The Corona Times 23-03-2020

Well we’ve been at home, rather working from home, for the past week now. How’s it been? Not as difficult as I anticipated it would be. I’ve been working from home for a while and hence this is not new. What’s new is the kids school declared a holiday a month in advance which means vacations are now 3 months long and my husband is also working from home and the maids too (from theirs) 🙂 Haa haa… A lot of my friends settled overseas resent us Indians for just ONE thing – having house-helps. We have drivers, cooks, cleaners, baby sitters, care-givers – you name it and we have it (all coming home). I know I know….I know NOW how you must feel. But jokes apart, I have given the maids leave for 2 reasons –

  1. My own selfish reasons – keeping my children and family safe. Visitors should be minimized and maids live with their families and come in contact with very many others who we don’t know or can’t control.
  2. For the sake of their own well-being – they deserve the right to stay healthy themselves. They have families to look out for. More worrisome here is that if they do get infected, they may not have access to good healthcare facilities. Also, they live in small homes and in densely populated areas which could cause the virus to spread faster.

Also, most of them are really not in a position to voluntarily seek leave, fearing pay cuts. It’s time we put ‘people’ and their well-being before a little bit of inconvenience that we might have to bear.

Wait, I’m not getting all preachy here. I also have cheerful stuff to share. There have been many positives for many families (mine included) holed up all by themselves. I heard of one mother in law and daughter in law who had not spoken to each other for years, (their conversations until now happened through the maids who came home and the children whenever they could get hold of one) finally breaking their silence to thrash out division of labour issues at home and the menus for the day and evening meals. Well well, where years of intervention by the husband and Father-in-law failed, Corona virus achieved in a week’s time. I’m so happy for them 🙂

Another couple who had nothing much to say to each other for years found to their delight that they were bonding superbly over Corona. Now conversation is endless & they both research and glean out information and spend hours discussing the virus and measures needed at home to control it. They also have quizzes on the topic every week to keep up the motivation.

Closer home, my children have also taken to helping me around the house without much chiding, because they do not want a harried stressed out mother who would not allow TV time. Check out the picture where my little girl is just so thrilled. So dusting and sweeping have been taken care of – yipppeee!!

Human nature is such that when you’re prohibited from doing an activity, you itch for it all the more. So with the lock-down due to Corona, all of us are itching so much more for those long walks, for human interaction (with people we ignored so far), with suddenly wanting to know our neighbours and what they’re up to all day, where they or their relatives have been to these past months etc etc. Sorry again about digressing. We were at my family. So my mom in law who’s recuperating from a hip fracture, who until now would remain confined to her room, suddenly feels the need to move about the house. She’s been walking about a lot more, feeling a lot better and hence recovering faster. She’s helping with chopping vegetables and other small chores and well am not I thrilled (with her recovery of course).

I hope you’re having an equally great time at home. Do share your tips and the stuff you’re doing to keep things cheerful.

Stay home, stay happy, don’t panic! This too shall pass. 




Meanwhile …..

As I nurse my fractured foot and spent a week at home, here’s my take on some things that happened in the days that slipped by –

  • India made it to the semis of the ICC World Cup after beating Bangladesh. There was much rejoicing but I felt a little put out. While Bangladesh get my respect for giving India a tough fight, it would have meant something else beating the English to make it to the top 4 instead.  Mehbooba Mufti said it was the saffron t-shirts that brought about India’s defeat, and I can only laugh at the length some people can go to politicize events and polarise people.
  • Wimbledon 2019 is here finally! Yipppeee!!! My fracture doesn’t seem so horrendous to bear now.
  • I tip my hat to the citizens of Hong-Kong. Civic activism bringing authoritarian law makers to their knees needs to be applauded. Salute their courage in challenging the bill of extradition to the Chinese mainland.

Just being mute bystanders or at best drawing room activists in India, we can only lament the death of hundreds of poor children in Bihar, blamed on lychees; the suicide of Pallavi Tadvi due to caste reasons; the oxygen deficiency in the Gorakhpur hospital case (though old – it comes to mind on events that could have been managed & avoided). We see a state govt wanting to grant bail to an accused of rape,  and we don’t bat an eyelid. This is what we’ve come to expect from our shameless govt. The list is endless. There is minimal civic activism in India and it’s not surprising because we cannot come together and demand action. We are all divided by religion, caste and politics.

  • The beautiful Mumbai rains poured down in earnest over the last weekend (end June) continuing into Monday. Sadly, and not surprisingly, Mumbai was flooded again, with people being killed due to water-logging, wall collapse, tree falls etc. Climate experts now say Mumbai monsoons will soon start in July. I’ve heard Odisha will again face heavy rainfall & a cyclone again due to a low pressure build up. Climate change is a reality but who cares, not us.
  • Catchment areas got some rainfall and hopefully we’ll tide over this year’s water crisis. But what about the years to come?  Who really cares that our children may not have clean drinking water in future, that they might point to a tiger and call in an extinct animal, that the mountains of waste we turn our noses upon, will continue to remain here for thousands of years after us? Live in the present, that seems to be our motto!!
  • Anyway, onto some happy things in life – We celebrated by son’s 12th birthday over the weekend with family and friends. Went through some old photographs and videos to the delight of all around. Life is also about creating memories and looking back once in a while
  • And finally, I’m happy with my progress on watercolors.

Hope you had a great week before and a more wonderful one ahead!

If you think I’ve missed out some events, please free to add not just the event/incident but your take on it as well.