People express mixed reactions as the country passed its first day under apparent lockdown
SM Asif Abdullah and Nusraat, a couple lives with their extended family of 16 members in the Uttara area of Dhaka. The family has eight working members while the rest are either students or housewives.
Asif started his first day of the 10-day government holiday on Thursday by cleaning and rearranging his room. Later, he helped his wife to prepare breakfast and sat at the computer desk to read news and play games.
He spent the hours browsing online and gaming till lunch. Other working members of the family passed their leisure time in similar activities.
"We have decided to prepare meals for each day on rotation, except for the kids, as the domestic helpers have been given leave. And everybody is cleaning their dishes after dining," said Asif.
This is how they have planned to spend the ten-day general holiday, which has turned into a lockdown, from March 26 to April 4.
In the meantime, Sirajul Kabir Chowdhury, director of the publishing house Anyaprokash, lives in Dhanmondi with his three family members.
He found the holidays as the best opportunity for strengthening family bonds which had become weaker due to his busy lifestyle.
However, a sense of fear overshadows the plans of both Asif and Sirajul despite the fact that they live with their families.
"This is a sobering experience! Despite being with our near and dear ones, it is still like we are fighting against an invisible enemy," said Sirajul.
He spent the day reading books, watching news on television and talking to his two children.
"It will become exhausting if this situation lingers," he said with concern.
Like Asif and Sirajul, city residents and other countrymen who are financially solvent pass time by gossiping, watching movies and reading books. However, fear over the coronavirus pandemic is always there.
However, low income and daily wage-earners locked in their houses face a double whammy — a mixed feeling of fear and tension — as they are likely to suffer from food scarcity owing to the ongoing shutdown across the country.
Md Nuruddin, a daily wage-earners who lives with his family of four members in Saver, said it will be tough for him to feed the family thrice a day if the shutdown continues for more than a week.
"My whole family is depended on my income. If the situation prolongs, we will die from starvation before the virus attacks us," said Nuruddin.
Like him, thousands of daily wage-earners and low-income families are in a big fear of running out of food and essentials.
Besides, their lives become dull as daily activities are limited.
Niamat Ullah, a government college teacher, said that children are getting bored because they cannot go out to play.
Women and mothers are the most vulnerable in this situation as they have to take care of their children round the clock, when earlier they used to spend a part of the day at school.
Now, they are tolerating their kids' annoyances and quarrel among the siblings besides maintaining the households.