And then, Goa suddenly changed. Stores closed, no more parties, no more gatherings. Nothing. Not even the Supermarkets are open. First, they said it`s going to be for one day, now they say three. India changed its face overnight. The ghostlike streets that have been full until yesterday are now empty. On my trip to the outside, I encountered only a few seldom bikes on the way. I thought the curfew was over but realized that it isn`t very quickly after leaving my house. No Cars or bikes, only some wandering cows are on the glowing hot streets. Even the street dogs seem to be gone.
What to do…
What is the best thing to do now? This is a good question, especially as a foreigner here in India. Germany has 20 000 infected people now but at least they seem to fight the Virus as efficiently as possible. For the past two weeks, Goa seemed like a safe place. We planned to go to the Himalayas as soon as we are done with the photoshoots. Then the first messages from friends started to come in that Himachal Pradesh is closed off for Tourists and that those that are there have to leave. My plan to seek refuge in the Mountains of Parvati was annihilated.
When the paranoia sets in…
Soon after that people slowly but surely started to flip out here in India as well. Despite the fact that there are still very few confirmed cases people started to buy as many things as possible from the supermarkets. I even heard about fights going on. Slowly but surely Goa transformed from safe-haven into a hot empty mess. Maybe not the best place to sit out a full-on pandemic.
I am starting to doubt my decision to stay in India longer. In 5 days I was supposed to fly to Hyderabad to play. The gig got canceled today morning. I knew this would happen and was already awaiting the message that they will try to postpone the party. The photoshoots that I prepared for weeks hang in the air as well. How to do a professional photo gig with people being paranoid and are told to not gather. At the moment it seems impossible to do it.
And still, I am in India. The nation experiences a nationwide lockdown. Since I was here in India for work I slipped right on into the curfew. First, this was kind of scary, but by now things have normalized a bit. The first week was certainly tough. People started to horde things and the supermarkets and grocery stores became a mess. I saw huge cues and people fighting in front of AJ`s Supermarket in Siolim, not far from where I live. The Borders where shut and movement was not an option. Going out was barely possible due to the aggressive police presence on the streets. The cops in Goa gladly gave bamboo massages to many of the people that were out during the curfew.
The lockdown is still ongoing now but a lot of things that haven’t been available to me in the first week became available to me in the past few days. Fruits, for example, were very scarce. Also, all Restaurants were shut completely. By now, many Restaurants sell takeaway of delivery food.
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