Moments of Small Little things

There’s immense satisfaction and happiness in small little things of life, and that’s no secret! The small little things that I could have always done but never did.

Evening Cuppa at the Balcony

It’s nearly evening, or should I say late afternoon. At this time the mellowed sun appears perfectly rounded and has moved to the far west. On the way, it has splattered subtle shades of yellows, oranges, and crimsons all over the western sky. Seated in my living room, I can see the familiar warm comfortable glow fill up my kitchen cabinets as some of the light trickles in through the window.

I put my laptop to sleep and walk up to the kitchen. Soon, I have two cups of hot tea. I call out to my sister, who’s working in the guest room. She just happened to be with me during the lockdown. We leave our laptops and phones behind and for the next one hour settle down in the balcony with tea and biscuits.

My sister’s pencil sketch of us in the balcony.

The softening yellow ball of fire can be seen from one side. And, it’s time for the birds to go home. There’s the bunch of eagles soaring high up in the sky, the flock of tiny birds that glide a few feet below as if competing with the eagles, the squawking parrots that fly in small gangs one after the other, the unseen cuckoo that sings into the evening whose nest must be somewhere nearby, the cute little tiny sunbirds that perch here and there, the odd bulbul and the kingfisher that comes by sometimes, those few noisy mynas, a couple of ravens, and the irritating pigeons.

Amid admiring the birds and enjoying the changing hues of sunset, we talk about a hundred things – family, friends, books, movies, social media, our anxieties and worries, our travels, our jobs, Covid 19, lockdown, and anything and everything under the sun.

Now, we eagerly look forward to the evenings every single day. My home happens to be in a quiet corner of the apartment. The balcony was always there, so were the birds, so was the sunset but never did we spend time in the balcony. We were too busy, you see!

Mornings of Squirrel Cuteness

It’s about 9.00 AM. Breakfast time. Not just for us but for the squirrel family too.

Peanuts – my favourite breakfast

A squirrel family has been visiting my home for the past 2-3 years. There are 3-4 of them and all of them look alike except for some minor differences mostly in their sizes. For the sake of convenience, all of them have been christened with the same name – TUNTUNI. They live in the tree that spreads across one side of my house through the balcony, the kitchen, and the guest bedroom.

It’s the common Indian Palm Squirrel, grey-brown in colour with a bushy tail, and characterized by three conspicuous white stripes that run from head to tail. Hyperactive and superfast, they had thwarted all my attempts of clicking them. I had since given up and just enjoyed their company. Not just me, they would entertain my guests too.

My sister had never paid attention to them before. Now she can be found chasing the squirrels and filming every act of squirrel cuteness. The renewed focus resulted in new-found adulation. I got a bag of peanuts for them even in the lockdown. Every morning we feed them in return for some unparalleled adorable and magical squirrel moments.

The Myna Nest

Talking about the squirrels, it’ll be gross injustice if I leave out the Myna couple. For the past few weeks, in fact even before the lockdown had started, we had spotted a Myna couple in and around my home.

The Myna’s untidy nest. Don’t miss the two roses at the top!

It’s the common house Myna, which is sometimes identified as a pest in certain parts of the world. Little did we know that the couple had built a nest in my kitchen chimney exhaust pipe.

We had been noticing some noise in the pipe for a while now but did not pay much heed as this happens sometimes. We always thought the tiny sunbirds made their way into the chimney pipe. Recently, the activities in the chimney was nothing less than a ruckus. The Myna couple were seen busy with various activities through the day. Once they even angrily chased the squirrel and we could never figure out what what had happened. Two days back the babies flew off and the Myna couple have since disappeared – probably enjoying the graduation of their kids.

My sister sketches Tuntuni, the squirrel and the Myna

And, I can’t help but wonder that these are certain things that I could have always done but I never did. It had to take a Covid-19 lockdown or else I would have missed it all.

Locked Down

As Covid-19 tightened its grip around us, the initial few days felt surreal, as though we were living a sci-fi Hollywood movie. Anxiety and gloom took over as we were forced into a lockdown situation. Days passed and we started getting used to this new normal. A month into the lockdown in India now, the number of positive cases have risen but we have started talking about flattening the curve. We may see a gradual easing out of the lockdown soon.

While I desperately want the lockdown to end, a part of me sadistically wants this to continue – my love for Mother Nature makes me blind.

