The COVID-19 pandemic started in Wuhan in December 2019. And by January 30, 2020, 9976 cases had been reported in at least 21 countries, including India. Sitting in Kolkata, as we read the news, something made us believe that the novel Coronavirus is an alien. By February 03, the number of cases in Kerala rose from 1 to 3, and the first case got detected in Kolkata on March 17 – we knew the alien has finally infiltrated our homeland and there is no escape. The panic mode had set in our minds! We were worried about our elder family members and children because of their vulnerability to succumb to. The kids reciprocated, but, the elders were still in denial mode.
Politics, on the other hand, was moving at its own pace. Central Government declared Janata curfew on March 22, Sunday. And from Tuesday midnight, a nationwide lockdown was imposed for 21 days. In the absence of prior intimation and sufficient window period, mayhem broke in every household!
And our lives….
Work-life balance or work-life amalgamation
As a work from home mother of a nuclear family, Neha was expertized to balance her work, kid, love, and “me-time.” However, the sudden closure of schools and daycare hit her hard on the head. And the cherry on the top has been – no househelps!
On the other hand, Parna has been quite in a soup with no nanny for her toddler and no househelp. She has calmly decided to reduce her freelancing projects, even if it means curtailing the few hours of what she enjoyed the most – writing, to manage the increased chore load with her family members. And even if that meant compromising with her BI career.
Payment cuts have started, clients’ complaints are increasing, mom-guilt is on a new journey, taste buds are at peak. And the married life – that’s also not taking any back seat. But, a day still had 24 hours only!
Makeup and masking
Being pathetic with makeup, Neha’s friends have always chided her. But none could impact her the way COVID-19 has – she is dying to put on makeup. Mask suffocates her and sanitizers give her sneezes! She badly wants to show off her lipsticks!
Parna is having her best run now. She always enjoyed being socially reclusive, abhorred dolling up and the COVID-19 era has helped her in more ways than one.
COVID-19 Shopping or hoarding
Once again, our educated minds said not to hoard, but Neha couldn’t stop herself from panic buying! On 23rd of March, she bought grocery supplies for another month and stacked her fridge with sufficient eggs, meat, fishes to last for 15 days. For the first time, her 350 ltr refrigerator started being optimally utilized.
On the other hand, Parna guided by her mother, started planning meals in a foolproof way so that the stocked supplies last them for longer days. The wise managerial skills of her mother had saved them from the initial crisis.
Rekindling the old hobbies
While Neha has found new love in TV, Parna has rekindled her old love for books.
Neha was fortunate enough to receive the Fire TV Stick before the nationwide lockdown started. And it has been her family’s companion since then. With popcorns and french fries, every weekend is a movie weekend, and she’s catching up on all the missed out web series and movies!
Parna used to be a bookworm during her student days. The present situation gave her chance to read books, both e-versions and physicals, that remained stored in her laptop and almirah.
Virtual world – new way of socializing
“We are from a different generation and we are not comfortable with video calling” – something Neha used to often say proudly before lockdown. And now, her parents babysit their son virtually, schools are held online, her son and his friends play hide and seek in a video call – the new normal!
While Neha’s still learning to be comfortable with this new method of socializing through video calling, Parna thoroughly enjoys it.
Though Parna’s cynical about screen times, but at this present condition without the nanny to look after her kid when she does the chores, there’s no other way to make her sit for some time. Her take – “monitored and quality screen time can be beneficial. So, we need to be positive.” On the other hand, for Neha – the tug-of-war between screen time and no screen time has become her life’s integral part.
They are trying to stay focused – to stay ALIVE as the virus spreads like wildfire. Neha’s TV which wasn’t used for a year or so goes abuzz with COVID-19 headlines every hour. Whereas, Parna has shunned social media altogether as well as TV News Updates. And with COVID-19 as their ringmaster, they are walking on the tightrope.
Four months have gone by; how many more to come; we don’t know! But, COVID-19 teaches us the importance of independence, discipline and integral values of humanity. No boss, or client hovering over our head, no hurry to rush to school, no help to do our household chore – and we are still surviving and we will continue. With each day, we’ll be more resistant and we will learn to live our lives in a better way.
So, how are you all coping with this current pandemic phase? How are you welcoming the new normal? Please share your experiences with us in the comment section below.