Day 11- Better days

Heard this just I opened the page to type.

 

I am happy for the life I have lived thus far. I’ve not had less, nor more. Just enough, of everything; laughter, joy, pain, love, gauntlets, triumphs. Do I regret my choices? If I’m being honest, no. Could I have done things differently? I do not think so. Is my current actuality less than satisfactory? Considering the default human condition, it is absolutely stellar. Do I wish for better? Unfortunately, my humaness warrants that I do.

Till next time,

J

P.S. This is a car song without a doubt (wait…for the beat to kick in). In hope of my next rainy, road trip, once all this is over, I bid good night. Stay safe folks!

 

Day 10- Pursuits less worthy?

10 days

  1. Frozen 2 X 3 (maternal obligation)
  2. Frozen 1 (torture)
  3. Black hawk down
  4. Olympus has fallen
  5. London has fallen (obviously)
  6. Ayyappanum Koshiyum
  7. Action hero Biju (revisit)
  8. Bala
  9. John Wick
  10. A quiet place
  11. Triple frontier
  12. The Witcher- Season 1
  13. The dark knight trilogy (again!)
  14. Sherlock Holmes
  15. Elementary – random episodes
  16. Lucifer- random episodes

10 days.

  1. The anarchy
  2. On hundred years of solitude (again, after ages)
  3. My seditious heart
  4. All the light we cannot see
  5. The Witcher- The last wish
  6. Ruin and rising (Grishaverse book 3)

 

Till next time,

J

 

 

 

Day 9-Cleaning the day away

As a household, we all woke up about two hours later than usual. Besieged by lassitude, we delayed the most basic of tasks. Z did not want to brush, Boss Man refused his morning repast. Me, I wanted to cease to exist for a day. Pause. Freeze.

It was just that kind of day.

We trudged on. I sat down with the little ones with their worksheets and art supplies. The A man usually flays the sheets in about 6 mins. Today, he didn’t bother. He was done with this crap that Mum was enforcing upon him. Z and I engaged in a battle of wills and like always I had to relent. We were done. At 1130 hrs. The day hadn’t even began.

I switched the TV on, and even rescued the iPad from the monster’s lair (where it disappears to most days when I don’t want them to be glued to it!) and passed out on the couch. I have not been sleeping well of late. Must be that, I thought.

The progeny had leftovers for lunch. I felt like sugary cereal and cold milk.

It was just that kind of day.

And then I got to work. Maybe the sugar rush helped. *See, even sugar isn’t truly evil.* I had to rid myself of this weird and inexplicable fuddle.

I cleared the toys. Sorted the overabundant crayons, color pencils, sketch pens and pastels. Chucked a whole lot of them into the bin. Arranged every book rack in the house (trust me there are more than you’d expect).Mopped, vacuumed. Dusted every surface. Shined every mirror and glass. Changed the sheets. Washed every sink. Scrubbed every bathroom wall and scoured the floors.

I cleansed and decluttered. It tidied both my home and mind apparently. I cleared the cobwebs from the ceilings and also my brain it looks like. My hands are pruney and my back is sore. But The Needle has stymied it’s relentless push toward despondence. I successfully cleaned the day away, literally and figuratively.

The children are fed and watered. We are alive. Productivity and routines can take a break. Sometimes, all we have to do is get by.

Sometimes, it’s just that kind of day.

Till next time,

J

Day 8- WhatsApp fuckery!

My post today is going to be be a tad different. I’m a very hesitant user of WhatsApp. For several reasons. But I must admit, it has it’s uses. And of the millions (of course I exaggerate, or do I?) of messages and forwards I receive, I do not usually bother with the forwards. But sometimes, I get riled up. I did so today.

I think I need to share it.

This was the forwarded message-

Amazon, they use to give full two pages advertisement in all newspapers. Flipkart, don’t know how many times they celebrated Big Billion Days in a year. They flooded with Chinese products to Indian market. Sold them and made huge money.

Big Basket, Grofferrs, their notifications was ringing every hour till last week. Malls, Super Markets, Big Bazaar. Where are they now? They stopped all services! No delivery at all. Tomorrow when dust settles they will come again with 20-30% discount sales. We forget what they did in these difficult times and go again to online and super market. Think again!

Who helped us during this tough time? Our own street Grocery storewala. He is supplying grocery and necessary stuff in this lock down period. The milkman is supplying milk everyday. He has not shut his service and ran away. That small vegetable shop run by lady is still open. Don’t know from where she is bringing vegetable but she is feeding us. Will you forget this help?

