Journey from staying positive to making ends meet…

Stay positive, think positive, be positive is the guru mantra every motivational speaker sold no end till end 2019. Come 2020, everything changed, all predictions went haywire, all analysis of ‘Where you see yourself in 2020 and beyond’ went totally wrong, Ms Corona changed mindsets in no time.

discipline

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Missing the hugs and the smiles….

The pandemic has affected the life of a common man the most, the life of ‘Aam Aadmi” like me who derive happiness from small things in life; small things like the hugs and smiles matter the most to me. But now all the 24 X 7 News channels having successfully sold the fear story that every man who hugs, will get a dose of Ms Corona free, (chances improve manifolds if the hug is given to a stranger) has ensured that  no one is willing to even come closer than two metres leave alone giving a hug. Corona ably aided by the over indulgent TV channels has managed to do something in a matter of couple of months which even an overtly possessive spouse could not do in years; blown the hugs and the kisses (the friendly ones) out from the life without much ado.

jhappi

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I miss the evenings…Roj shaam atee hai per waisee nahin…

Since childhood evenings have been my favourite part of the day. Always waited eagerly for the clock to strike 5 pm so that one could step out into the carefree world of games played in the open fields (not on computer screens). The parks/ grounds used to be full of people of all ages, playing, walking, or just sitting and talking. Fathers/ husbands used to be back at home well before the dark those days. ‘Woh bhi kya din they’, The good times, when moms believed that playing in the fields was good for growth of the child; boosted his immunity. No one was worried about germs and viruses catching on. Women folk used to use the evening time to exchange ideas/ recipes. Love flourished, relationships developed in parks, by the lake sides or under a tree. Later part of the evening was always free for socialising.

mulaakatein

As one grew up and joined the working class, the culture changed. The MNCs came to the country and the tutorial classes too came into fashion. The middle aged spent more and more time behind the workstations in the office. Fathers/ husbands hardly came back home from office before night fall. Stress could be smelt and felt in the air. I still did not give up on my love of evenings and went for long walks, but the environment had changed. The parks had the presence of only elders and toddlers (some accompanied by their moms). The grownup kids started spending evenings in the AC environment of the coaching classes. The lovers were nowhere to be seen in the parks or by lake sides. The phones and the internet became the media for socialising and playing games. The love now took the help of social media and phones to develop and flourish. Deceit joined in with fake IDs being used at times. TV serials and News channels took over the socialising time. An era of NEWS and fake news started. We could not decide whether internet connected or separated people.

Then came 2020 and the by accompanied by infamous Ms Corona and turned the world upside down. Everyone got locked down inside homes, Grand parents and kids forgot the parks. Husbands/ fathers who barely reached homes by midnight started working from home. Social media not only emerged as the sole saviour of lovers, students but also became the only means for housewives to exchange ideas and recipes. The evening comes daily at the appointed time but hardly anyone has time for it. The fear of Corona coming in contact outside has more or less, stalled all movements outside. The NEWS channels are not leaving any stone unturned to add fuel to fire and paint Corona scarier than actually it is. I am sure, like me, many others have stopped tuning into the News channels.

I am fortunate, since I reside in a large campus having open spaces, I still get to go for my evening walks, but the roads are empty and the parks vacant, no smiles on the faces of rare people who walk past (all faces covered under masks). Yes, I miss the long drives and the coffee dates (with my wife off course) which we often went for. The air is cleaners now but loaded with stress and fear.

“Ab to chup chaap shaam atee hai….

Pehle chidyon ke shor hote they” Mohd Alvi

(The evenings which used to be so lively have suddenly gone quiet) In the time of this COVID pandemic when negative is what everyone is wanting to be, I wish to remain positive and I am hopeful…..

