Tuesday, April 21, 2020
I almost don’t want to go to Facebook any more. All my friends are cooking elaborate five course meals, and participating in book readings and saree challenges. But for me, just ensuring the family (including dog) is fed and clothed seems like a major achievement.
Every day is like being on a treadmill. Meals, laundry, work, worry. You are running all the time, but even after putting in your best effort, you are exactly where you stared. The meal gets consumed, and you have to think of the next one. Laundry keeps piling up.
I admire the people who are baking their own bread- crusty, melt in the mouth buns for teatime. But I cannot be like them. I will shamelessly admit that I have taught my kids to fix themselves Maggie for lunch on days when I just cannot get myself to enter the kitchen.
There are people working on embroidery projects and learning Madhubani painting. I tell myself if I do something creative, it will help. But helping solve a trigonometry problem is about all I am capable of doing in my current mental state.
To all the people saying that if you do not come out of the lockdown without having learnt a new skill, all you lacked is discipline, I will only say, ‘Good for you that you are able’. But I can’t and it is not discipline that is lacking. It is the will.
We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are worried about ourselves. We are worried about our loved ones. There are nights when I can’t sleep worrying about my mother who is alone in another state 600 kms away. I worry about her.
I worry about the economy which was in bad shape even before the Lockdown, and which will only get worse. I worry about the recession that will come. I worry about how many people will slip further into poverty. I worry about increasing violence at home and on the streets.
I know that my worrying will not help. But it paralyses me. It prevents me from being creative and productive. Every night, while going to bed, I tell myself that tomorrow I will make the effort and wear kajal. But if I even comb my hair before noon, that’s an achievement.
There is just one thing I am able to do for myself. Every evening, I fix myself a strong mug of coffee, and sip it on the balcony while watching the sun paint its masterpiece on the western horizon. It is those 15 minutes of emptiness that keeps me sane and grounded.
And I tell myself that this is not a competition. I do not have to submit samples of my creativity to be graded by anyone. I do not have to make lists of books read, and movies watched. I do not have to be smarter and slimmer. I only have to continue being kind.
For me, and for many like me, survival is enough. If I come out of the lockdown with my sanity intact and without having lost my humanity, that’s enough. Paula Radcliffe can run a marathon in 2:15:25. If I turn up at the starting line, that is good enough.