LOCKDOWN REFLECTIONS

This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 59; the fifty-ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with ​IndiCreator. For Creators. By Creators.;. Share Your #LockdownTales at indicreator.com

When the lockdown started on the 25th of march 2020, getting through it seemed like an impossible feat. Going on a Himalayan trek seemed easier than doing daily chores we would depend on various people for ! Our Bai’s, Bhaiyya’s, Didi’s and Aunty’s ( It’s how us Indians address various people we employ to generously help us with the chores at home) are vitally important  to our daily lives running smoothly. As we went deeper into the dreaded lockdown , some aspects , most of us realized are luxuries, and not daily “needs”.We have all been spending quality time with our families, while “working from home” and doing all these chores on our own, learning a lot in the process. We are almost four months into a situation we never thought we would be in , in the first place. A lot of deaths have taken place.. but a lot of nice things have happened too. Here are the top five mention worthy things that have happened in my life:

Yoga

Indian Women will agree wholeheartedly to this adage,

Our house helps, who help us with our daily chores are a blessing to us. They are key factors to an Indian woman’s success in other fields of her life. Mine definitely is ! Three weeks into the lock down, I was just getting used to a daily routine of doing a lot of daily chores on my own , when a dear friend called me up, and the following conversation ensued

Me – “Hey!”

Friend -“Smith, theres an online yoga session that I          m doing everyday for a week now. You must join”

Me(thinking of what to say) – “Umm..”

Friend – “Ive been telling you to focus on your body for a few months. Try this with me now. Lets get fitter together”

Me– “But all the work Im doing now is a routine in itself. I will end up getting fitter on my own”

She – “Start your mornings with yoga and then try the same routine. You will finish faster”

The conversation went on, and I reluctantly agreed to a trial class . It has been three months now, and I enjoy yoga sessions every morning at least three times a week. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my day starts on a note filled with energy. A daily routine that would take two or sometimes three hours earlier, now finishes in half the time. The only thing I enjoyed about yoga was the Shavasana or the corpse pose earlier ! Considering that doing even five surya namaskars was onerous before, I’m grateful for being able to do a minimum of sixteen today without stopping . Of course, it comes at the price of having to be pushed by a coach.. But the post yoga feeling is worth it. You must try it to believe it!

I made a Bucketlist

When I was a month into doing yoga, my coach cajoled me into making a “bucketlist” – A list of at least hundred things I wanted to do . The things that were written there could be the stupidest of things, he said. At first , I laughed it off saying – “I have no more desires now. I have fulfilled all of my responsibilities . Ask me to drop dead anytime.. I will be ready ! ”.. I still dramatically say this in many situations. “Try” he pressed on. “Okay” Said I.. “But don’t be surprised if its empty”. He cajoled me into taking a book and a pen to start writing at least. We would see what would happen later.

Little did I know what would unfold. To my shock.. I filled a couple of pages with at least fifty entries before I started over thinking and wondering how on earth I would accomplish so much. I’m a self confessed over thinker. If it were a sport, I would surely win , hands down !!

image courtesy:google

At number sixty, I forced myself to stop and said – “Lets do this much first , the rest will happen on its own.”

This brought in a realization of how much our sub conscious mind can hold! Consciously, It felt like I was comfortable- I had done all that I wanted to in my life.  Just taking a pen and paper brought out some things that existed in my sub conscious mind to front.  This exercise made me more “aware” of the happenings around me , and I started paying more attention to what happened in my daily life .Some part of what I wrote, started unfolding on its own. It was like the universe wanted me to know that I had to start becoming aware of what it wanted!

