Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Lockdown life

Okay, so I have received many many (okay, four) emails from fans of this blog checking on me and questioning the lack of posts. It was high time I got back into it.

On Feb 21, I wrote a post about Covid-19 in Singapore and the naive me was like, "OMG we have 86 cases."

Ha. Who'd have thought I'd be shaking my head at my own naivety a few months later.

Watch this and relate.

It's been about 4 months since then, and as of today, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore is 44,122. Every day, we have a few hundred new cases, which, given Singapore's small size, is not exactly negligible. Things seem to be under control though. There is a steady stream of people (in the hundreds) being discharged daily and we have moved on to 'phase 2' of our lockdown (what we call "circuit breaker"), with schools and some public places opening up. Masks are mandatory, of course, and you can get arrested for not wearing one. Except when you're doing strenuous exercise, of course. So if you forget your mask and you spot an enforcement office, run at top speed. Not away, but towards him/her.

Viv and I have been working from home for months now. I worked from home as a freelancer for years after Xena was born, but this is so different. The good -- no waking up at 5:30 am YAY! The bad -- there is no "end of work day" anymore. Everything has fused into everything else. Xena had school holidays for a month, and as we still don't give her any alone screen time, I took leave to sit down and write a full month's 'what to do you're stuck indoors' plan for her. I incorporated all subjects, reading, art, household chores and even workouts, so that she would have stuff to do during our working hours. I have to say that she took it very well and was very disciplined. Every day, she'd carry out her tasks and check them off. (Maa par gayi hai bilkul.)

So Xena's birthday came and went and my birthday came and went and it looks like Viv's birthday is also gonna come and go like this. I had told him (way before Covid-19 hit us) that I wanted a quiet, private birthday this year. Yeh kuchh zyada hi quiet and private nahin ho gaya? Damn.

I don't really miss the office all that much (except my team; I miss hanging out and joking around with them) but I do miss skating a lot and I do somewhat miss the gym. Luckily, Viv found Hasfit on YouTube, which has been an absolute blessing for both of us. Viv, missing his heavy gym weights, came up with the very creative solution of using Xena as his 20-kg weight for stuff like goblet squats. After not doing much on the workout front for most of April and May, I ordered a pair of dumbbells online, and I have been working out using the Hasfit videos at least 5 times a week. Now that Xena's school has opened, I walk with her to school and the return journey is about 2.5 km. All this is great because then I can have less guilt over all the potato chips I have been downing over Netflix every night. To make matters worse splendid, Ruffles has come up with a jalapeno-flavoured pack of chips! Why, why, why would you do this to me, Ruffles? (Well done, by the way.)

Speaking of Netflix, we have discovered a whole bunch of new stuff to watch. We have finished Fauda (awesome), Pataal Lok (great) and Criminal Justice (quite good). When things get too violent/crime-y, we switch to Brooklyn 99 for a break. Two night ago, we started watching Aarya on someone's recommendation, but I found the writing, screenplay and acting really bad so I couldn't carry on after the first episode. I found a Quora thread on "Best shows to watch during lockdown" and Mirzapur seems to be quite a hot favourite, so we might try that out next. Any other recos?

Viv and Xena have been playing tons of games, including indoor cricket (using a yoga mat as the pitch!) and 'dog and the bone' and what not. I was trying hard to pull Xena away from her 389753208750th reading of the Harry Potter books, but she simply wouldn't yield. So I started reading one of my childhood favourites (Enid Blyton's Five Find-Outers) to her over meals, and now she (and Viv too) loves it! It has now become a family tradition to take turns to read a couple of chapters of this series each day.

One of the amazing things that seems to have happened everywhere is that people have started reconnecting over Zoom. Both Viv and I had our respective 'cousins on Zoom' calls (and I'm still pondering over why his was so civilised and mine was dangal-in-jungle level). My sister who lives in the US has started a weekly call between her kids and Xena, and it's heartwarming to see cousins who have only seen one another thrice, interacting and showing off their artwork and what not.

We also have a Friday call with some of our friends from university, and it's nice to have that to look forward to at the end of the work week. The girls in the group have now decided to dress up a bit for these calls because our nice clothes, jewellery and make-up are rotting away. I haven't put on contact lenses or make-up in months. In fact, on Monday, I had to go submit some documents for a tender. I had no contact with anyone, it was just the tender box and me, and YET, I put on eyeliner. (There was no point in putting on lipstick I felt, because we have all been reduced to masked bandits). I came back and reported my eyeliner badassery to some friends and was showered with their hearty congratulations.

So that is what has been happening here. And how have you been?

PS: Half the year is over, guys. Half the year is over