A woman leaves her parental house and stays with her husband and a whole new family after marriage--a traditional way of life for women in Indian society. This makes many women miss their parents and therefore the annual or monthly visits to the parents house where they are pampered as if they are still a child--are sacrosanct for any woman. But the pandemic changed all this and more.
Initially with the lockdown, any scope of movement was out of question. And now when some travel measures were eased a new worry cropped up its head to take away the pleasures of these married women. With the unlock phase giving them a chance to meet their parents after more than 2 months, many women are holding themselves back and not jumping at the chance. Reason? They are scared that they will be the carriers of the virus and the reason for making their parents ill.
Maira, a 29-year-old female now living in Mumbai with her husband, expressed her worry about visiting her parents who are staying in Bangalore, “I know the resuming of flights and bus services has opened the gates for me to meet my parents. But I fear travelling on flight or train because of the crowds. I mean, everyone wants to go back home to their loved ones, and it is obvious for them to crowd up the means of transportation that’s available. If I contract a virus on my way to Bangalore, I will be a carrier of the virus to my aged parents. And I will never ever be able to live with that, if it happens.
As is, the chances of being infected in a rampantly infected city like Mumbai are high.
Moreover, I am not able to figure out the logistics either. If I have to travel to Bangalore, I’d have to do the travel alone without my husband, and leaving him without a domestic helper to cook and clean the house will just add onto my troubles and not let me live in peace. One of my society’s ladies WhatsApp group also shared a forward which says that during the lockdown the authorities are conducting random tests and checking people who are travelling. What if I am an asymptomatic carrier of the virus and end up in a quarantine centre?
For me, visiting my parents in Bangalore was like a vacation and a much-needed relief, whenever I was tired of the routine here in Mumbai. But the coronavirus pandemic has ruined all of that. I am missing my parents more than ever now. No matter how much I miss all the pampering of my mamma and gentleness and the rational approach to tough situations of my father, I cannot make my way to them. So, as of now, I don’t see when will I be again able to go and meet them. My husband, who echoes my concern, believes that I should not think about it at all this year. But one whole year? One whole year of not being able to meet them? The thought is enough to make me cry.
This uncertainty about when the virus will go away and the time for when I would finally meet my parents without any fear is stressing me out and making me anxious. I have never felt as lonely as a I am right now, not being able to meet them. I am their princess and right from serving tea to me in the bed, and insisting that I drink milk for breakfast...I am missing all that love and care. At my parents house, I don’t have any worries…
I feel forsaken. The pandemic has made me feel such. I am missing them so much and all this routine of cleaning and sanitizing it getting to me and making me feel more and more cranky and irritable.
I just hope that my parents’ health stays alright because if they get sick, I won’t be able to forgive myself for not being present for them in the most difficult times.”