Pop-A-Razzi Society

Lockdown diary: An imaginary take on everyday life during COVID-19

Foreign tourists stranded in New Delhi while away time at a hostel accommodaton.

Foreign tourists stranded in New Delhi while away time at a hostel accommodaton.   | Photo Credit: AP

‘Washing machine is running a leak. Is this covered under emergency services?’

Day 1

Modi ji has announced all-India lockdown till mid-April. I can’t believe it. I guess the Mehtas will no longer have that exclusive invite-only salon they were planning in early April. I even had my outfit planned out.

Called yoga-ma’am. Am requesting her to take some online Zoom classes. I mean you can’t look like a cow at the end of the lockdown.

Called cook and asked what we need by way of supplies. Thankfully, we are set for now. Checked alcohol supplies. Adequate for three weeks. I wonder if Spencer’s online delivers tonic water for the gin?

Day 2

This feels a bit like a DIY picnic just with a virus lurking outside. I am almost enjoying putting up pictures of our meals online. I have thought of a hashtag. #CoronaEats. Planning new things to cook. I wonder if you could make pesto with basil and mixed cocktail nuts instead of pine nuts.

Spencers will not deliver tonic water. Looks like Spencer’s is struggling to deliver anything. Coined new hashtag #CoronaryAttack.

Had a cocktail. Have not been around this much family for this long.

Day 3

Not enjoying the menu planning so much anymore. No more omelettes for breakfast. Toast and jam will do fine. Made the kids put down their phones, sit down and play cards with us. Had forgotten how to play Screw and Go Fish but realised I still don’t like to lose.

Opened the second-last packet of tortilla chips. Tomorrow we will play Ludo if we can find the board.

Realised drinks may not last three weeks. Rationing down to chhota peg. Worried I might need to drink Old Monk or that strange Sikkimese wine. Tonic water is finished

Day 4

Repeat of Day 3.

Day 5

Made aloo and beans sabzi. Discovered a packet of curry mix someone had brought back from trip to Malaysia. We will have Penang paneer curry for dinner tonight.

Have swept house and mopped floor. Now I realise why Jamuna skips the corners under the sofas when she mops. Family rallying around a little less. Everyone seems to vanish during dishwashing time.

Apples are going bad. Need to finish them. Looked up apple recipes.

Chatted on WhatsApp video call with school friends. Wondered if we know someone high up in the government who can get us vehicle exemption passs

Day 6

A delivery man showed up today. Have never been so excited to see a delivery person before. He did not have half the things I’d ordered but never mind, it was exciting to just see him there.

Got newspaper too. Sunned it first. Society pages have gone down to nothing. No parties, no premieres, no art openings. Just the comic strips.

Cancelled summer vacation plans. Friend sent good joke showing the new subway map connecting bedroom to kitchen to bathroom to terrace to second bathroom to living room.

Nodded at neighbor from balcony. Shared stories about maids who cannot come to work.

TV soap showing reruns. Back to when main lead still had her memory.

Day 7

Washing machine is running a leak. Is this covered under emergency services? Who knows these things? Fried up readymade afternoon potato snacks. Then decided that with a little tomato cucumber salad, this could be turned into a light dinner. Snacks cancelled.

Understanding allure of one-pot meals and why maid’s face falls when she sees the dishes piled in the sink. Have decided that since no one is coming to the house, we do not need to sweep every day.

Reduced to rationing cigarettes. Had to start with a small peg today. Out of mixers.

Day 8

If you heat the water first, rum and water tastes almost OK. Spent afternoon bird watching from verandah. Signed up for online yoga class.

Heard PM might speak again. Terrified of what he might say next.

Watching Ramayana on Doordarshan. How did we once watch it every week? But this is all starting to feel a bit like Yesterday Once More — the whole family at home, evening games of Ludo and Uno, Doordarshan and Ramayana. Makes one nostalgic.

Almost brought out the old family album. Is hairdressing included under exempt services?

Day 9

Am hearing rumors the lockdown will be extended. Need conditioner for hair and mixers for the drinks. Mulling starting on that bottle of tourist alcohol with scorpion suspended inside it. How bad can it be? Wish I had some decent cola to wash it down with.

Will need to have drinks every other day, I think. How many days till April 14? What day is it today?

In another part of India

Day 1

No job. Cannot afford rent. Rushed to train station. State borders closed.

Day 2

Gathered kids, ₹700, and set out on foot for the village in Bihar. 1,065 kilometres to go.

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The writer is the author of Don’t Let Him Know, and like many Bengalis likes to let everyone know about his opinions whether asked or not.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 2:07:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/lockdown-diary-an-imaginary-take-on-everyday-life-during-covid-19/article31255120.ece

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