Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true! – is something we have heard often.

We (my family) are dependent on my household help for running our professional and personal lives smoothly. Her presence is needed most importantly to ensure there is someone to receive the younger one when he is back from school. Those two hours from when his school bus drops him home are most critical for us. Trust my help to take unplanned leaves, exactly on the days I need to go into work or meet a customer. When this happened twice in February, I declared that we as a family need to get self-reliant and not depend on anyone else. And the rest is history

Thanks to the lockdown in India to fight the COVID-19 crisis, in a matter of days, we as a family have become fully self-reliant. Dear God, we are a self-reliant family, can we return to normalcy please?

When the lockdown began, social media was flooded with messages on how we have no more excuses to learn a new skill, gain knowledge and get fit. Frankly, none of this is happening for me as each of my waking moment is spent on chores and work. Whether the lockdown is letting you develop a new skill or not, it is helping me, and my family reinforce some core values and behaviours:

Attitude of gratitude: The first thing that struck me when the lockdown was gratitude. I am grateful that my family and I safe, we are well provided for, our loved ones are close, and we are able to work from home and hold onto our jobs. I pledge that I will ingrain the attitude of gratitude in my DNA here on.

Teamwork: Everyone in my family has pitched in with the chores, albeit there is lot more each one can do to make it an equitable distribution of labour 😊.  Currently it stands at 90% Mom (i.e. me) and 10% rest of the family. The earlier distribution was 50% mom and 50% household help. 😊

Discipline:  There is no way one can balance increased workload and still stay sane- definitely needs discipline. Devising a schedule and sticking to it always helps. And of course, being born a Virgo makes it easier!

Mental and Physical Well Being: there is no way I would have gotten through the lockdown without losing my cool, if I didn’t have my daily practice of meditation, affirmations and yoga. The 45 minutes at the start of the day, has kept me positive and energized throughout the day. Not to say I am saint. Of course, I did lose my cool – on and off – but those were few and far in between. After all I am human 😊

Giving Back: During this time, each one has been thinking – how can I do my bit to help fight this crisis? While the frontline workers, the administrators, governments, the technology geeks, the scientists and research communities have played a pivotal role in fighting the pandemic, the common man has pitched in too. The fortunate and privileged have stepped up donating time and money to ensure essentials reach the less fortunate. Many have cooked meals to serve the needy – this in addition to their chores and work. Many stepped up to help, the senior citizens living alone in securing their essentials and medicines. The human spirt has been at its commendable best. This attitude is the hope for humanity.

Adaptability: Overnight, the kids were at home, the household chores increased, everyone is stuck at home with nowhere to go. The days seemed endless, but everyone adjusted to the reality and new normal. I was expecting the kids would resist being cooped at home, but surprisingly they adapted to the situation.

I work in an organization spread across the globe. Early January when our colleagues in Hong Kong and Singapore were taking precautionary steps against the dreaded virus, I never imagined the virus would hit India, let alone create a pandemic. I have seen the SARS epidemic in 2006-2007 and India wasn’t affected. I had even traveled during those times and it was business as usual.  There was no way COVID-19 could hit us. Even if it did, we Indians with our fighting spirit will overcome the dreaded disease.

And lo and behold, India and the world are in the middle of a pandemic (this word has been an addition to my vocabulary in the recent months).  Something not many living on this earth right now have ever seen before or even imagined – except Bill Gates and the those who made and watched the movie Contagion.

Lots has happened during these few weeks, in my life and head – the gist follows below.

The best laid plans are on hold
While we wait for a cure to unfold
Vacations, family reunions, pilgrimages await
Birthday celebrations are without mates

Across the globe, everyone is lining up at grocery stores
Rich, Poor, young, old, everyone is hit to the core
There is always a next time we swore
But loved ones are leaving without goodbyes unlike before
The earth is healing, but we can’t step out of the door
24 hours in the day was always less, now even lesser more

Gadgets are breaking, the house is creaking
While the disease is peaking
A whole wave of home automation will arrive
As soon as we get back our lives

The internet and video have taken over the world
Home-schooling for kids has unfurled
Doctors consult online
Cooking has become everyone’s passtime

Business are going digital
Catching up with friends and family online is a miracle
Jobs are being lost
New skills are being sought

Men and boys are roaming around with long manes
Pretending to be Robinhood, but in vain
Coffee with friends, stroll through the park
Browsing store aisles, filling my shopping cart
Soft hands, shapely eyebrows
I miss them all

Every night, I go to bed with conviction – this too shall pass
For humans are resilient and intelligent, we will rebound with class
There will be light at the end of the tunnel
Even though we seem stuck in a funnel
I will be able to hop onto a plane soon
To my hug my nephew for the first time ever and sing a tune

Till then Stay Home, Stay Safe, and Stay Strong!

New Beginnings !