It’s been 127 days since I’ve been on a home-bound lockdown situation.
Interestingly, when I started this lockdown on March 3rd, 2020, it wasn’t thanks to COVID. I had sustained a rather severe ankle sprain thanks to a nasty fall on the badminton court and was asked to stay off my feet for 3 weeks.
Within 3 weeks though, the actual lockdown began and ever since, we (India and most of the globe) have watched the world as we know it, change in so many, many ways.
Now, before you read further, I fully admit that I am incredibly blessed and privileged to be able to write this. I have a home, running water and electricity, food, the internet and my workout routine to keep me sane, which is way, way more than so many people can say.
Having said that, there have also been days when things have gone by in a blur, the days merged into one another thanks to the same-ness of routine and most nights where I fell into bed, fully exhausted by the ‘new normal’ and everything that came with it.
But there were some incredible lessons that came about in this phase and I wanted to share mine in this post.
A new-found love for cooking
I’ll be the first to admit that cooking has never been a favourite thing to do. It’s not been a stress buster or a joy in the past. That’s mostly because my strengths lie in other areas; not gonna lie.
Once social media came around (Facebook/Instagram), I ventured into making some recipes and posting pictures of it online. That fizzled out very quickly though, since apparently my pictures weren’t really social-media worthy. People were kind enough to let me know 😉
Then I thought, ‘Well, why am I posting about this on social media anyway?Not like I’m a celebrated chef!’
During this lockdown though, something very curious happened. I began to pay more attention to the slow, meditative process of cooking. Of chopping the vegetables, adding the spices, experimenting with new flavours and watching the dish come together.
From pindi chole , aviyal and mor kozhambu and ensuring that the chepan kizhangu had that perfect crisp as it simmered in the saucepan, I tried my hand at everything from traditional thogayals to Cous cous salads.
And with some sense of pride, I must admit that the dishes came out incredibly well!
I’m a recipe follower, so no impromptu cooking et al for me. Also, I never ventured into baking, because I don’t have an OTG. (No banana bread, sorry).
In essence, what happened was I began to savour the idea of cooking, instead of seeing it as a necessary drudgery on the daily calendar.
Reading More Intently
I love reading; always have.
But I found reading non-fiction especially calming and soothing; I have no idea why.
One of the most incredible writers I stumbled across in this time was George Kao. I’ve spoken about him in greater depth here.
But, in short, READ HIS WORK. It will change your life.
Taking more time away from my phone and social media
I’ve always been a vocal advocate of using social media minimally. As a blogging coach, I know the value of social media. But I also know how addictive it can become.
Taking conscious, extended breaks really helped me evaluate what matters in the grand scheme of things, especially when people I knew were affected by the virus.
I’m a part of the generation that grew up without the internet. I am the kind of person who’d write 3-page-long letters and then wait for a month for a reply. And I was immensely, exceedingly happy too. I’d spend hours immersed in a book or practising my music.
How terrible that social media swooped in and took away such simple joys! How much most of us live in this bubble of validation and FOMO; isn’t that sad?
The lockdown reminded me that there are things way more important than social media.
That I didn’t need to be in touch with people every single day, to show that I cared.
That it was okay to take long, silent breaks from the barrage of information and notifications and nobody would judge me for it. And even if they did, that was completely okay!
Became a student again
While this period has not been the best for many people, I found it ripe for joining my first ever mastermind group for business coaches in early June.
It’s been transformative.
Aligning with other people who just ‘get’ you and your journey is another kind of joy.
Connected with my teen
It’s been a rather tumultous year with my growing teen. And when I say growing, I mean that in the literal sense too! She is now taller than me by 2 inches!
But it’s also been a very energizing 4 months thanks to the lockdown.
In this time together, we’ve had some incredibly intimate talks, done the ‘birds and the bees’ discussion with great openness and explored multiple layers of relationships- with elders, peers and parents.
She’s also observed more keenly the amount of work that goes into keeping a household running and pitches in with chores rather readily.
There’s also a sense of responsibility that she’s developed with regard to her schooling.
I’m particularly in awe of how incredibly well she’s adapted to the online learning experience with grace.
At heart though, she’s still very much that innocent cherub of mine who loves to cuddle up next to me, while we both enjoy our cups of tea and watch ‘Kung Fu Panda’ for the 4th time.
None of what I’ve mentioned in today’s post are exclusive to a lockdown experience, by the way.
We can all learn these things even without a global pandemic hanging over our heads with anxiety and dread.
But somehow, in certain imperceptible ways, these lessons found their way into my life and perhaps that’s something to be grateful for, even when the world looks as it does at the moment.