How does a community of 250 people manage the lockdown? Here is Shanthi Gulmohar’s example

How does a community living in 52 apartments off R. K. Mutt Road manage its affairs in lockdown times?

Some 250 people reside in Shanthi Gulmohar Apartments which stands where the once famous Kapali Theatre was.

And managing this property of  15 trees and wide variety of flowering plants, a small swimming pool, and gym and community hall calls for some micro planning.

“When the pandemic started we started controlling visitors entry and closed the pool / gym and hall.

People had to give valid reasons for entry and social visits were controlled by word of mouth initially.

But  once Janatha  Curfew was announced we closed the gates and no outsider was allowed,” says Lalithaa Mahesh, secretary of the community’s association.

The milk and newspaper delivery men could not come up to the flats to deliver – everybody was stopped in the ground floor itself. Says Laithaa, “Initially there was a resistance for home delivery with payment but we insisted that residents come down and make payments. Our security collected all the papers and arranged them in the entry hall in the ground floor from where residents collected them.”

Bags for collection of milk packets with each flats number written were  kept in the entry hall for the milk man to drop the milk packets. A WhatsApp message alerted the arrival of milk.

Initially the lift and ground floor were swept / mopped and sanitized 3 times as nearly 100 maids and 50 drivers visited the campus. Later, the entry of these helpers came down but all the rest were told to stay home.

Says Lalithaa, ” Many flats are occupied exclusively by senior citizens. They were asked to ask the maids to stay in their homes.”

The securitymen were fed through the day since they were asked to stay on campus.  Residents took turns to provide food. Says Lalithaa, “We stopped the housekeeping staff, started mapping and sweeping our floors ourselves.”

Everybody who went out and came back had to use the sanitizer. Says Lalithaa, “Neem leaves were used as they kill harmful viruses and purify the air. Tumeric and neem in water  was kept in the entrance hall permanently

to ward off anything harmful.”

The mopping of common area is now being done with water mixed with alum stone or padigaram and sea salt. On some floors cow urine is used in the water for mopping.

Senior citizens who stopped their maids and cooks were given daily lunch and dinner by neighbours.

But there were some hiccups.

A senior citizen who was all alone slipped and fell inside her flat early one morning, but she could reach the intercom and tell her neighbours that she had fallen.

She could not  getup and open the door. All doors, including glass doors were closed. The main door key was with the neighbour but it was also latched. However, since this flat was on the 2nd floor, the supervisor who was watering the plants climbed up and opened one bedroom glass door, entered the house and helped the woman.

The woman was sent to a hospital in a ambulance and admitted – she is back home after a surgery.

Lalithaa says that some families use the terrace for yoga and aerobics. Teenage boys are star gazing at night as the city sky is now pollution free.

In the open space below, each family chooses a time to walk or jog in the walking tracks and badminton is popular a hit with people playing till late night.

Since May 1, maids and service providers have been allowed to resume work.

  • Photos by apartment association members.

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