Quarantine Learnings

Year 2020 will go down in history for a lot many things…but most significantly for the pandemic that has brought the entire world to a standstill and crippled us all with fear and anxiety. It has heralded a new way of life, which unfortunately, seems to be here to stay. But everything, good or bad, teaches us something new, something valuable. And this Corona situation is no different.

Firstly, it has added many words to my vocabulary..some new, some old, some seldomly used: to begin with the name of the nightmare itself- THE Corona virus/COVID-19, followed by other words which have come to be a part of our lingo these days, such as epidemic, pandemic (honestly I had never bothered to know the difference between the two words before..big mistake!!), lockdown, isolation, home quarantine, self quarantine, containment, isolation, PPE, co-morbidity, herd immunity, fatality rate, sanitization, community spread, symptomatic, asymptomatic, immunocompromised (which I amπŸ˜”)…and of course the word of the year perhaps… SOCIAL DISTANCING.

In addition to all these, there are several fun, new words doing the rounds on social media such as coronials or quaranteens (babies created during Corona times), quarantrends, quarantees, quarantech, quarantrolls….and my favourite so far…the COVIDIOTS (I often mumble this under my mask when I see ignorant blokes on the roads without masks).

The past six months have also taught me a whole lot of other things. Like I can bear to spend 24/7 for 6 months straight without killing my husband (and vice versa)…inspite of serious temptation on some occasions πŸ˜›πŸ˜›. On a serious note, it has increased my awareness and sense of responsibility. Even if I want, I cannot throw caution to the wind and take off without my mask and sanitizer coz I know it can be dangerous for my old ailing parents staying with me. So in a way it has reaffirmed the importance of loving my family, caring for their well being and being a support system to them. And I have to admit, these circumstances have actually given us the gift of time..to spend it with loved ones.

This lockdown phase has made me firmly believe that each of us are masters at multitasking. From working long hours in front of laptops to cooking, cleaning, spending time with family and also making time for ourselves…if we want, we can really do it all. Infact, I look at it as a blessing because it keeps me busy, my mind occupied and helps to keep up some semblance of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal time and world. And it finally forced me to do something that I always wanted but never quite got to doing… Blogging. And thus here I amπŸ€—.

Tune in to any TV channel or any social media platforms  and one can see the alarming situation in almost every country. People are dying, losing jobs, employment, livelihoods are at a risk. The healthcare systems are beginning to crumble due to the astounding number of patients and casualties. The economy plummeting to all time lows. It’s the same in almost every country. It’s all pretty disturbing and upsetting. And it really makes one wonder about how shallow we are that we worry about miniscule things when there is so much suffering and pain all around. Reminds me of the need to be grateful for what I have rather than crib about what I don’t. This whole pandemic situation has been humbling, to say the least.

If nothing else, quarantined life has definitely taught me the virtues of resilience, patience and hope. Resilience to stay put until this storm passes. To see the end of it(hopefully soon). Patience to endure these difficult times, to stay in the  safety of my home without yielding to the allure of the outside world which beckons to my outdoor-loving heart. With the hope that one day we will conquer this evil and world will be a safe place again. And when that happens, I hope I can step out into the new world as a better version of myself, thanks to all that I learnt during these past few months of quarantined life. Here’s wishing that day comes soon. πŸ™β˜ΊοΈ

In the pursuit of SELF LOVE!!

A few weeks back I was watching Sex And The City…and saw the scene where Samantha breaks up with her hot bf saying this:

I love you but I love me more. ~ Samantha Jones, Sex and the city.

So I have seen this before (yes coz am one of those who keeps watching things again and again) but suddenly this time it hit home. And it really got me thinking…We all love a lot of things or a lot of people….we love our parents, siblings,friends, Boyfriends, girlfriends,we love our homes,plants and on and on….but we often forget to love the most important person in our lives….ourselves.

If something in life doesn’t go as planned, we are always the first to blame ourselves. Why did I do this? What’s wrong with me? Why does this always happen to me? It must have been my fault. You get the thought process right? But when something goes right, we tend to give credit to everyone and everything but ourselves. We say things like ‘oh I just got lucky’ or ‘oh that other person really made it happen’…but we hardly ever say..even to ourselves…yes man you did it. You worked at it and you got it going..well done you. Am I right or wrong? But why is that?

Is it a personal trait or is it a more generalized thing that can be attributed to our society, our parents, childhood and our upbringing in general? What makes it such a common phenomena to easily loathe ourselves but hardly ever appreciate ourselves? Honestly I think it’s an amalgamation of all these things in varying proportions in each of our lives.

Whatever be the cause, the effect is this: we are conditioned to be self critical. Particularly for girls. We are always so critical of our looks, our appearance, our social standing,what our husbands and boyfriends think of us, what our friends think of us…. and these days we have an additional worry of our social media image (as if life wasn’t tough as it is). Always being vigilant to click pictures in angles that work best to hide our physical flaws. Why? What are we so afraid of? Body shaming? Bullying? Criticism? But we already do all that to ourselves anyways πŸ™„ . Then why is it so important what others think of us?

