Corona ripped at the seams of a peaceful suburb.
She started walking fast, listening to her thudding heart. At whatever cost she should return in an hour. An hour between her and danger. How will she cope? What happens if she is delayed? She cannot predict what happens within an hour or even less. Will she be able to do it in time? Will she be able to stop the danger looming large on her mental horizon? Oh God, save me, spare me, she uttered. She cannot tarry. There’s no one at home.
She quickly finished her grocery and vegetable shopping. She can’t be quicker than that. Milling crowds are seen busy everywhere doing their errands. Obviously hurried and harried. The short period of the relaxation of the curfew before it is back in place, lent that extra haste to people’s movements. But that could be dangerous. If you as much as turn your attention to pick up carrots or tomatoes, one of your bags might disappear. Yes, that’s how desperate the jobless ones are. Unemployment and poverty pushed them to steal and grab. Women need to be more cautious. Why, the incident in the neighborhood still shed tension and fear on the peace-loving community.
She heard that a couple of youths came to the lady’s house claiming to be Covid 19 testing team. They took her temperature and it was negative. It was their clever way of buying credibility for their work. What let her down was the second part of this real story that took place in broad day light. They said they need to see the drain pipes and took her to the backyard. In the meanwhile, a third guy entered through the open front door and ran away with her gold chain. She was not aware of the theft till she needed the chain. It was only then that she realized that the thieves have stolen the little gold she had. Their chance of grabbing more articles of value was cut short because they were aware that she might come back and catch them red-handed. Two such cases were reported in the media.
Immediately, she called police and they did their spot investigation, checked the cc cameras in the neighbor’s house and took the fingerprints and did all that was necessary. This incident sent shock waves through people living in that residential area. There was announcement in the local TV channel warning the people to be aware of a new variety of thieves, the Covid thieves.
She shook herself from these distracting and disturbing thoughts and returned home by an auto rickshaw. Thank God, she came back in time. She unlocked the door and went in leaving the bags in the foyer to get rid of the virus, as advised by the doctors. She removed her mask, washed it and clipped it to the clothes line in the back yard. She cleaned up, changed and an hour later went back to the foyer to collect her vegetables. She must wash them before putting them in the cool box of the refrigerator.
Emptying the bag into a large bowl, she separated fruit from vegetables. Oh, where are my apples? She searched bags again. But, no, they were not there. She wondered if she had left them at the vendor’s. No, I don’t think so, I remember I took the bag when I left the place, she thought.
Suddenly she knew the answer. The auto driver stole it! That’s it. While she turned to get down from the auto, his nimble hand must have grabbed the first thing it touched on the top of the bag. Thank goodness, I clutched my money purse in my hand she assured herself.
Oh, no, what trials we face!
Corona virus has made thieves out of innocent citizens!
Word Count: 580