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LOVE IN COVID & CORRIDOR | Satya Shandilya

I woke up to a sunny day, birds chirping on my window, sunshine kissing me with warm greetings. I dragged myself from the bed towards the kitchen as I am a bachelor living in Delhi and that also now, I’ve been working from home as 2020 hit whole world quite hard. It was tough for me to manage the home and hearth along with my job. My phone suddenly rang, it was Disha on the other side. She is my neighbor; in fact, she was new to Delhi and was staying here for her job. I picked up the call.

“Hey! Hi, good morning.” She said in a refreshing voice

“Hey! Good morning.” I replied. “Actually, I needed a small help, I have no surplus milk left and I desperately need my morning tea. As you know I’m new here so I don’t know so many people except you. Can you lease help?” she requested.

In the next moment I was at her door step with packed 500 ml milk. She opened the door with hope and had sparkle in her eyes the moment she saw the milk packet in my hands and thanked me, I said, “it’s okay Disha. You can count on me whenever you want help.” It seemed like she is one of those “chai-lovers” who can’t even die without having their last sip of life. On the next day I had to go out to grab my daily supplies before the curfew hours starts. I grabbed my wallet and phone, covered my face with mask and went out of my apartment and Disha was standing there holding a huge bag in one hand and a small purse in another, her face was covered as well but here eyes were enough to give me goosebumps. We made eye-contact and I could feel her smiling behind the mask as if she is trying to say ‘hello!’ to me. I waved my hand as well.

“Are you also going to get essentials?” I asked

“Yes! I hope you don’t mind if I join you.”

“Absolutely not.” I replied and then we stepped out in the silent lanes. I had never seen Delhi so quiet; the intensity of silence was so high as it was growling in my ears and was trying to gulp me down. Every small shop was locked, no vehicles were on road, only two or three people were visible in the distance near the medical store. This landscape got imprinted in my head but I tried to distract myself and started talking to Disha, we discussed on some general topic while coming back to home and finally we were standing in corridor where we had to part our ways to our respective flats and was usually the place where we met often.

Later in the evening I was lying on my bed and was going through my Instagram account suddenly I noticed a text from a profile named as “@its_Disha”, I jumped on my bed and accepted her request with trembling fingers I sent a message, ‘Hi’.

After few minutes it was seen by her, I got even more nervous, don’t know what she must be thinking about me? Was this the right thing to text her? Should I delete the message? A text came from her side ‘hey! What’s up?’ and then our chats never ended.

Another morning I woke up and as usually checked my phone to reply to Disha’s good morning messages, but seemed like today something was different so I thought of dropping a message first this time. I sent the message but it wasn’t seen. We have been talking since a week now and this kind of behavior was unusual. But I made some excuse to my own self and started working on my laptop as it was a Monday and I can’t afford to be late. Whole day passed but there was no text from Disha neither she called and not even any knock on my door. Now, I was getting little nervous. Finally, I gathered my strength and knocked on her door. An old lady opened and asked “what you need?”

“Is Disha home? actually she isn’t replying to my urgent messages I had something to discuss with her. Can you please call her out?”

The lady gave me an annoyed look and said, “what stupid joke is it? She has died two weeks back due to covid. All of this seems a joke to you.” The lady started sobbing. I run my eyes in the hall of her flat and saw Disha’s picture on the wall with garland on it. The only question running in my mind was, “if Disha is dead, then to whom was I talking to since a week?”

Satya Shandilya

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