Most of us are at home, willingly or not, riding through the Corona Virus pandemic. Some of us are working from home, some are studying, but all are waiting for a semblance of a normal routine to return to our lives. We have to believe that everything will eventually return to normal, maybe a new normal, so to speak. After the social distancing habits formed over the past few months, people will continue to be wary of crowded public spaces. The ritual of 20 second handwashes will possibly continue for the foreseeable future; especially when most credible news sources predict that this is not the first of the 21st century pandemics and certainly won’t be the last.
Let’s say that each of us is biding time. No amount of ideas or resource lists is truly going to take our minds off the fact that we are mandatorily home bound for the next few weeks or months (in some countries).
I’ve exhausted most ideas this week. I’ve done all the origami, paper bags, watched enough streaming videos, organised and decluttered to a point where there is no place to store the decluttered items creating more clutter. Cooking and feeding, which is so socially focused, is not fun anymore given the lockdown. So, what’s next?
So, I’m making plans and lists for the rest of 2020. Trends may come and go, but list making has stood the test of time. Most humans have an innate need to follow a checklist; we take one to a grocery store; one for travel; for those must-have books, a to-do list for the weekend…you get the picture. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I don’t know anyone personally who doesn’t follow a daily to-do list of some sort.
Lists are comforting,and force us to have concrete to look forward to in uncertainty. I’m making one right now, and it’s a list of what I’m going to do, see, eat, buy; once the world has re-oriented.
During the Chennai floods of winter 2015, when the city was just recovering from the disaster and schools were closed; I had stumbled on a series called ‘Dresden Files’ with its protagonist who’s a wizard named Harry (hint hint!) Dresden. I read the first one within a couple of days, and spent a good chunk of time and money speeding through the remaining 14 (yes, 14!) ebooks within 2 months.
I was addicted, and wanted MORE. I scoured the interwebs and found out that the 16th one was due soon. What I didn’t know then, was that the 16th book would take 4.5 more years to get written and published. (Author went through a personal crisis). Finally, the 16th book- ‘Peace Talks’ is due this July 2020. And I’m quite excited! Consider this as a personal recommendation for all you adults who are too old for Harry Potter but love magic.
Street food joint closures is just one of the many drawbacks of the lockdown, not just for us food lovers, but also for the small time entrepreneurs who run these places. I hope they, like many other small business owners and daily wage laborers, have monetary support of some sort to last them through the weeks/months of no cash flow.
Being a family of die hard street food lovers, we’re planning to eat Kati Roll, Dahi Bhalla/Dahi Vada and Thatte Idli (Bangalore special). What’s on your must-eat list?
Have you seen that meme “I have a ton of clothes to donate to goodwill, but first I’m going to carry it around in my car for a few months”? That’s me. I have a massive pile of textbooks and curricular resources that I’ve been meaning to donate in the backseat of my car taking up the space of one whole person. Guess what? That’s the first on my to-do list once the children’s shelter opens up for donations. We need that space to re-stock on groceries now.
You know the trips that are forever on the must-visit list but don’t seem to materialise. Visiting Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site and the erstwhile seat of the Vijayanagara empire, is one such location that remains a plan. Either it is too hot or family events take priority. But, not this time. Hampi here we come!
Meeting family and friends without a mask and social distancing norms!. Who knew recluses also needed social connects, like a tune-up? No amount of face timing or whatsapp video calls can replace meeting your favorite people face to face. I was pro-technology, especially in education and communication; but after this forced period of only tech, I’m veering to the position of a (not-quite) Luddite. Technology cannot compensate or replace the human need for personal, physical connection. So, meeting face-to-face is on our to-do list.
I want, no, I need more plants from my favorite local nursery to replace the ones that have died or have been given away. Most of my daughter’s flowering plants died over the winter, and being a flower lover, she wants more; maybe sunflowers this time. A few of my succulents had root rot and couldn’t be saved, so my list in my visit to the local plant nursery includes Echeveria green prince or elegans or glauca, Sansevieria, Spider plants, Spathiphyllum and last, flowering plants like marigold or sunflower.
If list making doesn’t help and If I still feel overwhelmed from uncertainty or impatience caused due to the status quo, I dip into my book of handwritten quotations that have been collected over the past 10 odd years. If there is one habit I recommend heartily apart from daily exercise, it is to keep a journal or like in my case, a book of quotations to reach for when you’re struggling with certain phases in life; which could be as simple as stuck in a routine rut or as life changing as moving to a foreign country and starting over anew.