I will not. I have decided henceforth I will not go to Amazon, Flipkart, Grofferrs or Big Basket. No malls, no super market. I will shop in Kirana store, local dairy and small vegetable shop which helped my family to survive. It’s okay I will spend some more ruppes. But I will not forget what they have done for me and my family.

Thanks 🙏

( Don’t know who penned this but a point to note )

And this was my hastily, almost subconscious, frenzied reply. Copied and pasted. Not even edited for grammar or spelling.

I have ruminated for a while before replying to this. Please do not be offended, or take this personally. You guys must have noticed that I am quite reticent on WhatsApp. My replies are abysmally delayed, and a forward from me probably means I’m sick or delusional. But sometimes, replies are warranted, even to errant forwards from strangers.

The quantum of misinformation and rubbish that we are bombarded with on the daily, on this very useful platform is mind- numbing. Generally, I consider it a nuisance, but now I realize that daily shots of this, even in minute doses is enough for mass indoctrination and amplified mob frenzy. To make matters worse, our current political climate seems to fuel the mania.

I urge you all to read, from every source you can. Widen you horizons, wisen up on local, national and international matters. Have a world view. We are all (on this group at least) people of science no?

Consume from the left media, the right wing, the centre, middle- every fucking publication and media if you have to . Look for evidence, not conjecture. Start looking at news as you would a scientific paper. What level of evidence is it? Among the five (or six, or seven) levels, Whatsapp in my humble opinion is level 100. Worse than nothing.

Or you could chose not to know at all. Forget the media and their endless rambles. The screechy voices and sketchy on field reporters. The journalists who can’t string a sentence together. (Would I be allowed to work if I couldn’t place a suture?) The 24 hr ballyhoo. Be blissfully ignorant, and therefore happy. And, also not have a WhatsApp account.

Let us look at this seemingly innocuous forward for example. To put the record straight- I am one of those who orders extensively online. It makes my life a lot easier, trust me. And the past week has been hard. I first ordered on Amazon Fresh (where the delivery window is 2 hours) on Saturday evening (a day before the curfew), and received a slot for the next Wednesday! I knew then, that this was a portend for things to come. My orders have all since been cancelled, and not by me. Today an email said, deliveries for essential items have resumed in my area. I went online- no luck! System errors it said, then ‘no delivery slots’ apparently. Of course I was gutted, irritated. Suddenly Amazon is the enemy no? Of course, beat the beaten dog to death!

Amazon is a multi- national, billion- dollar, corporate giant. With almost a million directly employed employees and several more indirectly employed. Does any sane man/ woman believe they do NOT want profit at this time? When ecommerce orders have jumped exponentially. During the good times, they could offer massive sales and offers and quick deliveries due to their gargantuam stockpiles and armies of warehouse and delivery workers. The warehouses and stocks are worth shit if the workers can’t show up or if they are beaten half to death on the way to the homes of their consumers! Also, the term “essential” item is a minefield. Ask the folks who run the companies. (I could elaborate, but that would be too much)

Other countries who have been hit by COVID-19 worse than us, especially the US and UK are still quite reliant on ecommerce suppliers. They consider them life- savers. They write up thank you plaques outside their doors for these folks who get them their milk and bread. They are no less heroic to them than any ER nurse or physician.

Why are we suffering then?

The answer is always the same no. Inadequate, or worse- wrong information handed to the folks in the field. Mismanagement, political shilly-shally, and many a time , ignorant or fanatical idiots at the helm.

As for the kirana shops, I do not doubt that at least some of them have altruistic intentions; but the majority are here to do what everyone else wants to. Make a quick buck, make hay while the sun shines. Exactly like the ones who hoard masks and sanitizers and sell them at exorbitant prices. Prices for essential commodities have been artificially risen to upto 70% in some instances. Again, this is multi- factorial, and not entirely of their making, yet they do play a part. They behave in a patronising manner, refuse to provide bills in some instances, refuse to serve customers who question them, refuse to give items that were asked for (in those shops where the customers wait outside, and lists are handed over to the employees)

Do not get me wrong here, I am not trying to glorify the giant corporations or vilify our poor, small traders, my grouse is with this “shooting from our arses” mentality. Where everyone with a fuckall WhatsApp account is an expert.

Please, I beg of you my lovely, smart , intelligent ladies. Let us pledge to screen every message and forward, scrutinise every “fact” and second guess every image and video before we mass circulate this. Let us not let idiots and imbeciles insult our intellects this way.

