During the weekend I was reading Jonathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian Adjust your clock: Lockdown is bending time completely out of shape. It was a fascinating read talking about how at one level time, it feels, has come to a stand still and at others it seems zipping past in a flash. In these times of lockdowns we all are in this space at one time or the other. News reports are suggesting people getting edgy living a confined life.
But this is also a time of reflection, which we may not get again in our lives. Moments of great anxiety and stress are also the moments of great opportunity. A time when cities are deserted and services are suspended — eating out, pub hopping, mall ratting, going on a long drives, walking in the park and going to the gym are all a strict no-no and when living inside the house you are bored to death looking at screens whether, its your laptop, TV or mobile phone then its time to pause and reflect.
Test Your Assumptions:
All those who thought that they would die of boredom if they didn’t have so many activities to fill up their days are now realizing it’s not the case. They have survived for a month and can survive one more. It goes on to show you have far more resilience than you credited yourself for. Remember that, once the lockdown is lifted. You did go through withdrawal symptoms for sure – you were irritated, you lost your cool, you got depressed for some time. But you managed. This should give you strength and confidence that you will sail through any crisis. You can survive against all odds on very little at your disposal.
By now you must be eating far healthier food than you must have eaten in a long time. Home cooked food isn’t bad or lowbrow. Actually it’s the best thing you can get for all the hard work you do through the day in your office. This is the food, which is meant for your gut, liver and other organs of your body. The chips, pizzas, aerated drinks, burgers, packed snacks, munchies, noodles, cookies, chocolates, canned food are all geared to cater to your taste buds and that’s it. The rest of the body takes a huge beating while your tongue swims in your own saliva of stupidity. Remember that, too!
Household Chores Are Not Easy:
All those who thought our mothers, wives (a little rare now) or maids were having it easy, parking their asses at home while you were working them off in the office now know that’s hardly true. Mopping the floor, washing utensils and cooking food, washing clothes, dusting, adjusting furniture and bed-sheets, buying grocery and haggling with the local vegetable vendor are full time occupation that requires as much negotiating and managerial skills, not to mention actual talent of cooking, and aesthetics to keep the house clean and presentable. To top it all if you have kids, the degree of difficulty is multiplied by a factor of 10 straight. So once the lockdown is lifted and you go back to your office feeling mighty important remember these days and have some respect for your mother, the other half or the maid.
You Mother Was Right All the WAY:
The digital children who turned into digital professionals, digital nomads and digital citizens thought that their parents especially their mothers who were rooted to reality didn’t get it. They were some cat’s whiskers and now they have to suffer their mother’s constant lament who doesn’t know anything about digital payment and digital delivery and living-in-the-moment bohemian life. But she was right all along when she insisted to have enough cash in your savings account so that if you have to swipe your bloody card it needs to have some hard cash in the bank account somewhere. You need to have some cash in your hands too as your vegetable vendor is not too inclined to take digital money if you are not living in Mumbai or Delhi. Have fixed deposits no matter what the slick banker says. Even when the returns are getting less and if you have to pay taxes do that. Principal hard earned money is safe. Only invest that portion of your earning in equity that you can forget. She gave you the right advice when she said don’t create a string of real estate property beyond a point as it won’t be a crown over your head but will turn into a millstone around your neck. You need to have real estate, liquidity, fixed deposits, term insurance, health insurance, systematic investment plans and equity portfolio. This is what she was trying to tell you in her own language when she would say, “One or two or a maximum of three properties are more than enough if one of it is commercial. You won’t eat a house when you are hungry and won’t pay your house if someone is in the hospital at 12 pm and all the banks are closed on the weekend”, and you know Mr or Ms Dickheads, she was damn right.
Don’t be greedy, as you don’t know a shit about how the share market works – Talk about a balanced portfolio.
Clean and Quiet:
The neighbourhood where you live seems so quiet and clean these days. Now you know when you used to ask in exasperation, “why our cities are so dirty?” who was the culprit? You! Of course. Honking away to glory, revving up the engine, throwing your garbage and wrappers at the corner of the road putting a lunatic to shame, blaring music in your car, house and at the terrace party like maniac. All that made your city dirty, choked and noisy. Remember it’s you who will keep it clean and quiet. The government agency will help in cleaning once a day. Maintaining it throughout the day when no one is watching you is you job. You are a grown up person and not some five year old whose diapers need to be changed every hour and he or she has the liberty to urinate and defecate anywhere they want to. Just remember to grow up and remain that way. It’s actually a good thing. People don’t like their children, neighbours and spouses to be enfant terrible. Also if you behave only when there is a threat of legal action against you and not out of your own moral values than you are a bloody psycho. Get that straight in your head you psycho.
Slow Down and Go Local:
When you slow down you achieve more. Remember these times when you were forced to cut the fluff out of your life for sometime and discovered it was a liberating experience though slightly painful in the beginning. You were managing both the household chores, your me-time and office work and had your boss not been the prick he or she was things would have been much better. You were doing fine. Another thing you may have realised that almost everything from getting a hair cut to visiting a doctor at the slightest pretext is just an escape mechanism to kill time. There is no inherent value in it. All these things can be done at leisure and can wait. If you can delay things many of the cravings and needs will seem needless.
An advice to those journalists hyperventilating on TV screens or busybees in the corporate office floors zipping past from one meeting or the other or those who are still busy making their and others’ life miserable during work from home by pinging their colleagues and juniors at unearthly hours. You are not the centre of the world. Accept that fact and take it easy. The world doesn’t even know you exist. The universe doesn’t know if the Earth exists and if it does then where on earth it’s located in the whole wide cosmos. So chill.
Finally as the global travel will be curtailed for at east an year it’s time to explore your own country and hidden gems close by. Take your children to places close to your home and acquaint them to the grandeur and beauty of your own country. I assure you it’s not half as bad at a price that is a fraction of what you spend on foreign jaunts.