As the Corona pandemic pans out in its full fury, life has been turned upside down by the 21 day forced lockdown. Something like Work From Home (WFH) which one always wished for, has suddenly become a reality and is likely to be the norm for 1 more month at the least. At home too, the routine has gone for a toss. Work At Home (WAH), the alter ego of WFH, which started as a novelty has now become the norm. My daily routine used to start with waking up @ 5:40 am and leaving home by 6 am for a group exercises with my Dr wife, 6:15-7:15 am being our slot by a sea-side lookout which has the Worli-Bandra sealink on the horizon. Once done, we would take a 15 min leisurely walk home along the beachside promenade. Then dig into the waiting newspaper before dashing to have bath by 8 am. The post bath routine would involve breakfast at the table by 8:45 am served with a hot filter coffee ( all cooked and made ready by our house maid) leaving just enough time for us to catch up to exchange notes on our respective schedules for the day before leaving for our respective places of work (Office for me and Clinic for her).
Due to the lockdown with no house help available, the above morning routine has now been replaced with getting up at 6:30 am followed by some self exercises at home till 7:15 am, followed by part of the household chores allotted to the man of the house viz sweeping/ mopping the floors, picking up the washed clothes from the washing machine to be put up on the drying lines. This is followed by a quick bath as my Dr wife hits the kitchen to put together a breakfast on the table. Post bath, I get back to my kitchen duties to get the filter coffee ready for breakfast. Breakfast table discussions now cover some very critical topics like planning for chores such as vegetables and daily provisions to be got from the market. Since the lock down is on, post breakfast, I get into my WFH routine, while the Work At Home (WAH) routine continues for my wife. WAH for her involves being in the kitchen to prepare lunch, setting the washing machine followed by a bath. Since it is lockdown time, our daughter is back with us, Thank God for some mercies, which means we have another helping hand available.
So far this is just the morning routine. For my wife by the time the morning routine is done, its almost time for lunch, which is followed by getting the vessels done. Post vessels, she gets some well deserved break during which she starts planning for the dinner and visits to the market for provisions. Fortunately for us we live in a society with a walking track around the compound and a beach front with a luxurious view of the Sea-link. While continue to maintain social distancing , this allows us to stretch our legs or bike around as we enjoy sea breeze and some fresh air.
While the above might seem like drudgery, some of the positives so far are #1 having more than fair share of my WFH wish being fulfilled #2 getting to be in bed for nearly 1 hour extra and of course #3 NO commute to office. Amongst the other softer positives being more family time (my daughter is also back from her hostel at the Med school) and more time getting to know our neighbours. I got to know more about our co-residents. Someone with whom I used to be on smiling terms, I got to know a little better. He heads the IT at The Tata Trust and he volunteered to share the effort underway at the Trust to set up ERP like systems to monitor effectiveness of the CSR funds, another who works with Deloitte explained how the government is putting out a quick response online website with the help of Deloitte to track CoVid patients and facilitate community tracing through information capture, while a marine engineer friend was proactively preparing for a BCP just in case the colony utilities support staff can’t make it to work due to the lockdown. We have been keeping our spirits high through quarantine catchups on Zoom with friends and sometimes joining in on the morning fitness training virtual sessions on Zoom with our fitness group.
As the lockdown extends, we are getting ready to face more complex situations like for example we now have the Security guards and sweepers staying away with no replacements. This has a very distinct possibility of leading to a breakdown in our society utilities infrastructure as the guards besides manning the gates are also entrusted with misc. responsibilities like powering on the water pump to get the municipal water pumped into the overhead tanks, watering the garden etc. Residents are volunteering to take up slots to full fill some of these duties including cleaning staircases, landings and lift. The Society gates are being closed down at 8 pm with residents being allowed to exit post 8 pm only for emergency movement. A Doctor friends’ entire building has got sealed leading to a forced quarantine for all the residents due one of the building neighbours having tested positive.
In another instance, one of our acquaintances lost his ailing father couple of days back. Due to the lock down none of their relatives/ friends could attend the last rites. They actually counted themselves lucky to have found at least a brahmin to complete the last rites at the crematorium.
In these tough times, you will notice from the link below, online searches are showing interesting trends. Demand surge is being witnessed for DIY sites be it cooking, haircuts or online fitness, guitar classes, dance classes, demand for yoga mats, resistance bands, pull up bars , telemedicine, downloads for Microsoft team, Face time, Zoom etc are up.
To keep up the creativity beyond the online stuff, my wife has taken up an initiative alongwith her like minded schoolmates to form a group of 6-7 with a flair for marathi literature. It is called KoKaLi (Kovit Kalatil Likhaan or Poems during CoVid Times) – an initiative to write poems through collaboration.It goes like this – A member sets the ball rolling by writing the first line of the Poem which is to be followed by another member on the group contributing the next line. This goes on till everyone on the group has had his turn and then this is repeated twice over. The title for the poem is given basis the theme that emerges at the end out of the collaboration.
WhatsApp groups are going into overdrive with memes doing rounds attempting to bring smiles to keep the spirits high !! Here is a link to the meme on the Sound of Music song https://youtu.be/Y5ky69T5zig
What started as a novel and fun way to while time around 10 days back with people proudly sharing videos and photos of WAH, now with no end in sight, has started to look bleak , with everyday bringing in some new challenges as times start getting tough.
Its time to reboot and forget atleast for some more time, the erstwhile daily routines till everyone adjusts to the new world order as life is set to change for ever.
Stay home and you will stay safe. Cheers !!!