Corona Notes: Getting Used To Staying At Home
As a dreaded virus spreads its tentacles across the world, it is imperative to share experiences and learnings for benefit of different communities. In this Odisha Bytes special series titled Corona Notes, we would publish articles by people residing in different countries and continents on how they are coping with the COVID challenge.
As we enter Day 36 of the lockdown in Odisha, this is what I have to say: one can actually get used to staying at home. Of course staying on a relatively low populated campus, and a nicely ventilated house, we have it easy. The vegetable truck comes inside our campus for our necessary purchases. My son’s classes have started and are on in full swing. Even tuitions are happening with furious regularity. Sometimes, intrepid tutors are taking classes as late as 10 pm or so, making the best use of flexi-timing. The clock has no meaning, like dates or days. Is it a Sunday or Monday? What difference does it make? Mahabharat and Ramayana comes for 4 hours every day and keeps my in-laws (and sometimes my husband and me) hooked. Money Heist (on Netflix) happens in between.
I tried to do my bit for the community by crowdsourcing some care packs to distribute. But again there are so many slums, and who is desperate and who is not? In my lone outing (with my homemade face mask and proper social distancing), I found a young boy (in early 20s) following the care truck for a bag of ration. These are the kids who probably study or teach or work in a shop or as a driver, earn Rs 6000-Rs 7000 a month if they are lucky to get a job, to whom probably no ration has reached. Unlike the people who stay in slums, who have shrewd managers, the migrant labourers and these young men and women working in various small establishments look likely to be the ones to suffer the most. They would be too proud to ask for rations. And their employers will find it tough to keep them employed. Now again this article has diverted to the issues being discussed ad nauseum on media.
Coming back to home ground, WhatsApp is a terrible bore but the best way to communicate with loved ones. I haven’t seen my 80-year-old Mom staying at Cuttack for more than a month, and my son, a student in London, is stuck there, without a roomie, in a wee little room. Tabata, 30 minutes drawing room walk, mask making, Alvaro Morte and Bella Ciao are the discoveries. As also Zoom GTs. The sky is blue, birds are chirping, COVID-19 has not swept away Odisha and we have a handsome, suave and successful intellectual giving us our daily corona updates, which are proving to be as epic as those serials. And yes a small confession. I had been to China as a tourist, second week of December 2019. What a close shave!
May we beat the corona.