection.

Those Who Do Not Have A Choice

A lot of us are privileged to be able to #WorkFromHome, but many others aren’t. There are numerous people who are working tirelessly to make the city a safer place. Walk into a metro station and you will see the railings being cleaned and sanitised by the workforce. The portable wash-basins that are being installed by the workers of municipal corporation, and the cab drivers who are carrying sanitisers in their cars. They are trying to make it safe for those who are still operating every day. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses are still running, and the drivers are seen wearing face masks and doing their duty.

Picture Credit: Not So Common

Also read: Air Pollution Levels Go Down In Delhi As AQI Drops To 129 After An All-Time High Of 1,000

The forces, the staff, the doctors are working tirelessly to make sure that hospitals, airports, quarantine camps are functional. The numbers of the infected are on the rise, but we can only try to prevent it by exercising precaution and staying indoor.

While I choose to stay home, I am privileged enough to have the option, I take a bow to those, who are still keeping the lifeline of the city alive. Hopefully, there wouldn’t be a time where it reaches a stage of being put on the ventilator.