Jayant Singh talks about the move from classroom-style training to online programmes
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A multitude of utopian ‘Insta’ stories have been doing the rounds of late. Buddies have been busy whipping up their Dalgona coffee, some have been baking exotic loaves of bread, while the zealous ones have also been posting fitness challenges. All this just makes you feel: 'What in the world have I been doing?" (Arrey bhai, sweeping, mopping, and cooking are no less demanding as calisthenics than the 20 push-ups, two-minute planks and sets of crunches that I otherwise do as my fitness routine). Oh! Not to miss, our dear Kat has posted videos on how to do dishes and how to sweep the floor and then use the broom to play cricket. Little did our starlet know most household queens inherently possess such skills.
The extended telephone conversations and FaceTimes with my chatterati often steer towards how our maids didn’t turn up just before the lockdown and how all of us have developed a ‘Miss.my.maid’ syndrome. Discussions range from the current status of our unkempt eyebrows, unmanicured nails, and non-blow dried hair to our armchair expert opinions about “What the nation needs to know”, the economy, and, of course, the next shows on our binge-watching list.
With most of the F1 visa holders back in our nests, time shows mercy on neither home-queens nor ‘work-from-home’ queens. The kitchen remains the busiest and most pandemonic place.
My social media friends, of late, have also been showing off enticing dishes with even more enchanting presentations. Such humungous pressure! Pretending to be one great mom, I too laid my hands on some refined flour and yeast. The inevitable cataclysmic failure of this attempt drove me back online, only now equipped with a different purpose—looking for relatable stories of doom versus the succulent ones my dear friends regularly post about. You have to understand my frustration. Most FB pages are studded with colourful tables laden with gastronomical inventions of kitchen goddesses and the object of envy is the number of likes and comments loaded with appreciation. Belittling, isn’t it?
This is when I resort to my form of self-consoling: "Never mind, my dear, not all are born to cook." The menu posted on my refrigerator may not be an exotic affair but surely a simple yet scrumptious dal makhni, home-made pizza or paneer makhni may be served (all thanks to the trending online easy recipes—my saviours).
The social sphere also promotes meditation to soothe your nerves and overcome anxiety. On insistence, one evening I sat with my eyes closed and just as I began to feel that I was meditating, my OCD meltdown unfolded with flashes of visuals of the kitchen sink laden with unwashed vessels, trash lying on the floor, spilt masalas on my otherwise clean island platform, shoes waiting to be picked, and a wet mop saying “Use me”. The bald truth is that even during my meditation stints this is all that I obsess over.
"If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent," says Pema Chodron. Say ‘Aye’ to yourself if that holds for you too.
The swing in the garden-facing deck is the cosiest place in my house, where I would sit with a cup of adrakwaali chai and an audiobook for hours, with only the chirping birds for company. That has now been replaced by a new routine of playing online Scrabble with my boys and chatting with them for long hours without any agenda. All of us had forgotten to JUST DO NOTHING. As a family, we have never spent plentiful days at a stretch doing 'nothing' and that’s what the lockdown days have brought back.
What I get to hear more often is my son’s melodious singing across rooms. Times fulfilling my craving for a livelier living room are now in abundance. Never mind all the squabble, having a full-capacity dinner table is now more frequent and an added excitement. Thanks to the lockdown, I need not spring up in the middle of the night to check whether my sons have returned home after a party or jump out of bed to answer midnight doorbells. Having your better half in your zone of vision for substantial days at a stretch is solace.
As a consequence, the concept of division of labour is re-emphasised with each one’s varying levels of pitch-ins.
“Stay home—stay safe” is the motto for days to come. With this in mind, the hodophile in me is a little lost and feeling fernweh for the mountains and the lakes. I see my travel plans take a backseat in 2020 while we all fight through these difficult times, albeit long at the horizon I see the world opening its doors to safe travel.
For the first time in many years my travel bucket list remains unchanged—in fact, it expands a tad bit longer.
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