Last night informed ‘Lady of the House’ (LOH plagiarised curtsy Col CL Proudfoot) of my mission to venture out of the apartment today morning! She was aghast! Her looks pierced through me as if asking, “Old man! Who do you think you are?” “What makes you think you can cross the ‘Laxman Rekha’ laid down by the Prime Minister himself?” “I know you never cared about me and even now it’s just the same!” “Exposing yourself to the ever lurking ‘Virus’ outside that just sticks??!!” Yes, one look asked all these questions……” ‘Main umar bhar na koi de saka jawab who ek nazar mein itne sawaalat kar gaye!’ (Not mine -plagiarised!!)
It’s not how things used to be! No more have the liberty to walk out at will….. yah! those were the days my friend! To answer LOH in words would have been blasphemy, took her hand and walked to the two bins of wet and dry garbage, pointed at them and looked into her eyes to both offer an explanation of my proposed outrageous adventure and seek her permission! She answered with a shrug of her shoulders and an “OK!” Permission granted to take out the garbage and dispose it off in the bins placed in the basement of our Tower!
The world has changed……its post Covid-19 world!
Mission ‘Take out Garbage’ had a clear aim, “To take out garbage from the apartment to the basement of the Tower and dispose it off as per laid down instructions on March 26, 2020 before 1030 hours (time specified by the board of management of the society).”
One was transported back to my days in Uniform. Mission had to go through with preparatory, execution and post-action analysis stages just like the military operations. It was yesterday once more!
Preparations included deciding on timing, route out, route in, laying down sequence of action, maintaining surprise and post mission actions. Preparations were discussed with LOH. Her perceptive mind was once again at work. She directed, “Leave the door open while going out so that you don’t touch the knobs on return.” As always, one was had nothing but admiration for her! The dry and wet garbage bags were to be secured lest any tell tail sign were left on the route out. The timing of the mission was set at 0730 hours. It was carefully selected being low density movement period to avoid any company that might threaten the safety of the executioner. Rubber slippers had to be worn so that these could also be sanitized along with clothes worn for the mission.
Now the execution. At the appointed time, the bags were removed from the bins and secured. The door of the apartment was opened using the ‘non-dominant hand’ and left ajar (no threat of any intrusion due to lockdown). The route out was through the stair case avoiding the lift to maintain surprise and safety.
On reaching the basement no dash was made to the bins but a quick scan of the area was done to preclude presence of any other human in the close vicinity (strictly practicing social-distancing). The bins were approached stealthily! Disposing off the wet garbage into the green bin was as planned. Absence of Blue Bin and presence of unexpected Red Bin presented a situation that had not been wargamed! It needed quick thinking and change in plan! The presence of a few other similar looking packages neatly stacked next to the Red Bin were used as clue for executing the modified plan. Dry waste was placed in the stack and quick retreat was made.
While on route in care was taken to avoid any human contact as it could jeopardize safety. The route in was again through the stair case till the ground floor. The ever-smiling guard was on duty. He was approached maintaining stipulated social distance. Both hands were stretched to full extent to enable the guard to pour generous quantity of hand-sanitizer. The liquid was rubbed to clean hands from both sides. It was realised, that its not possible to rub hands for twenty seconds as in case of hand wash using soap! Then the lift was used to go up to eighth floor ensuring minimum contact with steel.
Of course, the LOH debriefed and made a valuable suggestion that for future such missions instead of wearing Tee and shorts, full sleeves shirt and trousers or ‘kurta pajamas’ should be worn for added safety!