Watching the world go by

A couple of weeks ago, my 18-year old son got his first dose of Covishield.

When vaccination for the 18-44 year age group opened out on May 1, we already knew that vaccines were in short supply. Getting a vaccination slot would not be easy and there are many in professions that are at high risk – shopkeepers, delivery people, road vendors, labourers, cooks, maids, drivers, who should rightfully be prioritised.

“I think I should wait. Let those who really need the vaccines get their shots. I am anyway at home only.”, Gautam said. This I did think was was a noble thought.

Getting a slot was and still is indeed difficult. I had been trying for friends and acquaintances, and though I had managed to get a few appointments, it was a very time consuming exercise, requiring one to be constantly online and vigilant.

Read more about vaccination: Vaccination jokes

As luck would have it, I gave it a casual try one evening, and a slot was booked! 1200 slots were released at Nanavati Hospital that day, increasing the chance of success. The hospital is about 15 km away from our home, but nothing is “far away” in Mumbai. So rather than letting go of a lottery victory of sorts, we did the trip.

Roadside queue

Considering that 1200 people were expected, the queue, when we reached by around 9 a.m., was already very long. It took about 40 minutes to reach the gates where a token was issued. Some 310-odd.

Having travelled the distance, I decided to wait. I took a few walks around the Vile-Parle neighbourhood, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. Apart from the hospital area, the place was quite deserted when compared to “normal times”. For the most part, I sat on the footpath, abutting the old Juhu airport wall, far away from people.

Here are some snapshots…

The queue from the other side of the double road
Traffic on this road, much less than in “normal times”, buses look fairly empty, and the footpath is self-appointed
Mini bus from BEST
Negotiating life’s twists and turns
Uprooted by Cyclone Tauktae
Way above the trees
Inquisitive crows
Just a suggestion
Gas line valve?
A few odd customers at the corner bunk
With shutters down, the sleeping dog lies
Roots, flowers, seeds
Ganesha is everywhere
The God and the Peepals

Things seem to have improved – fewer new Covid cases, fewer deaths, more people getting vaccinated, cities opening up from lockdown. We’re still way ahead of the peak of last year, so the weeks ahead are critical. Stay safe.

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