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Mumbai Diaries: After a break

i have returned

A big ‘Hello’ to all my readers. Its good to be back after a hiatus of two weeks and four days. I needed the break after thirty days of NaPoWriMo. Despite a few glitches, I did manage to charge my batteries and here I am…with you’ll again. I hope you’ll are doing well too and the lockdown isn’t treating you badly.

During the last 18 days that I have been hibernating I have managed to read 3 books, watch 18 movies (obviously 1 each day), do 3 paintings, attempt 1 sketch and successfully celebrate my younger daughter’s birthday. That I consider as our biggest achievement considering my younger one loves doing things for others (making everybody else’s birthday special). So we had to make hers special too which was a difficult task during the lockdown but her smile and her eyes said we had succeeded. I shall write about the celebration and the book reviews and the paintings more in my subsequent posts.

In this post, I just want to say ‘Hi,’ and amble along – kind of ‘warm up’ before actually writing anything specific. I hope its fine with you.

First, thank you to all those who’ve been reading my posts regularly. Thank you to the new followers – 86 to be precise since 30th April. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and I hope you feel like commenting, sharing your opinions and feelings about what you’ve read here because I love comments.

During the hibernation period, we’ve had some breakdowns at home which added to our woes- the washing machine went down with a bang on May 4th and the vacuum cleaner fizzled off on May 1st. Thankfully, both of them waited for NaPoWriMo to end before calling it a day. And thanks to the lockdown, both machines continue to remain in a comatose state while we slog. But the rainbow after this storm was that the children who I worried for (that they incapable of managing) have proved to be more than capable, helping with the chores around the house and that is why, despite the machines breaking down I have been able to indulge in the things I love – painting, reading and writing.

mumbai-1200-1

The lockdown in Mumbai began on March 22nd. And it’s been extended as of yesterday to the end of May. Mumbai is quiet.

Before I came to the city, I had only heard of the ‘city that never sleeps,’ the ‘trains that never stop,’ the ‘ seat of all festivals,’ the ‘roads buzzing with people and activity.’ I witnessed it the year I landed – July 2018 to July 2019. And then the rains continued in 2019…they extended to October bringing a slowdown in the celebration of festivals. Yet, Mumbaikars carried on with gusto. Nothing could stop them. And then came 2020 March- the roads turned quiet, the trains came to a stop, the city went into a slumber. Only the hospitals buzzed and cops and medical professional worked round the clock even as the virus entered Asia’s largest slum – ‘Dharavi’ spread over 2.1 km with a population of over seven hundred thousand.

Several cops have got infected since the pandemic began and so have some doctors. Lives have been lost because of the virus and others because of the lockdown. The war rages against the virus.

We have been asked to stay indoors (If you have a pet, you can step out of your house) in our own interest.Fortunately, we’ve been getting our groceries delivered to us by local grocers who are contactable on whats app. Sometimes there ‘s a delay and some times the items are not available. But none of it has been a show-stopper. The items are delivered at the main gate from where we need to pick it up and payment is done online. And life goes on as long as you have the money to pay for your day to day expenses and your health is fine. And other than the fact that we’re bored of eating home cooked food, exhausted with all the washing and concerned about how long the company will pay us while we remain cooped indoors, we’re doing o.k. How long will we be o.k. I cannot say. How long can the economy sustain itself being locked up?

There is a risk of the virus spreading but we need to work around it because staying locked is not a feasible solution. I understand the chances of getting infected is high but is coming to a standstill the answer? Do I sound like a moron? Is there an answer that we know is right for all or have we not considered ‘all’ in our decision? Is lockdown the least risky option we have in our war against the virus?

The virus and the lockdown is a turning point in our lives. It’s made us pull the brake and made us think. Over the last few years’ I suppose we’ve been living like there’s no stopping us – throwing cash around on unnecessary things that have been made to feel necessary to us. And its not just the elite few but everybody – every strata of society has been spending on things they do not need. This sudden halt has come as a check; making us stop on our tracks to think and revise our future strategy to lead better lives.

Now that we’re hopefully saner, shouldn’t we open up and live our lives with a few changes? I believe the new norm of wearing masks, using sanitizers more regularly, washing hands, keeping a distance, using money wisely, learning to live with ourselves and not being handicapped will make us better people and will ensure resources are better utilized.

During this lockdown, how many of us have learnt that managing a home is serious business and that there’s probably been a lot of wastage and leakage during the past years? How many of us have learnt that work can be done from home – and its not just those in IT?How many have learnt new skills and how many companies have learnt that cost-cutting can be achieved by reducing travel and meetings at exotic locales rather than cutting people? How many have learnt that there is always an alternative solution to every problem and that entertainment does not necessarily mean hanging out? How many have learnt that having a hobby is important and that exercise does not require a gym or extensive tools? How many have felt grateful for the little things that we took for granted earlier like the internet, the television, the washing machine, a sibling or friends for instance?

We’ve changed. There’s no denying it. Since we have its time to open up and go back to living with new rules. Just like we have traffic rules, corporate dress codes, business etiquette, we will need to add new social rules but life will have to go on.

What do y’ll think? Have you seen or felt a change in yourself because of the lockdown? Do you think extending it will help? And if so, how long do you think the lockdown should be extended?

Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope to make more time to write now and focus on WordPress. Until my next post, wishing you a lovely day. Stay safe! Have faith.

Cheers

Smitha

For an idea of what’s happening in India click on the below links :

Mumbai cops over age 55 asked to go on leave

Spicejet not paying salaries for April and May

Mumbai asks private doctors to help fight Covid

Daily wage earners in Mumbai

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8 Comments »

  1. This is a very honest and sensible post, Smitha. You see the same problem that I do. Our people cannot survive with no income for any longer. There is going to be widespread starvation and poverty after this lockdown and countries like yours and mine don’t have the money to bail out people and businesses long term. I agree completely that it is time for people to go back to work, from home if they can is fine, and at their workplaces if they can’t work from home, and use the safety measures that have been implemented. Far more South African’s are likely to die from malnutrition related illnesses than coronavirus going forward. Even wealthy countries can’t survive in the medium term without taxes to pay benefits and pensions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It pleases me to know that I am not the only person who sees this problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good you have returned from the land of poetry. As usual you narrate very well. After reading your post I dread what’s awaiting me when I return to Chennai. You seem to have taken care of both your immediate situation as well as keeping your creative interests alive reading books, writing and painting. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for writing back and most importantly thank you for your good words on my writing. So needed to hear it. And when it comes from you, it means all the more to me. Yes,I have been managing but its taking a toll on me and I really want the lockdown to end. Atleast we can start going for walks again. I hope you’re not returning to Chennai soon. The cases on the rise there. It’s best to stay where you are until its safer. Thank you again for the good wishes. Do take care. Warm regards.

      Like

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