I broke a barrier

I had a rather eventful career as a web developer that I enjoyed.  I went on to grow to become a junior architect at some point . It was a role that always fantasized me all my life. Why then was there no satisfaction ?  I pondered over this for at least a year(maybe even more), and stood at the crossroads.

image courtesy: shutterstock

I was still full of doubt and contemplation, when one day, a situation at work pushed me to wonder where I was headed in life. Was I doing what I wanted to really do ? Here I was, working for a company that manufactured overpriced, high end automobiles and equipment. I was travelling 3 hours a day to see some grinchy , growly faces that seemed thankless and unappreciative all the time , because of the way I was looking at things. I was contributing to a cause that I didn’t identify with at all. I loved what I did when I started off.. But had stopped enjoying it somewhere down the line due to various factors. I knew that I lived in a country where atleast 6 – 7 percent of the population earn less than $1.25 a day. Many of them actually don’t earn at all ! I had always taken pride in the fact that I really enjoyed what I did. It never was for the money, I always said.. But would I be able to do stuff that I enjoyed, and not make money in reality ? Would I be able to pull it off , I wondered. I had a lot of paperwork pending after my parents passed on- and clearly an eight hour job that I didn’t enjoy anymore due to x,y,or z reasons wasn’t helping me get it done.

 I took the road less traveled , and quit my job a year and a half back. As soon as I quit, all the pending paperwork started moving on its own. Also , as soon as I quit, the opportunity to volunteer at an ngo that primarily ran on volunteers presented itself before me . A year and a half went by in the blink of an eye .I survived only on rental income , and thoroughly enjoyed what did. I learnt about many aspects that go into running a non profit. When I supported facilitators with sessions for the youth, their feedback and gratitude only left me brimming with gratitude myself all the time ! Suddenly this lock down brought upon us a unique challenge. We had to continue working towards our cause. Our beneficiaries are mainly needy youth, and they could use this opportunity of schools and colleges being closed to improve in various areas. The organization started taking various sessions online so that they benefited. A year and a half back, I would have never imagine that I would be able to prepare a youngster and help them fine tune their communication skills or prepare for a job.. The very fact that I was an educated , city bred multi lingual , who burst into english conversation at the blink of an eye…and fact that the person at the other end may not understand what I say when I slip into bouts of speaking english would have made me step not just one step back, but run away from the cause ! But here I am today, doing it. I had to tell myself to try and make a difference in at least one life and come forward. One and a half years has probably taught me that language was a small barrier to cross , when the intent was pure!

I witnessed metamorphosis

I love plants. My narrow, but long balcony at home is home to quite a few of them . Tomatoes, lemon plants, chilly plants, holy basil, bougainvillea, Nerium oleander, and jasmine are just some of the things that grow there. I was watering my plants one morning when I saw three caterpillars hogging away at the leaves on my curry leaf plant. I was inclined to cut off the twig they were on in the interest of saving my plant.. But suddenly, the thought of just letting them be. struck home . But wait.. What if I lost my precious plant ? A few hundred rupees would fetch me another.. It was no big deal .

I watched them munch on leaves ,grow bigger and finally turn into pupa. Then one day, as I got up, and sleepily gazed out of my window one morning.. I saw a beautiful butterfly sitting on the wall next to my curry leaf plant. It had just broken free .. I watched it fly away.. and was filled with joy ,amazement and wonder at what made me let the caterpillars stay.

My plant was barren for a few days.. But later , the leaves on it grew with double speed. Blessings of the butterflies, I guess !

image courtesy:Google

Nature always runs in full circles, I thought.. Birth, death.. Its all a part of nature !

I am experimenting with making my own cleaner.

Like I said before, I love plants.. Over the years, I learnt how to compost and make my own fertilizer at home from kitchen waste in small amounts. The lock down made me stop doing this (laziness , at its peak !!) Every time I discarded fruit peels, I felt guilty. One day, I ran into this post from Padhus Kitchen telling us how to make fruit enzyme based multipurpose cleaner and decided to experiment..

When I collected enough citrus peels for the recipe, I bottled it up according to her post. It lies in wait to be experimented with in September.. It only took fruit peels that would’ve been discarded otherwise. IT cost me less than a hundred rupees . Hopefully, It is effective too !! Time will tell !!

These are the top five things that I am grateful to have come across during this phase of what COVID has brought on us. What are yours ?Do let me know in the comments 🙂

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics; who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Show your support for the hastags #BlogATon59 & #LockdownTales. Participation Count: XX.

