The New Norm for Buying Groceries

The day begins with the sound of chirping birds instead of vehicles. You reassure yourself, “It’s going to be a beautiful day.”

You savour the quiet house, since the kids will be asleep till 9 am. There is no rush to pack lunches, catch a bus. No meetings you are late for. Your mind is relaxed enough to work on your hobbies. The unfinished painting gets a new lease of life. The circular coffee table get a new crochet cover.

By 10 am, the whole household is awake and various breakfasts are gobbled. A sudden urge to stock up the pantry and kitchen store gathers steam in your mind.

Now, this is where the new normal sets in.

To go to the neighbourhood store, you cover your eyes with glasses, nose and mouth with a mask. You wear slippers that can be washed. You pull out some bags and head to the store. The queue outside the store is already spilling out on the road, you join at the tail end and wait for your turn.

As one person exits the store, another is allowed inside. With a gentle reminder to spend only 10-15 minutes inside, you suddenly feel like you are in a reality show – ‘Fill the cart in 10 minutes’.

With a list in one hand and a rickety trolley being pushed by the other, you start picking up goods. The speed at which you load everything surprises you. You are at the billing counter in 10 minutes and out of the shop in in 15 minutes.

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On the way out, you want to sigh with relief, but the procedure is not yet completed.

With overloaded bags you step inside the house to a pair of hungry teenagers. It’s time for breakfast Part II. Quickly, you bathe, drop the clothes you were wearing into a bucket of Dettol water. Then you step into the kitchen and make large sandwiches.

Armed with a cup of tea, you sit down to sanitise the purchased groceries. For an instant, you wish you hadn’t purchased anything. With a pail of Dettol solution and a clean cloth, you wipe down each and every plastic bag and cover, and lay it all over the kitchen floor so that it dries.

Next come the shopping bags. Depending on your energy levels, you either dip dry them in Dettol solution or hang them out in the sun – take your pick.

Whether this long-drawn process will remain the new normal for buying groceries or whether we revert back to the lacklustre ways of the past is anybody’s guess.

For now, this is the new normal. And the faster one gets accustomed to it, the better.

Sreeyantha is a person who sees the world in all the colours of the rainbow. A creative homemaker who wishes to capture the universe’s beauty in poems, paintings and short essays. You can read a collection of her poems here.

Featured image credit: Hobiindustry/Unsplash