“Woh shaam phir laut ker ayegee,

Khusbu phir hawaaon mein chaayege,

Phir chehron per Muskaan wapas ayegee,

Mohabbat phir jheel kinaare dera lagayegee”

(The evenings will be back soon)

Separated by Corona…. United by Love (Helped by Internet)

Corona has forced the biggest lockdown ever on the normal activities the world over. The lockdown has brought families together and helping people to re-discover the ‘spark’ in the relationships which had gone missing kind courtesy the ever so busy life most of us had so got used to leading.

Quarrel

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Educating through COVID – 19

COVID – 19 has been spreading like wildfire since it was declared a pandemic by WHO on 30 Jan 20. The virus has equally affected the rich or the poor, developed & underdeveloped countries. The education sector too has been badly affected with all educational institutes / schools remaining closed since last two months, exams have been cancelled and uncertainty prevails about the start of new session.

Though the pandemic has directly affected the conduct of classrooms teaching but it has thrown open doors of opportunity in a change resistant sector, which education has generally been. The situation is forcing an introspection in the sector and adoption of technology as a major aid. Though the schools are adopting various available platforms to impart online education to students, various issues exist, especially in rural/ remote areas, which require deliberations and workable solutions to make digital learning/ teaching more effective.

Fighting a two and a half front war…..A Soldier never cries….

 Well, I am not a strategist and am not going to discuss the ‘Two and a half fronts’ that some of you would have read about in newspapers or heard on Televisions. I am just going to write about the two and a half war which an Indian soldier is always involved in, irrespective of the border he is posted at. I am referring to the enemy from across the border, the home front and the terrorist who manages to sneak in once a while. The home front has got bit more tense and intense now with the ‘Corona’ unleashing an unabated offensive taking the world by surprise, rather the whole world was caught off guard; some actually napping and still not able to see the truth.

soldier 1

The soldier still stands steadfast, unflinching, managing all three fronts like a soldier should, ‘mind ticking, feet moving, mouth shut’.

Continue reading “Fighting a two and a half front war…..A Soldier never cries….”

COVID-19 …. Setting the ‘New Normal’ …..

COVID – 19 has affected the world like nothing else ever had in our lifetime. It is setting ‘New Normal’ in our daily life. Caution has become integral to every action we do. It is like word Corona has been added to the ‘Drop down menu’ of the mind and whenever we set out to do anything the menu drops down and a question is asked “Is what I intend to do going to expose me to ‘Corona virus’ in anyway”? There is a detailed in-house deliberation in the mind and if and only if the answer is ‘No’ then only we go ahead to execute what we intend doing. Such a fear had never affected the human minds before. Mask & sanitiser have become the permanent content of every briefcase and the handbag. Now more than’ Khana Khaaya?’ (‘Had food’) the mothers are heard asking the kids ‘Haath dhoya?’ (Have you washed hands?).

Precaution

My profession gives me the privilege of moving out and interact with people, exercising due precautions, so I admit that I may not be able to fully empathise with people who are experiencing the ‘locked down’ in real sense. My article is based less on my personal experiences and more on experiences of my close family members and friends.

My small family of four is normally split between four places due to our professional and educational commitments/ requirements. Kind courtesy the lockdown, my wife and son are staying alone at Delhi and Chennai respectively. I was a bit lucky as the daughter had come visiting just before the lockdown was announced and is with me as the college remains closed.

Being Single (With no help available)

My son is now managing his life and work from his one room apartment. He has learnt to divide his time between work, wash, cook, eat and rest. The single room functions as the workstation, bedroom and kitchen. Just goes out once a week, face covered, maintaining physical distance to get his supplies from local grocery. He has not felt the need of the ‘Swiggy’ or the ‘Zomato’ to come to his aid. I understand that like him many other single men and women must be similarly managing their lives but in his case the transformation has been so fast, and he has adopted to the new normal so quickly and easily. The young generation has adopted to the changing situation in no time, they are ready to face any adversity.

My wife also, like many other working women, is managing her office work and home single all by herself without any help at hand. Frankly, it is after ages that she has been caught in such a situation and she is managing it well.