It’s perhaps because we are so conditioned to seeking others’ approval for self worth. And isn’t that the most bizarre thing? That we need to depend on someone else’s opinion of us to make us realize what we are. Who we are. And what’s our worth really. The more I thought about the twisted logic in this…the more I realized what a dumbass idea it really is. And what a big idiot I have been all this while. Well, I guess in that moment, the feisty spirit of Samantha took over me and I was determined to put an end to this. To stop craving any and evryone’s approval and seek my own. To be confident in my own skin and to take the reigns of my
Self worth in my own hands(ok that sounds dramatic πŸ˜›πŸ˜›) but I think you get the idea.

And well the good news is that this feeling,this attitude..it is reversible. It won’t happen overnight. You won’t wake up one fine day and stop seeking validation from others and be all mushy in self love.No. That’s not gonna happen (wish it did, though). It’s going to be hardwork, especially at the beginning, because it isn’t easy to suddenly change your attitude,your outlook and your approach to life that you’ve had for several years, perhaps decades. 
Some pointers that I found to be useful in this new found pursuit of self love that
I found to be particularly useful:

* Stop seeking validation from anyone.
* Be your ONLY and best judge.
* Spend time to asses yourself-your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement.
* Appreciate your strengths. Things that make you unique and loveable. And hold on to it no matter what.
* Identify weaknesses. Don’t be too harsh but am sure everyone has some flaws, some shortcomings. Identify them before giving a chance for someone else to point them out to you.
* make a list of areas of improvement. Some skills you might wanna learn or brush up or inculcate.
* be kind to yourself.
* Prepare a mantra that you can keep repeating to yourself to keep up the morale to keep going.
* And the most difficult but absolutely essential thing…learn to love yourself. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (remember Bridget jones’ diaryπŸ˜›πŸ˜œ)

So next time you feel the blues and feel like you’re swimming in a sea of self pity and worthlessness… remember this ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup…take care of yourself first’.

Coz the ultimate truth is this….We are all one of a kind. Unique, Fabulous and Effing Awesome. ❀️❀️


90’s + Internet = Quarantine Life in 2020

At the very onset, let me clarify this is NOT a blog about mathematics but rather a sudden realization that’s growing stronger over time as we spend more and more time quarantined at home due to the ongoing pandemic that’s taken over every aspect of our lives and the world at large.

Pic courtesy: The economic times

So what’s so special about us 90’s kids that made me put it in the title of my blog? Well to begin with, we are probably the last generation that can speak of a gadget free childhood. When kids were not addicted to video games but rather looked forward to going outside and playing every evening with our friends, returning home with dirty clothes due to playing in the mud. When hide and seek or cricket or football used to be our favourite thing to do. When watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Popeye the sailor brought unlimited joy. When using fountain pens at school gave us a sense of ‘growing up’. When school term beginning meant the very important process of covering our books with brown paper and of course when we actually carried all these books in our heavy square bags. When classroom meant sitting on benches playing tic tac toe or hangman with friends in notebooks and lunchtime meant sharing our food with friends. When we used to wait for special occasions like festivals to get new clothes. When Sundays meant a specially cooked meal by mom. When summer and winter holidays were spent playing indoor games like cards, carrom, ludo, snakes and ladders or scrabble with the entire family. It was all about spending quality time with the family. When hot ginger tea was the best beverage and partying meant attending a wedding or Birthday party. It was all so simple and yet so much fun. For those of us who very proudly refer to ourselves as the 90’s kids..am sure these memories will ring true with each one of you. Surely the best of times- those good ol’ days.

As we entered into the new century, technology gradually started making an entry into our lives. I remember my first desktop with a huge big screen and an even bulkier CPU. Oh the adrenaline rush of playing Road Rash or Pacman for the first time. And then there was THE INTERNET.Β  Which till today I firmly believe to be the best invention in the last 100 years!!! And the joy of Google search. Everything I ever wanted to know about the world was now just a click away. Much before Facebook came knocking, we had Orkut. Where it was the moral obligation of my friends to write a testimonial for me. As a testament to our friendship. Longer the testimonial, the better friends we were. Amen.Β 

With each passing day, more and more technology made its way into our lives. First we had those big bulky Nokia mobiles with antennae that looked like satellite phones used by spies in movies, soooo heavy that if thrown it could crack a skull or two (just saying, never tried thoughπŸ˜›). I remember my first phone. It had a coloured screen. And was primarily used for incessant messaging with friends the night before semester exams. And then came the next best invention of this millennium…..THE SMARTPHONE!!!❀️❀️ And that pretty much changed EVERYTHING we have known this far.