12 thoughts on “LOCKDOWN REFLECTIONS

  1. Smita, I started Blogaton with focus on non-fiction. I had seen it as a platform for people to come together and write on social issues. But, like caterpillars in your post, it had a life of its own and metamorphosised into a fiction-writers’ hub. So, I am really happy to read this non-fiction piece. The caterpillar anecdote is in itself an apt standalone piece; I just loved it: ‘Nature always runs in full circles, I thought.. Birth, death.. Its all a part of nature!’ This pandemic has taught us this, though in a harsh way. All the best for the contest and for life, in general.
    Do read my fiction-rooted-in-reality take on the issue: Unfinished work left in our bags

    • Thanks, Vipul ! No fiction came out of my head so I just took a chance with writing whatever came out. I was quite amazed to see my plants grow faster with double speed after the butterflies took birth. It made me wonder if we were living different “lives” when we were in the womb ourselves.. All the best to you too. 🙂

  2. Dear Smita,

    I really enjoyed reading your post!
    May be it was because of the candidness and depiction of Life during Covid breakout. May it be working without house help, gardening or Butterflies!
    I always feel they (butterflies) bring good luck or call them a sign of God being around.. but most importantly I could relate with the pointers!
    The Yoga, the bucket-list, Fullfilling Our dreams, Our Hobbies and experiments!

    My top 5 things would include, Baking, cooking, WFH, organizing my cupboards and BAT!!!!! 🙂 🙂

    All the best for BAT 59!!
    Regards, Megha. 🙂

    • Thank you, Mega! Yes , the Lockdown has brought out the masterchef in most women 😀 . Decluterring a cupboard makes us feel so relieved and happy, doesn’t it ?

      Good luck to you too !

  3. Thanks for sharing your reflections. Good fodder for an aspiring fiction writer like me.

    // Your ask of sharing our reflections had me thinking a bit. Here goes: If being lazy were a sport, I would be a gold medalist. And now I can legitimately procastinate! Nothing is happening in the world, no one’s gonna bug me and my loved ones are more than happy that I am staying alive.

    On a not-so-lighter-note: Here’s a wish I do want to share: WFH should become a norm rather than exception. Spending time and making memories with the ones that matter is what life is about. It would seem outlandish to think like that when house help is scarce or absent — but that will change; they’ll be back. Working from offices is irrationally laborious and atrociously inefficient. For instance, consider daily commute: one wastes about 2hours a day just for getting from point A to B, while risking accidents & pollution. I can yap about this all day long… || If WFH were to become a norm, one aspect that requires addressal is socialization with !loved ones. Have mused on this quite a bit…

    • Oh yes! I’m a couch potato too, who can sleep all day and could give you strong competition for procastination as well !! 🙂
      Some things about WFH are good.. Some things aren’t . But it would definitely save us travel time .. I agree !!

  4. Wow! It is amazing to see how you have turned the obstacle of Lockdown into opportunities. You have set a good example of positive attitude. Enjoyed the post very much.

  5. I came back to check your response to my comment, but I don’t see my comment. So, I am going to try posting the third time. (I hope you remove this irritating WordPress thing asking to log in)

    I really enjoyed your post, Smita. It seems like I know you as a person! 4 out of the 5 things were very unique. You almost tempt me into following some of your paths (especially the cleaning agent – I am interested in seeing how it turns out). Thank you for writing.

    • Thank you , Kshitij!
      Thank you for dropping by, and sorry for the trouble you faced.. I will hopefully be able to figure out how to remove the login that wordpress is asking for.Thanks a lot for bringing it to my notice.
      Apparently this recipe for cleaning agent is quite popular. The enzyme obtained when mixed with soap nuts can be even used as a shampoo, laundry detergent and a dishwashing liquid . I figured afterward that its being propogated by a lot of solid waste management professionals too … You may actually want to give it a try..its very cheap to make !! 🙂

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