You suddenly realize that you don’t have much time and nothing really matters. You might as well order Tiramisu, say “I miss you”, have a drink, do the crazy stuff, wear the special dress and give away your coveted old books. I don’t have Covid-19. Don’t worry. This kind of stuff just puts things in perspective not to mention all the time your mind’s got to worry and make sense of stuff.
I hope you’re all doing well at home. I am sure this is one of the strangest times we’ve inhabited in our lives. What was my normal everyday life yesterday is dangerous, irresponsible and almost illegal today. Going to the movies, playing a game of badminton, shopping, ordering a pizza, sharing a drink, going to office, meeting my friends, going out for sushi, going to the gym, going for a walk, going to the mall, going out.
I knew the moment they announced that they’re closing the theatres that shit was real. To each his own. Once all the lockdown is over and the virus is gone and all is well, what’s the first thing you’d do? I’ll head to the theatre. My sister would run to the parlour to get her eyebrows done. Our mum would relax that we’re finally out of the house.
It’s easy to imagine COVID-19 as one of your ultra-conservative, regressive whatsapp friends. I am sure everyone has one of these types among their family or friends. This is the type of person who sends you forwards urging you to buy from the old ladies in your neighbourhood instead of the chain stores. COVID-19 is that person. He doesn’t like all this excessive shopping and spending, malls, eating out, watching movies at the theatres. “Stay home with family and cook for yourselves.” – he seems to say. Working out at the gym is unnecessary when you can get all your exercise at home. Sweep, wipe, mop, wash and scrub. Do it yourself. I don’t think I’ll get along with this guy.
These are testing times in more ways than one. Among other things, it’s a test of if you can cook for yourself without poisoning yourself. This is it. No swiggy, no Zomato nothing. I know its bad manners to say “I told you so” especially at a time like this but I can’t resist. Cooking is the most fundamental life skill that you’ll ever learn. Foraging for food in the woods, catching fish from the river or pitching a tent can come later. Your mummy or a sweet blogger (like me) can teach you more important stuff now than Bear Grylls ever will.
This post is not a list of all the things you can during this god-bestowed curfew that you’ve not been doing so far – cleaning the house, decluttering, exercising and bonding with family although I may have forwarded something like that on whatsapp. While it’s nice and well-meaning to list down such things and share with everyone, it’s also important to note that if I had that kind of over-achieving self-discipline and focus I’d be slim, would have written a book, started a restaurant business and become famous. That’s what separates all the aspirants from the achievers, plain old discipline.
I am a working mom for a reason. I cannot wake up at a decent time if I don’t have to be someplace at some time. I see no reason to brush my hair or dress decently now. Today for work-from-home I wore the over-sized yellow and white striped T-shirt I’d gifted Jagan for his birthday which he never wore because he said it made him look like a giant boiled egg. I wore it to needle him. He seemed unperturbed. He laughed at me. My manager who insisted on a skype video call must have repented his decision instantly. I knew he wanted to say that I looked like a Vada Chennai area gal out to get water from the roadside pump but resisted. He may not insist on video calls going forward. I am figuring out this work-from-home scheme everyday.
This lockdown is also a test of how much tolerance you can muster for your family. It is unreasonable to expect people to stay in confinement with their families for extended periods of time especially because you’re expected to want it, to enjoy it. This formula is totally wrong. It’s just like in love. You want to spend more and more time together when you’re falling in love but once you’re in love, you need to pull away a bit to keep the interest, sanity and fire intact. Same with marriage, same with family. The success of a family, marriage, relationship hinges on the optimum amount of time and space away from it. Follow Modi ji’s advice of staying away from each other even inside the house if you want this to work.
I never knew I was not a homebody. I always felt at home at home without a plan. That is only as long as it is out of my own free will. I may love to sit idle but I don’t want anyone telling me to sit idle. All you vigilantes out there, don’t tip the cops off to come and whip my ass. I am exercising my right to talk my mind, from my recliner.
I hope to write more in the coming days, and be as uncensored, irreverent and honest as I can. I’d love to hear what you’re all up to at home. Wishing you all health, sanity and tolerance!