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From conch shells to firecrackers, Twitterati express gratitude to essential service providers

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Neighbourhoods erupted with the sounds of conch shells, brass bells, steel utensils and even firecrackers as the clock struck five on Sunday.

Although the Twitter trend was "#Diwali", it wasn't that.

After spending a long quiet day indoor as part of the 'Janta Curfew', people took to Twitter to share their "5baje5minute" moments, as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, to express their gratitude towards medical professionals, sanitation workers and other essential service providers who are at the forefront of the country's fight against coronavirus.

A Twitter user, Prerna, posted a video from her terrace clapping and saying, "As promised! It's 5 PM AND I AM HERE :) It's like Diwali :) GOD BLESS US ALL AND MAY WE ALL LIVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY LIFE!"

The video showed almost her entire neighbourhood beating steel plates or clapping outside their homes.

Another user, Naman Mehta, thanked the prime minister while sharing a video from Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

"Enjoying curfew with 130 others. Thank you @narendramodi Ji It for a moment it was even better than many festivals. I've never seen my whole neighbourhood coming out together even during holidays Diwali but it was good (sic)," he posted.

While advocate Usha Srinivas "felt positivity", Arjuna awardee Heena Sidhu claimed to have "never felt such unity".

"Gud 2see ppl response at 5pm. Ringing bells,shunkh,dhol, burning crackers.lyk celebratin of Diwali.Ths small moment brought smile on every1 face after facing stressful days bec of Corona Felt positivity & thot cmg in mind "we shall over come, we shall over come one day (sic)," wrote Srinivas on Twitter.

"This was the best feeling in the world!! It felt like a war cry...we r all in this together. I have never before felt such unity in the air. No diwali, no holi, christmas have ever brought us together. Lets do this everyday till its over Lets all be together," Sidhu's tweet read.

The "celebration" was part of the 14-hour long 'Janta Curfew' announced by the prime minister to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Different hashtags trended since the morning including #JantaCurfew at the top with over 7.8 lakh tweets and #Heroes with over 2.5 lakh tweets. After 5pm, #goosebump, #Clapping, #GhantiBajao, #IndiaComeTogether, #PauseandApplause were used by the netizens.

While Telugu actress Raashi Khanna thanked the "unsung heroes", another user Pritismita Purohit showed gratitude towards the "real heroes" including the armed forces, police, doctors, and journalists.

"And back home in Hyderabad, I felt like a child in awe! Such an amazing moment of people coming together.. Let's conquer this, together! #thankyou again to our unsung heroes!" Khanna tweeted.

"We all heard those huge sounds right? It's not the sound of clap, not of shells or bells. It is the gratitude towards the real heroes in sort to our Armed force, Police, Doctors, nurses, Journalists, Media people and most importantly to the cleaners. Thank you @narendramodi (sic)," wrote Purohit.

However, some Twitter users criticised the government for the "symbolism" and also for the lack of a relief package.

"Why a symbolic one day curfew when the situation demands a complete lockdown? Ensure food and safety to the poor. Ensure paid leaves in government and private jobs," Sushmita Subhas posted.

A few also criticised those who burst firecrackers and banged pots and pans.

"Firecrackers going off in my neighbourhood like it's Diwali. Dumb idiots gathering in groups to bang on pots and pans. Tell me again why this made sense. Weren't there other ways of showing appreciation to health care workers?" rued economist Rupa Subramanya.

The 'Janta Curfew' and the appreciation exercise that followed was announced by the prime minister on Thursday evening to hinder the spread of coronavirus.

By Sunday evening, the number of COVID-19 positive people in the country had gone up to 360, according to the Health Ministry.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 22 2020. 20:26 IST