I apologise for my rant. I wouldn’t say this anywhere else; except to MY people.

P.S. My milkman is a super star. That IS a scientifically proven fact.

What say, just a tad too much?

Till next time,

J

 

 

Day 7- The disquiet returns

12.58 AM. The night is still. It is neither hot, nor cold. That odd, middling temperature, that is comfortless due to it’s neutrality. The friendly, calming air currents of the last few days are conspicuous by their absence. The ceiling fan does try it’s best, with it’s familiar, cantankerous whirr. The mind tries to mirror it, with it’s own constant buzz. The buzz of discomposure.

I knew this would be an undulating path. The ups and downs were expected. But expectation does not equate to preparedness. The ups are fun, and the down is well, unpleasant. To say the least.

Time has taught me a few tricks though; to overcome this disquiet that often rears it ugly head. I plan to use one of those today- watch all- out action flicks. One man demolition shows, epic war sagas, neo- noir gore movies, end- of- the world stories- I shall take them all, thank you very much. *Not sure what that says about my mental composition*

The worksheets for tomorrow aren’t printed. The water bottles are not filled. The work- out clothes are not laid  out. The alarm is not set. Also, I refuse to do any work related stuff today. I might even break my one cardinal rule of the night (no snacking!) tonight.

So off I go folks. John Wick awaits; all three of him. And maybe some frozen yogurt.

Till next time.

J.

 

 

Day 6- A tranquil apocalypse

Does’t this feel like the proverbial calm before the storm? Do you sense the worse is yet to come. Like we are seated to watch a blockbuster movie, and the pre- movie trailers and adverts keep running on. If this is truly an apocalypse, it’s seems quite tranquil at the moment no?

I had a neighbour knock at our door today, she stood a metre away from our doorstep and asked if I knew where one can get tested for The Virus. She then went on to talk about how she couldn’t wait for these 21 days to be over. Ah! Naive optimism or blissful ignorance?

I do not have a clue as to what might happen in the coming weeks. Nobody truly does. We can make scientific conjectures, historical predictions; but they are all guesses. Italy and India had their first reported cases at about the same time. Granted, they have tested about half a million people, while we have less than 30,000. Yet, the picture seems curiously suspect. I feel like we are heading to the edge of a precipice- the path to which is flat and non- threatening but at the endpoint of which we are met with a yawning bottomless depth. I hope I’m wrong, I’m but a pessimist after all.

Anyhoo, for now I shall describe something so mundane that it may momentarily confound your cognition into forgetting The Blockbuster Mr COVID-19.


How am I coping with my fitness fervour you ask? Not as bad as expected to be honest. Yes, I have not had a barbell on my back for precisely 17 days now. *Has it been only that long since?* I have not run for 10 days. I have not even taken my bicycle out for my *now rare* grocery runs *and risk having a lathi thrown at my back, no questions asked!*.

Ugh, the early days were hard. But the withdrawal symptoms are abating. Also, about ten days ago, I was at wit’s end in terms of keeping the progeny engaged. I ended up searching for a box of games from my childhood days *Domino, UNO, BUSINESS?* and lo and behold, I found a couple of rusty, squeaky dumbells. The heaviest being 15 kilos, I think. That, coupled with some resistance bands, the kids play mat, my night stand and an Ikea stool- boy am I sore!

The beauty of strife, is that it strips life down to the basics. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and my family is safe. The rest, we shall deal with as they come. If people can get jacked in prison, who am I to whine for not having access to a squat rack. So my friend, we shall get ripped in quarantine. No more obsessing over lift numbers, nay. My goals now are:-

  1. Increase push up strength. Do more and do it better
  2. Master the pistol squat (almost there, just working on the ROM)
  3. And try and keep as much of the gains as possible. Strength can be regained back quite quickly.
  4. And try to do this-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GMr8xV4IY4&t=51s

I have hacked a lot of exercises, and am really having fun with fitness again. I wish I had one of those pull- up bars though. Also, maybe a pair of heavier (20 kgs+ anyone?) dumbbells/ kettlebells. Why can’t a human ever be satisfied?

Oh yes, and also; the progeny have PE time everyday as well. I do the half an hour with them. It’s a perfect warm up for me, as its a good one to get the heart rate up and get a light sweat on.  It’s insane, chaotic, very noisy but loads of fun and giggles. We all like to follow the Joe Wicks kids workouts on YouTube. Trust me, when done with the right heart, these are not as east as they might look to the physically uninitiated!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay fit folks!

Till next time.

J.

 

Day 5- Only?

Has it only been 5 days? Weekday morning rush and night- time scraps; memories of a couple of weeks ago, are paling already. Amazing, truly!

Normal workdays for me, are days in which my time is not mine. I’m either sorting the kids out, or engaged completely and wholly with a patient- conscious ones in the OPD and unconscious ones in the OR. I live on flecks of me- time. Venting to friends or catching up on audiobooks in the car. Reading the newspaper in OR while the patient is being intubated. You get the drift.

I have been craving a holiday. A true vacation, one where I don’t have to pack for four or worry about baby food and diarrhoea. Where I don’t have to come back and catch up on laundry or make up on- calls at the hospital.

I am not downplaying these difficult times. The human loss, the economic ramifications- the consequences of this pandemic are going to be far- reaching and unprecedented. Time will tell if the world will ever be the same again. I understand that.

But there is this small part of my brain, who doesn’t. That part sees how happy Lil Z and Boss Man are to have their Mum to themselves. All day. It senses their relief when they wake up and find Mum passed out beside them. It relishes the late- mornings, and the cuddles and leisurely coffee and newspaper stints at the balcony. That brainling, also loves the fact that we are longer dictated by the clock. We sleep when tired, wake up when we are bored of sleeping. We eat when hungry.

Z and I are not morning people, and now we are not forced to be. Boss Man likes to zip around the house in his pyjamas post 10PM- this is his ‘me time’, sans his bossy sister. And now he can do so.

The trees and creatures outside must be savouring this brief respite. Wondering where all the ruinous, wasteful humans have disappeared to.

Tomorrow I shall mourn my lost time and money. Cry about being stuck here when I should be settling in to my new home. Grieving for the family that is broken at a time when we should be together. Blaming destiny and governments and fellow people.

Today, I shall be grateful for small mercies. For this time off from the hamster wheel. For a breather that I so desperately needed, even if it involves being occasionally smothered by anxiety.

Tomorrow, I will watch with trepidation as the death toll rises across Europe. And as the disease ravages the so called leader- of- the- free- world. I shall cringe when BBC tells me that cow urine is not a remedy. I will wonder how many thousands are truly infected in my country, considering our meagre testing capabilities. I will worry about the lack of true initiative and preparedness in India, lockdown not withstanding.

Today, I will go to bed thinking of the scientists world over; staying up in fluorescent labs; pouring over microscopes. Of an emergency room nurse; taking on an extra shift as another one of her co- workers is taken by the darned COVID19. Of leaders and visionaries who are not politicians. Of doctors and nurses, and nursing assistants, and lab workers; of sanitation workers , and housekeeping staff. A prayer might escape, from this mind that often battles with agnosticism.

I will go to bed hopeful.

Till next time,

J

Day 4- Routines and rituals.

Purveyors of chaos often sustain life day-to-day by forcing themselves into routines and rituals. Routines by nature of their predictability are safe, controlled, becalming. Chaos and uncertainty can be exciting, thrilling, glamorous even. But it generally breeds anxiety.

I truly learnt the practicality of setting routines only after I had my first child. Until then, life was ever dynamic. No two days ever the same. Bedlam, some called it. I thought I revelled in it; but it came with a price. My sanity.

So now, on busy, short- handed, stressful days; I take refuge in my routines and rituals. Current times are odd and indefinite. Children may not voice their anxieties, but they sense our fear and have an innate ability to absorb doubts and uncertainties. Vacation plans cancelled, Dad away, unable to go out and meet friends, art classes suspended, schools called to a close abruptly. Everything’s different. I try to tell them that things are different, but they are temporary (I hope!).

We have a time- table for the day. We pretend to go to school – the guest bedroom. We pack snacks and water. We have PE class everyday. We have art and craft time. TV time. iPad time. And the past week has been a successful exercise in containing what could have been a disaster.

I am bored. This was the catch phrase of the weeks past. Ever since schools shut. Brother and sister fight all day, everyday. The fight ends only when one gets significantly hurt. Scratches, welts, bruises- even drew blood a few times. The television was a sore spot. How much to watch, what to watch, who keeps the remote in hand. I was fight referee, TV police, food enforcer, bath- time peacekeeper and “boredom relief committee”- all put together.

I am still all of those. But at least the routines have helped me ‘flatten the curve’. And therefore I can deal with the situation a little better. Put my mental faculties to better use.

Hope we make it out of this in one piece folks!

Till next time,

J.

Day 3- The new normal.

01:31 am. The kids were down by 10:30. I have been dilly- dallying, putting off coming to my desk. Faffing about on Netflix, Youtube, Prime, Hotstar; what have you. My pre- COVID life had minimal to no spare space for such luxuries. But the home quarantine/ lockdown life has it’s unexpected perks.

We have unsettlingly settled into the new normal. I went ahead and attempted a grocery run today. Stood in poorly drawn white little circles and waited for my turn. We handed in slips of hastily written item lists to the store employees who then picked out our stuff for us, while we stood in the sun, two- arm (P.T classes from school anyone?) distance from each other. Comic relief was provided by an old lady in a fancy mask haggling for a certain brand of “agarbathi” (incense sticks), and a gentleman being shown a different brand of “jhaadu” (Hindi for broom) every two minutes by a disgruntled employee. The gentleman clearly had strict instructions from the Missus.

Not everything I “needed” was available at the first store. So had to make a trip to another one. Same badly drawn circles, different modus operandi. Enter in small batches, and be timed. Here I saw another elderly woman who was pissed because the store refused to sell her 25 kgs of Tilda basmati rice. *Facepalm*

I came home with bit and bobs. Not what I needed or wanted. But, I cannot complain. We have food. I have decided to stretch whatever perishable food I have, till I can. I refuse to do this until I absolutely have to- a week from now maybe.

On a brighter note. Boss Baby turned 3 today! Almost a lil Boss Boy now. We baked a cake at home and Skyped Papa. Z who is 6 running 16 had unresolved issues from the afternoon, and in protest refused to partake in her brother’s stint in the spotlight. No presents, no fanfare, no fuss; Boss Boy cut up the entire cake with a knife in his left hand. Ate some, offered some to his Grandma and moved on with his life. That human is one cool dude!

Till next time,

J.

Day 2- The Needle and other inanities.

I’m often accused of verbosity. Of using thirty words when seven would suffice. Mea Culpa. But pray tell me, if a resource were infinite;  is there need to practice restraint. What has austerity of words ever accomplished. Silence can be a powerful weapon. And like any warrior of words, I know when to wield it. Verbiage ain’t no sin, but prolixity is. I hope I’m never charged of the latter.

Ugh! I digress.

Day 2, of being homebound or “locked- down” as described by current, trendy parlance . Fed and bathed the progeny and myself. Cleaned and played referee for most of the day. Got a badass upper body workout in, while the progeny tried to the tear the door down. Had an afternoon nap with the soon to be three year old (oh, oh- he turned three twenty minutes ago). Tea and biscuits on the balcony. I could get used to this.

I did not venture out today, though I contemplated it quite a few times. Every time I read a whatsapp message, or watched the news; I felt I was being told to stock up. Maybe tomorrow. Let’s see if my will lasts another day.

The Needle stayed put in the ‘happy to okay’ section. The Needle is a determinant/ measure of my mood and mien. The state of my mental workings at any point of time. It is tremendously variable, and the spectrum is truly spectacular. If my husband’s scale ranges from a mere 1 to 5. Mine is a an easy 1 to 100. External stimuli, internal triggers, hormonal fluctuation, diurnal variance, nutritional insufficiency; any and all may lead to  wild swings of the needle.

I consider it my biggest failing. Yet, it forces me to live life with a sort of intensity and vigour that is hard to describe to one that has never experienced it. Joy is like a thunderstorm with crackling thunder and blinding lightening. Misery is like a shroud of all encompassing darkness with cacophony of relentless thoughts that cannot be powered off. Anxiety is multiplied, so is productivity. It is a fabulous life, yet taxing in ways that cannot be easily understood. The Needle at a certain point can get one to run a marathon on a whim, read Lord of the Rings in a night. At another, it will refuse to let you get up for work.

Therefore, I need to keep my vision short. Not think too far. Not take The Needle for a ride. These are difficult times for everyone. Misery and pain, are unique. They cannot be quantified. It exists, it can be more or less in a theoretical sense. But for the person experiencing it, it is beyond comparison. A person may have broken every bone in his body. Or lost many loved ones. Yet the man next door with a broken finger or a dead cat is miserable as well.

Still, I keep telling myself that no matter how bad things get; it could alway be worse. Pleasant thoughts, eh?

My world is currently compressed. We have closed ranks. Shuttered ourselves in. Ironically, it’s currently only my kids, parents and I. As for Mr H, I worry. That is all I can do for now. Good thing is, I’m an expert at worrying.

Anyhoo, it has truly been a long- winded, inane post. Apologies for inflicting my verbosity on you poor souls!

Till next time,

J.