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.
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