What do I write about Covid-19 & the lock-down that hasn’t already been written? It is scary, China sucks, the World is shut, nature is breathing, the ozone is healing, wild animals are coming out on otherwise busy urban streets, work from home is draining, sleep cycles are messed up, mental health issues are rising, there’s no motivation, economy is bad, people are getting pay-cuts & even losing their jobs. Hmph! A lot has happened since Coronavirus first came into our lives back in December 2019. The year started off on a rather boring note for me too, personally. At the risk of sounding self-centered (but also wanting to write something different) I am going to make this blog all about MY lock-down experience.
I believe that the first day of anything – say a new job, a new year, or your mood in the first few moments of your day lays out a premise of how the rest of it is going to pan out. Especially, in my case, the 1st of January is super important because it is also my birthday. The way I spend the first day of my year usually sets the tone for how my whole year is going to be.
This year, unlike any other ones before, I was not very keen on celebrating either the birthday or the New Year. I hesitantly cut a cake at midnight in the presence of some family friends and slept off with a sad & disappointed feeling (I don’t remember why) only to wake up to attend a family function. I did sneak out for a drink with my friends later, but it was still not very interesting. I should have foreseen it. This birthday – the first day of the year set the tone for how sad and disappointing the entire year was going to be. And here we all are, locked down in our own houses for the last 65 days. That brings me to the point of how I’ve spent the lock-down so far. Let’s dive into it.
I decided to work from home before the lock-down was officially announced. I was paranoid after reading that people with weak lungs and compromised immune systems were at high risk. I remember panic-texting all my friends. It took me a couple of days to relax & realize that it wasn’t as scary as I had thought. I just needed to follow some basic sanitization, maintain social distancing & I would be okay (yes, re-iterating it!)
The first lockdown, which back then we thought (or at least I did) was going to be the only lockdown, was announced. 21 days of not stepping out seemed like the most horrifying thing at the moment. It was announced without any warning & that left me no time to run home to my parents’ place. I decided to stay put but it was really difficult to work from home considering I had zero internet. It had been only 15 days since I had moved into my new apartment. Nothing was set up other than my bed and kitchen. So, after much deliberation, I decided to move where my flatmate was temporarily staying – her friend’s place, to get Wi-Fi and efficiently work from home.
The three of us tried to make it work for 15 days, but the news that the lock-down might be extended further started bothering me. I started slacking off at work and having sleepless nights. I think it was the loneliness that gradually made me get out of there. I moved back to my apartment (which is just 2 kms away so I didn’t break any rule, okay? :P)
Once I got back to my house, I realized that the loneliness was not about being alone, but I had actually been missing the comfort of my belongings & my room. The change of surrounding marked phase 2 of the lock-down for me. Of course, the overall situation was sad & the internet was bad but it seemed manageable. I started cooking for myself, did my dishes, washed my clothes and even managed a 7 to 8-hour work day, every day. I read books, watched movies, and to my Dad’s surprise, I even started working out (he claims that I am the most anti-exercise person he has ever seen). With all the time in my hand, I even started playing mobile games – a PUBG hater turned into an addict. I didn’t have any time to feel bad/ sad about the pandemic or even feel lonely. I was in-fact enjoying this lifestyle of doing things as I pleased. For the first time ever, I enjoyed living by myself without getting bored. I reveled in my own company. I started eating healthy, took a lot of tiny breaks for fruits & juices, made cold coffee, buttermilk & what not. I felt content to have become so independent. I would send photos of all meals I made to my parents and they would be super proud of how well I was taking care of myself (for being a lazy-ass all my life, this was a surprisingly huge achievement for all of us). Guess I was learning how to adult pretty well!?
This routine lasted for approx. 40 days when phase 3 of my lock-down began. I found out that an old friend from school was arranging travel for people who were stranded in cities away from their families. Well, I wouldn’t call myself stranded, but it was the longest I had gone without seeing Mom and Dad. They had been missing me too & had tried to come get me, but the curfew was strict & their plans had turned blue. So I decided to surprise them. I got a travel pass and with the help of this friend, who arranged a car, I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon to a shocked, astonished and overjoyed Dad. His reaction video is gold. Mom was at work, so we video called her and for the longest time she wasn’t ready to believe that I had really come home. She thought Dad and I were fooling her with some app or a pre-recorded video. I don’t even know how that is possible. Her imagination is beyond me. Haha!
So, being home has been extremely relaxing. For the first two nights, I slept for 11 hours straight, even took afternoon naps. Although I had enjoyed cooking my own meals, devouring mom-made ones has been comforting. My self-sufficient routine has nicely gone for a toss. I have started waking up late, hogging on a lot of food (including the delicious aamras) and cuddling with my pet cat Mau every chance I get. But thanks to my fitness-freak & workaholic parents (who have been working 10 hours or more every day, and exercising regularly) I haven’t had the will to laze around or procrastinate my work. After churning out a good 7-8 hour work day, I have been ‘trying to’ regularly exercise with them.
To be honest, being home is great and all but I also miss my phase 2 of living alone. I am also certain that when I get back to Mumbai and resume my daily routine, I am going to miss being home with my family. I mean, I can’t wait for everything to fall back to normal and return to my apartment, but I don’t want to leave here either. Kinda complicated and confused, so imma just leave it at that.
Until next time.
Cover image credits: Anna Abola ‘ The Sound of Your Voice’ Love her work!