I miss keeping our car in the basement parking and taking Uber or Ola,” I thought, as I dusted our car, on the third day of Lockdown.
Around me, all the parking slots were full and even the tenant with two cars had found a place for his-and-her cars, and it seemed like any other normal day.
Even before coronavirus, people parked their vehicles and took the ride-hailing cabs, because no can could tackle Bengaluru roads, the mind-numbing traffic jams and the constant honking.
Couples with two cars would call two cabs and go their separate ways, rather than driving their expensive cars.
Bollywood movies and TV stars are feeling the pinch of no work, as sets are closed and filming has stopped in the studios to prevent spread of the infection. Many are complaining of the high electricity rates the new private sector provider is charging
I miss riding the smelly and broken-down cabs and trying to figure out whether to pay by cash or to take a chance and let someone hack my virtual wallet. (The cabs here are in sharp contrast to the ones in Dubai where a snazzily-dressed driver would pick you up from Ibn Battuta Mall in his posh and silent Volvo; doing this side gig to most probably pay off a loan).
When we first got here, I took out a brand-new Rs500 note to pay for our ride to the mall, and the driver/owner of the cab, who coincidentally also had come back home from Dubai, said he did not have change.
“Do you have Paytm (an e-commerce payment system, something Like PayPal or Google Pay)?” he asked. He looked me at incredulously, when I said, no. He then had to run from driver to driver asking for change, while the street got blocked with traffic.
Living in a lockdown, you begin to miss even the terrible things, like eating at a food court in a crowded mall on the weekend.
(You can still order the fattening, but tasty, fast food online and have Swiggy deliver it home. But man, they say, is a social animal, and needs the comfort of the herd).
I didn’t need to see it, as I already knew how not-so-wow life is now, but still watched ‘Home Made’, a collection of short movies made by top filmmakers from around the world, and how the pandemic has made life miserable for them.
One filmmaker had a recurring scene, showing him sitting on the bathtub every morning and cleaning his teeth with an electric toothbrush, that buzzed monotonously.
(I try to break the monotony and brush my teeth around noon and have mangoes for lunch, that are delivered fresh from the nearby farms, and shower late in the night. The lockdown incidentally, has helped farmers beat the middlemen and bring their produce right to the doorstep of the consumer. Suddenly, we have trucks standing outside our community selling papaya, cherries, mangoes, custard apple, pineapple and even the huge jackfruit).
Another filmmaker in Paris, released his drone and takes it flying around near his neighbourhood, and it captures deserted streets, or people lolling at their flat windows, and sometimes there is a very long line of people waiting to get food and supplies.
Bollywood movies and TV stars are feeling the pinch of no work, as sets are closed and filming has stopped in the studios to prevent spread of the infection. Many are complaining of the high electricity rates the new private sector provider is charging.
Spending months in lockdown from March to June, seemed crazy enough, but this weeklong one is sending people shouting in front of the chief minister’s office that there are no beds in hospitals for the infected, or going on social media and telling friends they have 113 tiles in the bathroom, 42 grey and 72 white, or that Maggie takes four minutes and 42 seconds to make.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi