We’ve just completed seven weeks in lockdown in Mumbai and while the first couple of weeks seemed surreal, I can’t quite remember what the original normal was anymore. I am trying to recollect what incessant honking sounds like or what it feels like to get pushed around against my will on a railway platform. How does a Margherita pizza taste? What was the name of my office building again? Is it my imagination or can I actually hear the wall clock ticking? Seeing sparrows and listening to Magpie Robins outside my window is no more a novelty. Neither is seeing myself transform from a well-groomed chap to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo (I miss my barber the most). I’m quite certain I heard that pigeon say “Look, son, the exhibit in this next window is a human being, or at least was. Now it looks like some sort of relic”.
I intend to make good use of my time while I’m away from the world, and while I do spend a fair portion of my week doing household chores and work related to my profession, I also want to engage in activities that are actually productive and meaningful. Here is a list of things I do and am considering doing. Maybe you want to try a thing or ten yourself.
- Perform household chores blindfolded just to ensure that I know the exact location of all the furniture and artifacts in all the rooms since I have rarely looked away from my phone and television screens when at home. And of course, since I don’t drive in traffic anymore on uneven roads, this provides the thrill of a bumpy ride.
- Jump out at people at home from behind the sofa or from top of the cupboard just to make sure they get their daily dose of exercise that drives their heart rate up.
- Hangout with my action figures. At least they don’t try to keep talking to me about the morbid situation that engulfs us. I might even do a photoshoot with them and send the results to Fashion TV.
- Play dumb charades on the balcony with the distant neighbor or the occasional pedestrian on the street below. The patrolling cops may get competitive and show me around their workplace.
- Create an orchestra with the stainless steel vessels in the kitchen and make the dog the lead singer. The cops might invite me again. Hey, at least I’m getting out of the apartment often.
- Try a new hairstyle where the first step would be to hope for some hair growth on my head. I know it’s a long process but we have time.
- Have a water gun fight where all the guns are filled with hand sanitizer.
- Compose and sing a song. Then send it to Simon Cowell. The reaction might keep me entertained for weeks until it starts affecting my confidence.
- Play dead or practice social distancing when called on for additional household chores.
- Put my daughter’s toy sea animals in the tub and go snorkeling.
- Put beer bottles in different rooms in the apartment, dress up, and go bar hopping.
- Direct a ‘home’ production.
- Turn off the lights, get onto my daughter’s tricycle, and inch towards the television. I’ve always wanted to experience a drive-in theatre.
- Break my piggy bank, have someone hide the contents, and go treasure hunting.
- Play monopoly in the building society with our actual apartments and use underhanded tactics to win every piece of real estate available. The lack of a regular flow of income has to be compensated somewhere.
I wish I could illustrate the numerous other ideas I have in my head but I don’t suppose the lockdown will go on for that long.
It’s easy to get frustrated and perturbed about how things are and how they might turn out going forward. It’s also easy to get swayed by all the negativity that has hit our senses these past few months because we won’t stop reading, thinking, seeing news reports and studies, and speaking about the current pandemic.
Why subject ourselves to this endless misery? It’s best to engage in some positive productivity and while I strongly recommend the actionable items in the list above, it won’t hurt to participate in some lesser but useful activities. Play with your kid, you won’t do it as much again (or hopefully you’ll create a life habit to do so). Learn a new skill through self-practice or online courses. Exercise, you already live in your gymnasium (where else will you go?). Pursue that hobby you have always given yourself excuses not to. Begin to eat healthy home-cooked food (are you really going to risk regular food delivery?). Read, let me say that again, READ!! (No, not the news. Please go read the previous paragraph again). Start a side hustle (or hustle your sibling). Look outside your window and actually observe. Slow down and breathe, you have time.
The current circumstances may last for a week, a month, or even a year. We can’t predict the future but we can certainly put our present to good use. If coronavirus can kill us, so can Tik Tok videos. If we have survived the latter, we can survive the former too.
Que Sera Sera. Just co-vid the flow.