When a surprise phone call broke the monotony of the lockdown


Motilal street in T. Nagar bears a deserted look during the lockdown. Pic: V S Jayaraman

As we cover the COVID-19 outbreak in the city, we also asked various individuals, citizen groups and RWAs to explain how they have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis. In this piece, a senior citizen relates his experience during the lockdown.

I’m not at all affected by the lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 scare because, as a retired person, I am already under some sort of a lockdown. However, in the present situation, I am unable to perform some of my routine activities like going to the bank, park, temples and making occasional visits to other places.  So far, I have not ventured out and will remain indoors for the remainder of the lockdown period.

It may be a difficult proposition for those who are employed and are actively involved in various ventures. For the daily wage-earners, the lockdown has been a debilitating experience. That said, the lockdown is inevitable as that alone can effectively prevent the spread of the virus, which has snuffed out many lives the world over.

The measures taken by the State government to mitigate the suffering of the people are indeed laudable. The restrictions imposed on public activities during the lockdown period need to diligently followed. For this is not the time to talk personal freedom.

A goodwill gesture

On one of these days, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from the ex-MLA of T Nagar Constituency, Mr V P Kalairajan, enquiring about the well being of residents in the backdrop of COVID-19. He cautioned the residents, particularly those over 50 years, not to venture out and advised that they should stay safe at home.

During the conversation, he stated that residents can  count upon him for any emergencies. He mentioned that he had arranged for supply of rice to the daily wage earners in the film industry, following a request from them.

I asked him if he would be able to help an indigent family residing in Motilal Street,  who eke out a living running a small eatery catering to a few known members, to conduct the marriage of their daughter; he readily agreed, and paid for the entire grocery required for the wedding.

Mr Kalairajan is a two-time MLA of T Nagar. During his tenure he made it a point to meet the residents at regular intervals.  His periodic interaction with the residents and his penchant to get himself involved in their day to day affairs led them to invite him as Chief Guest whenever apartment meetings were held. His down to earth attitude made him close to the residents. 

While he did not abdicate his responsibility towards the residents as the elected representative during his tenure in any way, even today he maintains a close rapport with them despite the fact that he holds no position. At a time when even elected representatives fail to meet and keep in touch with the people, here is a person who is committed to public service even when he doesn’t enjoy any position.

While I do not owe allegiance to any political party, I have no qualm in admitting what is right or wrong.

Finding meaning

The extended lockdown could be gainfully used to deepen our bond with the family, as in normal times, present-day living standards and work culture hardly provide any time for the same or for social bonding.

I am of the view that all of us should follow what is instructed by the authorities and stay at home with our loved one so that we are safe and we don’t become a carrier of the virus.

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About VS Jayaraman 6 Articles
V S Jayaraman is a citizen of Chennai, taking an active interest in public affairs.