Voices

Lockdown Diary: The Quarantine Rat Race on Social Media

For Chennai-based Richa Tilokani, social media during the lockdown has become a game of one-upmanship.

This article is part of our series, ‘Lockdown Diary’, where we invite women to share their experiences at home during the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in India.

By Richa Tilokani

As we begin Lockdown 3.0, I feel that every day is merging into the next. After over 40 days in lockdown, the days are becoming indistinguishable. Is it day two or day 589? I can’t tell.

I have just woken up and I am already cranky. Seeing so many dirty utensils and clothes waiting patiently for me to wash them makes me want to go back to sleep. I guess they are mutating faster than the virus itself. Shouldn’t scientists have invented self-cleaning dishes and clothes by now? But no, we wanted self-driving vehicles and space tourism. And what do we do with that precious flying car now – fly from one room to another?

I decide to take a break from housework and go online. Social media is full of people posting pictures of the elaborate dishes they are crafting – every single day. People seem to be more worried about what their neighbour is cooking rather than about the spread of the virus. I scroll to see Aunty A’s pictures of exotic juices on Facebook, while Cousin B is showcasing a traditional four-course meal. I wonder if I have logged onto Masterchef Quarantine.

I shut the computer and resolve to be more cheerful, so I go to the window to look for any sign of humanity outside. I never understood the concept of people-watching earlier, but now it’s a cherished hobby. (From a distance, of course. If I’m outside and someone approaches me, I run away in panic.) Unfortunately, there are no people to watch.

Richa Tilokani

So it’s back to the kitchen, and all the cooking is making me miss my favourite restaurants. And malls. I miss the crowds, getting pushed around while shopping, the blaring sound of horns and even the polluted air hanging around the city. It’s not like with no pollution now, I can see the Himalayas from my window.  So who is this clean air really benefiting, I ask my husband. He does not look up from his laptop.

I decide to call a friend and we discuss what everybody is doing. People are indulging in serious games of one-upmanship, she says. Whether it’s exercise, learning a new language, redoing the house or ending world hunger, the competition is fierce online. Better to stay offline, I advise, and hang up the phone.

Not one to be part of the rat race, I decide to call it a day even though there’s still a lot of work to be done. I curl up with a good book but before long I start missing my mobile phone. Oh, who am I kidding? I am back on social media again.

And now if you will excuse me, I need to upload pictures of the five-course dinner I cooked today and after that I may sign up for learning Spanish in 30 days. Oh, and while I’m online, I may even join the “climb Mount Everest from home” challenge. I hear they have 5G at the summit now. 

Richa Tilokani is a Chennai-based media and communications professional

4 comments on “Lockdown Diary: The Quarantine Rat Race on Social Media

  1. Neha Vashist

    Good writeup Richa. Exact…. we all are feeling today. Thanks dear

    Good luck, keep writing

  2. Good start. Very well written.wish you all the best.

  3. Mahashweta

    Awesome and enjoyable.

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