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The Online Bug

3rd Prize - March 2024 Writing Contest

28 Mar '24
4 min read



Four years ago when the world heard of a Pandemic , unaware and scared , none of us knew where we were headed . We had to Google the meaning of the word and came  up with the statistics of the previous Pandemics , our generation was alien to . Four years since the day we heard of a national lockdown , memories come flooding .  Uncertain , unsure what it meant , the roads deserted , as an employee of essential service , I had to reach the office every alternate day as a part of  the 50%  staff that had to work . Luckily hubby had just retired and I had support for a  drop  to the office and pick up after  the truncated work hours . Public transport was unavailable . When the sticker of essential services stuck on the windshield of our car let us pass through the various checks on the road ,  we felt like , we were warriors on the borders of the country .

Masks that became the norm , were suffocating and the temptation to bring them down tempting , yet the safety of having it on , we knew was better .  Sitting behind plastic sheets at work seemed strange , irritating , but  we had to follow the laid down rules .

Amidst all this chaos and uncertainty , my late father was quietly glad when he heard about all the cleanliness standards set. 
We were always a very cleanliness conscious family , the Covid do' s seemed like something we had always been doing , washing hands , feet , clothes worn out of home to be changed as soon as we got  home .

He was happy to have his children home. Someone who always believed his home to be a safe haven , he perhaps felt his family was sheltered and protected if they didn't venture out .

For his generation that knew struggle like the back of their hands , conveniences came rather late , they were imbibed in hardships , getting used to conveniences in life needed some getting used to .

The proverbial silver lining in the cloud came in the form of online shopping , sluggish till the Pandemic , the Pandemic opened its doors like never before . Never before heard of names became common household banter , Swiggy , Zomato , Myntra , Amazon , Flipkart and the likes for food , provisions , clothes , veggies , fruits  everything under the Sun , well almost ,  came to the doorstep .

New to online shopping and it's conveniences, my father  , was elated that one didn't  have to step out even to buy  the essentials . Was he glad for this new discovery , that ensured his family remained at home all the time , albeit the fact that the family felt jailed and wanted to step out , even if for a while .

Intrigued by the online shopping , his children did , he loved enquiring if the ice cream he enjoyed also came online , like some of the other stuff we got for him.
Each time , he was curious to know if we got , what we got for him ,  online .

The relief in his voice when I told him a painting class I had registered for  was online was palpable . He must have secretly blessed whoever discovered online shopping , online classes , work from home options blissfully unaware of the gravity of the  Pandemic that necessitated these measures.

The uncertainty of life only grew worse with the second wave when we heard of passing away , of many acquaintances , alone in hospitals , where even close family members were not allowed to visit . To think of your loved ones lying alone somewhere without anyone to talk to , convey important messages to , with  doctors and medical staff in bodysuits , was very scary , no wonder then that my late dad loved being amidst his family , blessing the discovery of online shopping . 
Bet his daily prayers had a few words thanking this discovery that kept his loved ones in the confines of  his home .

Now , his family , continues shopping online , each time we do,  reminisce, his reaction / query if what we bought is online ! People go , memories stay ! The online bug forever !




Category : Personal Experience


Written by Poornima Nalkoor