Homes are the Safest & the Best

The homes have become the safest place to be in. The offices have shifted to home. The elders, kids, the pets, and the office have learnt to happily co-exist in a two-bedroom flat. The kids are not persisting with demands to go out and play in the park or go to a restaurant. Everyone seems to have understood the need of the hour – precaution (Except some men who were badly missing ‘The bottle’ and could not control the urge as soon the restriction was lifted).

My salutations to the ladies specially the ‘working mothers’ who are juggling the role of mother, wife, home maker and a professional within the four walls of the home without relief and still managing to smile.

Working mothers

Homes have become the best holiday destination too. It is not just the school/ college going kids in India but also those who had preferred foreign shores for studies/ work have either flown back or are desperate to fly back home.

Re-discovering the Lost Talent

In the absence of the maid, the mothers (in some cases fathers too) are exhibiting the cooking skills and the kids are loving it (hopefully). Many would have realised how much money they unnecessarily wasted in those restaurants when better food could be prepared at home. People are learning to ‘Live with less’. Brilliant recipes are being dished out with ‘Whatever available’. Fear of weight gain has put caution to eating habits too.

Besides cooking many more hidden talents are being re-discovered in each home. ‘Har ghar kuch kehta hai’ or Har insaan mein talent bhara hai’ is being realised. (every home (family) has a story to tell and every man has a hidden talent)

The Malls,Markets,Schools & The Internet

The Malls are closed, Gyms/ parlours shut and the movie halls non- functional; I, for one, am not missing them at all. I do not like too much crowd, do not have much hairs left on the head and was always happy with my ‘Zero Pack’. The E-Commerce is knocking at the door to become the way of life. Netflix and other OTT platforms have replaced the movie halls & TV soap operas with professional ease (Thank God, we have a break from those never-ending soap operas).

Online classes and the webinars have become the style statements of the educational institutes. Internet is connecting the world like it had never done before. The office, education, relationships, and friendships are all dependent on the Internet for survival. Now it should be easier to ‘Date’ two (or more) people in real time, isn’t it?

Survival of the Fittest- Immunity is back in Business

Darwin’s theory of ‘Survival of the fittest’ is coming true. Anyone and everyone who was prepared for ‘A rainy day’ both health and wealth wise has not been affected the way the ones who never bothered to save. Immunity is back in business but, not the type promised by all the packaged food makers who are trying to encash the opportunity provided by the pandemic by labelling every food product as ‘Immunity booster’; It is the ‘Stamina’ fuelled by the savings & good mental/ physical health which will take one through; provide the immunity. Optimal utilisation of available resources and surviving with minimum is the new norm for survival.

Immunity

Moving from ‘Religion to Responsibility’

Heard ‘Sadhguru’ speaking on the subject on one the TV channels. India, like many other, is a country of believers. Each culture, community, religion propagating their own belief. Two places where there was never a dearth of crowd (Should I say ‘Bhakts’?) was a Religious or a Political congregation. What one gained from there is a matter of debate, but people went there. ‘Corona’ has put an end, may be temporary, to all that. People, in general, have started taking the responsibility of their lives. The ‘GOD’ has come back to where HE belonged, The home. People have (hopefully) realised the true worth of the existing leadership, most of them ran out of ideas (Did most have any?) at the word ‘go’ itself. People are learning to live their lives their own way, within their own means. I hope this becomes ‘The way of life… A New Normal’.

Hugs & Kisses

The hugs and kisses have been put on hold. Though, I am sure, a new ‘sanitised version’ of the hug will soon hit the market but Kiss (outdoors) specially the French version might have to wait. Amir Khan was finding a simple spectacle to be an obstacle in kissing in the ‘Three Idiots’ here we have two masks in between and the fear of passing on the ‘Corona’. One never knows, the French Kiss may end up becoming the most ‘deadliest murder tool’ (Killing me softly with his love…becoming a reality?).

Conclusion

Change is what we all resist; Change is what the pandemic is persisting to bring; The choice is obvious; Change man change.