Coz you see..the smartphone became more than just a phone. It became our whole life … on the move. No more visiting banks, putting ads in paper for prospective spouse search, job hunting, reading books, standing in long queues to pay bills or buying groceries. all this was now done with the touch of a button. And of course, most importantly, it took over our social lives. The world became smaller and accessible. It connected us with friends who stayed a few continents away. It gave us easy access to just about any information.. practically anything and everything was now at our fingertips. Time pass became an unhealthy obsession of putting every bit of our lives, our habits out on social media. To voice our opinion on just about everything….coz all we had to was just rant and type. Without us even realizing…the smartphone just literally took over every aspect of Our lives. It truly was the Harbinger of a new era…the Digital era. And man do we love it.

Life was now on the fast track. Forgot to pay your bills? Just make an online payment. Wanna skip work, just drop a mail. Feeling bored at home? Just book tickets online and off you are on a vacation. Wanna eat ice-cream at midnight? Just order it online. Wanna spend a lazy weekend at home? Just binge watch on Netflix. Wanna make your friends jealous of your amazing life? Just upload pics on Instagram. Wanna ramble on about your thoughts? Just post on Facebook. Wanna voice your opinion on ANY matter? Just tweet it. Wanna go to party on a weekend? Just call an Uber. Miss your family ? Just do a video call. Wanna chat with all your friends? Just do a zoom call. You see I was serious when I said that the smartphone has literally taken over our lives. Made it easier and also perhaps lazier. Well of course there are many many cons of this Digital boom but let’s keep that for another blog πŸ˜›πŸ˜›

Well have you been driving at over 100kmph and suddenly spot an animal crossing the road and have to push the brakes with all your might? You are feeling The rush of adrenaline, the wind in you hair at one moment. And utter panic and shock at the very moment you have to push the brakes and stop. Well 2020 had something just like that in store for us. Well it wasn’t a cow crossing the road. But rather a tiny microscopic deadly being that just forced us to apply the brakes. Enterthe CORONAVIRUS.

And just like that, in a flash, our fast paced lives came to an abrupt halt. The world came to a standstill. The roads were empty. Planes were grounded. Shops were shut. Malls were closed. Thousands were stranded, unemployed. And millions were locked up at home indefinitely in fear of the deadly virus out on a killing spree. It took over our cities and the world at large.

I remember the first few weeks were tough. In this day and age always staying indoors is something none of us are habituated to. It’s like you take a lion used to roaming in the wild jungle and put him in a box. That’s exactly how I felt. And am sure I wasn’t alone. No more going out to party with friends, dining out with family on the weekend. No more mall hopping or going to the movies or even a drive. Travelling to far off places in your bucket list was suddenly an impossibility. It’s like we were grounded for life!!

We couldn’t go to office, so the office came to us. Most of us with jobs got laptops, desktops delivered to our doorsteps coz work must go on. You see, I want that salary slip at the end of the month so I gladly accepted it. Life became all about unlimited conference calls, screen sharing, video meetings and incessant phone calls (still not complaining). At the same time, house helps were off limits so had to do all household chores as well. How long is this gonna last I thought many times. How long do I have to keep doing this? The pandemic and the growing rate of infected patients gave me my answer. As long as we need to.

Humans have an incredible way of adapting and this I experienced first hand due to this pandemic. Just like we had very easily adapted to our jet set fast paced lives once upon a time, eventually in this lockdown we learnt to slow down as well. And not just that, I think it helped us (me definitely) be thankful for the little and smaller things in life. It made me thankful that I was getting to spend quality time at home with my aging parents, my husband. Cooking hot meals for my family and them going gaga about it made my day. We went back to playing boardgames. I had forgotten how much fun this used to be. And for the first time in years, I had some free time to indulge myself. So I picked up my old habit of reading. Of course now it was on kindle. Going out for parties now replaced by enjoying a glass of wine with the husband. Watching movies in the theatre now made way for all night Netflix marathons. Running behind cabs and buses made way for daily walks in the terrace. The hustle bustle of city life gave way to nature healing itself and the city becoming more cleaner and greener than I have ever seen before. The pollution decreasing and The air becoming more pure. And the one thing which we all loved before we were hit by this virus scare….going out…that’s become a nightmare really. Wear your mask, cover your face, cover your head, apply litres of sanitizer (not literally). Come back, change clothes, wash off, apply some more sanitizer. I’d rather stay indoors these days. Seriously.

This drastic change in our lifestyle has been hard to adjust to for most of us. But at the same time it has brought back glimpses of the simplicity of our childhood days..the good old 90s era. I had forgotten how much we enjoyed those days at home with loved ones. Now, although forcefully, we seem to have been transported to that time. But this time we have the internet with us. So it’s like the best of both worlds. We have the simplicity of the 90s coupled with the benefits of the digital age. Maybe that’s the optimistic in me thinking like that, to make these days count and be grateful for.

I know that Once the threat decreases with the availability of vaccines and medicines (and I sure do hope they come out soon coz so many people are suffering and dying)…we will again go back to our fast paced race of a life. But I hope we can remember the lessons learnt in these hard times and still retain a part of this experience as we go forward into the future.