While most effects have worn off, we’re still waltzing with ‘lockdown time’. Some of us still enjoy the comfort of the ecosystem we’ve built at home. Will we ever get out of this daze soon?
COVID-19 hit the world really hard. There was no turning back from the consequences, and life in general had pretty much come to a standstill. The lockdown here in India started off in a very extreme way. There was a complete lockdown of entire states at a time. We couldn’t even step out to get our regular groceries until there were regulations put in place by the government. There were many days that went by, where people were in a constant state of panic and didn’t know what was going to happen.
Most of us are so used to being up and about, that it was difficult to imagine sitting at home for extended hours together. But we had no other option. We had to overcome whatever happened in those many months. If you had stocked up on any kind of resources, even alcohol, you were pretty much blessed. So many people had to go cold turkey on their smokes without any prior warning, or wanting to do it! Don’t even start with alcohol. There was no alcohol for months. Even when it was available, there were people lined up for kilometres just to reach a single wine shop (I’m not kidding), so all efforts to reach the end goal were futile. The lockdown rules were quite strict initially, and I’ve even been fined a couple of times for not having my mask on. Mind you, I am a very careful person when it comes to things like this, so you can imagine how strict it was.
So okay. I have pretty much nothing to munch on (much), nothing to smoke, nothing to drink. The only way I kept myself entertained was Netflix, Prime Video, and Hotstar. But then came a saturation point. I had binge-watched so many shows, that I kind of don’t even remember the plot of half of them. If you ask me, I’ll have no clue. All of this while, I am sitting in this one chair from 9:30 AM to almost 3:30 or 4 AM. Heck, if I visited Instagram at even 4:30 or 5 AM on certain days, I’d see several people on live streams just trying to entertain themselves, or communicate with people in some sort of way. It was quite sad to be honest.
I’m sure some of you can relate to the part that’s going to follow. I literally spent all of my time sitting in a chair staring at a couple of screens, while trying to distract myself from not being able to step out. The first couple of weeks were okay, but then things started getting a little serious. I’d connect with friends through the now newly extremely popular video-calling platform called Zoom, which did not exist before the pandemic, or even if it did, I had no idea about anything beyond Skype! So here we are, talking to our friends, stepping out for only a certain amount of hours (hours would be a stretch), more like minutes in a week, just to get groceries. I was also between jobs so I happened to get a job that was online itself, and didn’t really require me to be in an office. Ticket Fairy adopted a work structure that made it so that I could work out of home. It applied across the world. We still haven’t gotten back to an office space, a physical one.
We do work online extremely comfortably, but not visiting an office has suddenly become more usual than I thought it would.
Literally everything in for us privileged f**ks is online, so why would I even need to move? What became literal was ‘I can do something by lifting a finger’… and pressing a button with it. It became about sitting on the same desk, eating food at it, drinking your drinks while you stared through an electronic window into the rest of the world. You didn’t need physical activity, pfft, nothing would get done even if you needed it. I didn’t use my nice clothes for months, so an uncommon problem that many people might of had (which no one will tell you) is how my cupboard started to smell moist, like in the presence of fungi. While I don’t actually mind the smell, it doesn’t mean it’s good for my clothes.
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There was a window in between before the second wave hit India, where we actually had a few shows happening. I could not express the excitement I felt while meeting so many people at shows. It felt like it had been such a long time, but somewhere we’d all gotten used to it. When the second wave hit, I heard, “You know what, this could happen often…” I mean who are we kidding? Look at the ice melt, and watch the rising temperatures unveil a few more viruses, bacteria, and who knows who and what or why! Okay, bas.
And there I am, back to enjoying life at home because of the ecosystem I’d built around it. I cook in my kitchen, I drink in my hall and my bedroom, use my washroom to have a bath and do other necessary secretions, and that was it. I always had electricity so that wasn’t a problem (except that one time the electricity went and everyone panicked).
It’s crazy to see how simple it is for technology to ease us into a sedentary life.
We really don’t need anything beyond what our electronic devices have proposed to offer us. Even while the lockdown has pretty much receded from Mumbai, I still order stuff from Swiggy InstaMart if I wanted delivered immediately, as opposed to going downstairs and getting groceries. It’s just about convenience, nothing else. The lockdown taught me that. I know I can get so many things done with the tap of a finger, with a swipe of a UPI wallet, and it comes right to your doorstep.
At the start of all of this, I remember feeling trapped in my house, just waiting for a window when no one was watching. I needed it just to pull my mask down to breathe and get some fresh air. The first time the sun touched my skin after months of staying at home, I felt more alive than ever.
Today, while I tried to walk an upward slope to the grocery store, I felt a weird feeling in my legs. It literally felt as though they had not been used for a very long time. Even climbing a couple of bridges at the railway station earlier was more of a workout than this. I’ve gained weight out of sitting, and triggered some strange acidity because of poor posture, I am not as flexible definitely not as I used to be before, And all I do every single day is stare at the screen, on some days, sip on some alcohol, and watch the world go by from my Window(s). I never thought life would come to this. Sometimes, even when I’m out these days, I feel like coming back home to my chair, putting my legs up on the bed, blazing and watching something in the comfort of my room. I’m confused about if there’s something I am not doing, besides being a lazy bum, of course.
I don’t know how many more people are going through this across the world, but rest assured we need to get off our asses and do something about it!