As I had written before, the lockdown hasn’t changed my life drastically. Certain changes did happen, which is but natural. However, some people have been drastically affected by the lockdown. I will not go into the stories of the migrant workers, the daily wage earners, and others like them. Their sufferings are beyond my comprehension. I have never experienced their fears and apprehensions. I can only imagine. The images and stories that I have seen and read have given me sleepless nights. I feel ill-equipped to write about them. Hence, let me stick to the impact of lockdown on people like me – the privileged lot, for whom the lockdown has been a rather luxurious one.

Many are struggling with issues like insomnia, binge eating, binge Netflix, etc. Many are struggling with being unable to maintain a routine. Many are struggling with serious issues of isolation, loneliness, depression, panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Again, contrary to this, many are jostling for some personal space in the confinement of the four walls of their small flats. I had read somewhere about the importance of having a balcony during the pandemic and I had thought to myself – well, how true that is!

Psychological disorders are a serious issue in metro cities, like Bangalore. Many of us live alone and are far away from family and home. Added to that is the stress of living in unplanned and chaotic cities. There are many people affected in some way or the other, the number is much more than we think. Some are open, most are not. If you have ever tried to get an appointment with a psychologist, you would know what I am talking about. The pandemic is only making it worse for this vulnerable group of people. I personally know people who would deliberately go for regular workouts to the gym or would regularly run/jog. Their only intention would be to keep stress and anxiety at bay. While some of them are finding alternatives in their homes by resorting to things like weightlifting, skipping, etc. others are struggling to find an outlet.

Several others are silently suffering – people stuck up with their abusive partners, abusive in-laws; caregivers of the sick and the elderly who aren’t able to take a break; people caught up in sexual abuse within the four walls of their homes; people facing mental and emotional tortures from their family members; and innumerable other situations.

Well, this is not what I was planning to write today. I had intended to write about some things that I have personally enjoyed during this month-long lockdown, but this post just took off in another direction.

Shall continue in the next post….

Staying @Home

Busy as busy can be, I still have no time – like it always has been!

We are on the 14th day of a nation-wide lockdown in India in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdown was announced suddenly, there was hardly any time to plan and think. It was a desperate situation. We didn’t have a choice. The virus wouldn’t wait, and we had to slow down its spread. It’s been the world’s largest lockdown, where the 1.3 billion of us have been asked to stay home for 21 days, that took off from March 24. While this was the need of the hour, it has led to several complicated situations. Not surprising though, in the world’s second most populous country and it’s complex and varied demography.

It’s a Tuesday. A weekday like this would usually revolve around office for people like me. Whether we like it or not, office takes up a large chunk of our day and thereby what we do for a living defines a large part of our lives. Most of the people in my circle have suddenly found themselves in a work-from-home situation, especially those from the corporate sector. While some are used to that culture, many aren’t. Then, there are some others, especially those working in the government sector, who are grounded at home with no work at all. Both these groups are grappling with their newfound and unusual situations. Initially, there was a sense of excitement of being at home, even with the Covid-19 gloom hanging in the air. That is now slowly giving way to boredom and restlessness.

Many are struggling hard as they juggle their office work, house work, children, and family. This isn’t easy, being used to the assistance of maids and cooks. Drawing the boundary between work and home while being at home is a difficult task. Then, there are others who are making good use of their free time by investing on things that nourish their souls. Some are sketching and painting; some singing and playing musical instruments; some designing creative videos and so on. A couple of them even displayed hidden talents that I that we never knew existed.

Amid all of this I am pretty much where I always was – lockdown or no lockdown. There aren’t any drastic changes in my life.

When I am in Bangalore, I am mostly holed up in my home. I have been working from home for nearly 4 years now. I am not required to go to office. Though, I did go once or twice a week but even that was at my discretion and sometimes I wouldn’t step out for an entire week. Neither my manager nor my team bothers about my whereabouts, as long as work gets done. So, my weekdays haven’t changed at all.

On weekends, the crowd and the traffic were deterrent enough to contain me in my little nest, except those occasional meeting with friends. However, I used to have people visiting me, which would happen quite often than less. I would also step out for grocery and other essential household items as I always preferred buying from the local market rather than online markets. Since I live alone, such outings were not in plenty. It wasn’t required.

There’s only thing that is significantly different now. There’s no travel, no outing, no planning for the same. Ironically, I am not missing them at all. Not just yet.

And, as always, I still struggle to keep pace with time. I just have no clue where all the time goes! Or maybe I do. The social butterfly that I am, even though I stay at home most of the time. No, not social media but connecting with friends and family over phone calls and WhatsApp messaging. And that does eat up a lot of my time.