A constant fear: Living in a red zone

Srinagar: It was dusk when misfortune befell our locality. It was my dad who broke the news to us. A resident had been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. It was a family member of our local grocery store owner.
In the morning, a sanitisation team came and sprayed disinfectant in each and every corner of our locality. We had bought things from the grocery store the previous morning. What if we have been infected, too?
I first tried to comfort everyone, including myself, with fake assurances that nothing was going to happen to us. But soon I began to lose my courage and psychologically I felt not at all prepared to deal with an infection in my family. It was a sleepless night and when the sun rose, it was with even more horrifying news that another three persons had tested positive from our locality.
The authorities declared our locality as a red zone. Every area was sanitised and locked down. For many days we were unable to buy vegetables, milk, and other essentials. Roads were deserted and looked gloomy. We decided that our brother would go out for buying vegetables and milk, but the fear was such that he initially refused to even step out of the gate.
While we were having dinner in the kitchen, my mother said, “No azaan, no prayers at mosques. No recitation of Awrad e Fathiya in the morning. What a plague God has left us in.”
Amid this chaos, getting calls from friends and relatives was common. We had to convince each and every caller that we are not infected with the virus. Some cracked jokes at us. “Oh, you are red zone people, do not visit our home,” a relative said.
Only we knew what living in a red zone actually was. There was nothing funny about it, there was only a pervasive fear. A relative would call thrice a day out of concern. “Don’t go out, keep the gate shut, don’t let anyone into the lawn. Tell papa not to go to the mosque for prayers. Keep the kids inside always. Tell mom that everything will be fine soon.”
I literally was fed up with listening to all this again and again.
After all these days, the fear of the coronavirus remains, all the time. Every day we hear news of more cases. We avoid going to the market and we feel afraid when we buy vegetables and grocery. Every time we pray, we ask Allah to end this pandemic soon.
In our locality there are seven active cases now and one person has died of Covid. Every day, a young lady in our locality laments that the children of the person who died did not perform the last rituals as they themselves were in quarantine.
There was recently a marriage ceremony in our locality, where only 50 people were allowed to attend. The bride’s younger brother, Umer Ahmad, said, “We wanted to do the wedding in a good way but we were not allowed to do so because of the red zone declaration.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.