The pandemic has changed everything for everyone. The way we work, the way we sleep, and even the way we eat. It is believed that the life we are living right now is going to be the new normal. While some things have changed for the better, there are things that have gotten worse.

The spread of Coronavirus from person to person has scared people so much that it has led to a new stigma. This is the story of one such person.

Amrita Saha is part of the cabin crew at Indigo Airlines and her life was turned upside down when she was on flying citizens back to their respective countries. She had no idea while she was out earning her living and helping people reach their homes, that there would be trouble brewing in her own home, with her mother having to face humiliation.

Fighting with a single person is hard enough as it is, but fighting the mindset of an entire society is unfathomable to most. While Amrita was away, her mother was harassed by every single person around her, be it the colony security guard, or the grocery seller. She says:

My neighbours started it all with spreading rumours that I’m suffering from Coronavirus. I work with a reputed company which is taking all the necessary precautions to keep us and everyone safe. Whenever I was on my duty, some people would come over to my place and harass my mother. She couldn’t go to the market because people refused to give her groceries saying that your daughter has Coronavirus and so do you.

All of this went on for a while until her video started doing rounds on social media and forced the local police to take action. 

Now, she says:

Things are better now because everyone knows that we have police with us, so there’s nothing said to our face but I know that people’s mindset is still like I’ll be responsible for spreading the virus.

On asking her why she thought that way, she explained that ignorance is the root cause of the stigma she and her family are facing.

So, there’s this neighbour who sits in her balcony in the evening and that’s the time even I do dusting there. I remember, as soon as she saw me outside on my balcony dusting, she would look away, go inside her room and lock all the windows and doors. Initially I thought it was all in my head but when it happened more than once, I understood that it was me who was forced to be inside.

Although people aren’t harassing her the way they did earlier, she’s still not in a good space. 

One thing that people in society are doing is not allowing the maid and the cook to come to our house. Since the maid and the cook live close to our houses, they are coming for work. But not at our house. My neighbours have threatened them that if they come to our house they’ll make sure they aren’t allowed to enter the colony. But it’s okay, since there’s lockdown, even we don’t want them to come in these circumstances

When asked her about her thoughts on what awaits her post the lockdown, she says that she’s preparing for the worst, in that people’s mindset won’t change.

Despite facing all this, she believes in serving people and doesn’t believe in discriminating against anyone. And while she expects the same from people around, in the current scenario, that seems a little too much to ask for.