Lockdown Post 2: Are You Safe And Sane?

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For someone who blogs regularly, it is difficult to not blog at all.

But it is difficult to choose a topic during lockdown. Sometimes I feel like writing about something and then I wonder is the topic even worthy of a discussion during the lockdown ? Because the truth is all we think about is corona! After avoiding to talk about corona for fear of spreading negativity, came post 1. Here is the second post in the series.

Few random thoughts:

1. Sanitization

It happened more than once that I tried to wash a newly purchased packet of rice / something else with water and soap and the water went inside. This was followed by leaving the contaminated product out in the sun if the damage could be mitigated (in case of rice) or throwing it out completely (in case of Maggi). I mourned for quite some time as everything is precious and scarce these days. The sanitization itself is an additional chore, and also its aftermath.

2. Fruits anyone?

I have stopped buying fruits. With vegetables, at least you have the consolation that you can cook them. With fruits, no matter how much you wash you will still feel scared. Not you, I mean people like me who are paranoid. Fruits and salad were part of my daily routine. I am missing them. Also missing sunlight and walks. I am having rice twice a day because I am too lazy to make roti on a daily basis. I do make puri or paratha occasionally.

3. Fried stuff

Nice things like chicken nuggets were out of stock on Milkbasket for the longest time. Then one day I discovered that it was available. So were frozen French fries, veg nuggets, sausages. I ordered those because I was so tired of my cooking and wanted something ‘nice’. I usually never keep such stuff at home. I buy it for parties only. But this has become a habit now. My partner and I have tea in the evening and he either fries these frozen things or makes some pakodas. Today, I decided to skip the evening snack. Thought this was an unhealthy habit to indulge in. But I started feeling hungry, and then gave in to the temptation. I felt  that maybe I should just worry about staying sane these days and if anything is helping like chicken nuggets or vodka so be it! (This thought keeps changing depending on how free I am. Sometimes I reflect upon long terms effects on health and other times I just think that I should worry about surviving corona for now).

4. Maids and cooks

I so badly want to call them. But I am too scared. I will wait. Maybe I will think about it after June. In every society whatsapp group, everybody has been fighting on this topic. My maid made the dilemma simple by announcing that she does not plan to work in my building anymore! Apparently, she got new jobs during lockdown and decided to fire her least favourite employer! I don’t know how I will find a new maid in lockdown! The corona induction which will be challenging even for an existing maid will now become even more challenging with a new person. This time, I was smart and instead of asking on the society whatsapp group and getting judged, I directly checked on Mygate to see which maids are coming. I managed to do an interview on the phone and got a new recruit who may tentatively join from June 1st. The maid’s husband who was helping with the translation told me that she will work for a month and then “decide” if she wishes to continue!! Beggar me cannot be a chooser so be it! I will have to be on my best behavior for that one month and control my corona OCD and regular OCD if I want the maid to consider me after her one month probation!

5. Exercise

I have a cross trainer at home which I had not been using in a while. I have finally started working out regularly. But sometimes my energy is so low, and I get tired easily. I get breathless. Then I wonder if the breathlessness is because of the exercise, or corona! After I torture myself with that thought for some time, I move on to make dinner and worry about getting corona from vegetables!

6. Cooking

A lazy and incompetent person’s daily menu looks like – khichdi, tehri, pasta, fried rice, maggi, repeat! I think I already mentioned that I am making rice twice a day in some form because roti is too much effort. Pre-lockdown I ate lots of green vegetables. Now paneer is the savior and potato has become a staple. I have realized cleaning green vegetables is such a task, and my partner never liked them anyway. So let’s just stick to chhole, paneer, aloo.

Chicken gravy is suddenly not that appealing as I have to be the one cleaning chicken. It reminds me of some twenty years ago when our family had moved to New York. My mother used to get the whole chicken and clean it and cut it and after doing all of that, who would look forward to eating it! Now I can understand that was probably the time she stopped eating chicken completely. She cannot even eat it in a milder form like nuggets! Of course, we are responsible for it!

The cooking and the impact it has on a couple’s life inspired me to write a short story, ‘Marriages are made in kitchen’ which I published on Kindle.

7. Netflix / Amazon Prime/ Hotstar

I have been watching Homeland. I do not watch much of anything else as my attention span is low. I do find myself playing songs on Tata sky – 9XM, B4U music, and MTV beats a lot and put on Crime Patrol on Sony while doing my work. It reminds me of the time I studied for my CA exams, and I needed some noise so I used to put on music or some channel which I was not really watching but it used to be on.

Speaking of CA Exams, I had a dream recently that I failed it. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant eight years ago, but I continued to dream about failing it even after passing the exam. The only difference is I had this dream after a long time, maybe after 1-2 years. The hopelessness I feel in those dreams is always very real and when I wake up, it gives me great relief to realize that I am a CA. I have also been dreaming about getting admission in a college!  My partner finds this very funny. Because of my father’s constant transfers, getting admission into a new school was a common thing for me, and I always dreamt about being in a cool school / college / institution. But those dreams stopped once I finished college.  I also had a dream about meeting guys for marriage! There was no guy in the dream just the process (Again my partner finds this amusing. He says he doesn’t dream about such things. Rather, he doesn’t even remember what he dreams). And today morning I dreamt that my father was asking me to come home, and telling me my mother was waiting for me and I told him I was having ‘difficulty’ travelling. When I woke up, I was completely confused. Which city was I in? Which city were my parents in? Why was I not visiting them?

I guess the lockdown has ripped us all of our identities. Who are we? Where are we? What are we doing? What stage of life are we at? The subconscious mind is trying its best to place us somewhere in our life. It has no idea of the future. So it has returned to past.

8. Thappad movie

Some of you have mailed me to write about the movie. I have watched it but honestly I did not find it too convincing. There was a video that Tapsee made for promotion wearing a purple salwar kamiz in which she is talking about some taunts we may heard before – Something like thappad ki salami. I found that video better than the movie. I will write about the movie some day. Like I said, I am finding it difficult to focus on anything.

9. Way of life

I watched some viral videos wherein they say that work from home will become the norm. Companies will realize that the rent was unnecessary all along. People may move to smaller towns since working in big cities will no longer be attractive. Of course, even if this is true it will be a gradual process. But still, it is scary. Working from home especially for women in India is so challenging. Some stay with in-laws and have enough to deal with. Even if that’s not the case, the expectation is that the woman should do all the house work and take care of everyone. Going to office, meeting friends, stepping out makes the day livable!

It was nice to wear nice clothes, put on lipstick, meet people as opposed to changing from one pyjama to another! Hope the world as we knew it does not change drastically once all this is over (whenever that would be).

So this is it for now. Please share your thoughts. Would love to know what’s keeping you going.

P.S. Title Courtesy: My sister who told me that in the U.S. when they are emailing, they are writing ‘Trust you are safe and sane’.  I told her here we just write, ‘Trust you are safe.’

Sanity was a luxury even pre corona…

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