Janta Curfew: Why clanging pots from balconies gave me goosebumps and hope | Opinion
It began slowly with a few stray utensils clanging and some clapping but steadily grew into a thunder of banging utensils, blowing of conch shells and ringing of bells.Updated: Mar 22, 2020, 22:34 IST
Like a conscientious citizen, I too spent Sunday locked up inside my house amidst the Janta Curfew call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not one of the usual sounds – vehicles honking on the road, vendors calling out, children playing loudly -were to be heard. And from my balcony, not a soul was to be seen. It was as if the whole area had retired to their homes and gone to bed. When the sparrows crooned from a nearby tree, it made me feel one with nature for a while.
The silence lasted till 4:40 pm because that was when I began to hear growing noises from outside.
It began slowly with a few stray utensils clanging and some clapping but steadily grew into a thunder of banging utensils, blowing of conch shells and ringing of bells.
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It took me a few minutes to run outside – after I had tucked my very unwell dog into bed, run a brush through my stay-at-home unkempt hair, and of course grab my phone.
With the clanging steadily growing, I rushed into the middle of the lawns of our society and the sight that met my eyes gave me goosebumps. And I admit that my eyes were glistening with tears. Not one balcony of our approximately 1200 homes residential society was empty. A sea of people, young, old, children, even a lady in a wheelchair – was out in full force, backing PM Modi’s call for showing support and gratitude towards the COVID-19 warriors.
I was the lone person standing in the middle of these large grounds surrounded by people in their balconies. I only had to look down at the phone that I held in my hand, and social media informed me that our society was not alone. Most of the country, with its 1.3 billion people, was outside their home or in their balconies at the same time.
It was a moment that will remain etched in my memory forever. Now ours is a large society with mostly urban, middle class folks who are cynical and rarely even vote. I had not expected this kind of a turnout for the Prime Minister’s call. But I now know that it was my own cynicism which made me think that way.
A lazy Sunday of 22nd March 2020 challenged and beat my own cynicism. It showed me how India’s unity in diversity fabric remains unbroken. How a nation of diverse people, languages, culture, religions can come together in the face of adversity, sending a message to the world that we will fight Covid-19 together.
A big thank you to the brave doctors, nurses, paramedics, police personnel, friends in media and other essential service providers. This is just the beginning. The battle has only started and will be uphill. But united as one, we can fight the Coronavirus and win. We have to.