I have always hated going to the grocery or vegetable markets. Credits go to the crowd. People stamping each other’s feet, pushing you from behind, walking without seeing left and right, annoys you a lot. What annoys the most is, people hitting you by mistake (well sometimes on purpose) and not being sorry about it. These things stopped me from grocery shopping at supermarkets or vegetable markets.
In fact, I often found people rushing, making noise, parking their vehicles in between the roads, pushing and hitting others. Honestly, these things often raised my anger and triggered anxiety. Soon, I preferred staying at home.
I have always been someone who likes being organized, planned and keeping things clean and smooth. Now people tend to expect the people to be the same as they are. Now, since this covid-19 happened, things changed dramatically. I remember, in March 2020 our college was closed for 15 days, saying, “Health emergency due to exotic virus”. A junior came to my place and said, “People will now learn to ‘not spit on roads’ and maintain hygiene as the government has asked to start using masks”. Today, after living a pandemic life, I can totally relate to what he said.
A week ago, I went to the grocery store with my mother to refill our monthly ration. My mom wanted to take me along because firstly, I could give her a ride while she has lots of grocery and secondly, the partial lockdown allowed us to shop for a certain time only. So before the closing time, we had to hurry and not miss anything on the list. When I reached the store, I found a good number of people. Surprisingly, there was no rush. People were standing at a distance, not hurrying to pick their packets, making ways for others to pass and not making any noise. The most striking thing was the billing counter. I remember pre-covid, the queue used to be compact, people use to shout “quick, quick” and pushed each other. But that day, people were standing quietly, waiting for their turns and not rushing even when the closing time was nearer.
My observation at the supermarket made me think, how one virus has changed the shopping culture amongst people. We have the same crowd today and everything is available in the market as before. People are still coming and parking their vehicles but everything looks a little more organized, easy, and calm. Well, I smiled under my mask and thought, this change is really good and needs to be there even after the pandemic is gone.
Shruti is a student of social sciences, doing her majors in geography. Her interest areas are urban, social and cultural geography and planning. She tries to see the world through a societal perspective where emotions and behaviours play major roles. She also has keen interest in dancing and photography.