All posts by bienumv

Love to read, write, travel and talking to self & people!

Me & You – A Daughter Remembers…

Dedicated to my dear father, late Jagdish Varma who left on his eternal voyage too soon, lived too short a life but it was truly inspirational, full of enthusiasm and dynamism, The one who always thought ahead of his time. He gave me some life’s invaluable lessons which helped me immensely in my life. Forever be grateful for that and forever proud of being his daughter.

When time is aplenty, the mind wanders freely, I miss those times spent with him particularly nowadays when I see seasons changing, times changing, lives changing, people changing, boundaries changing…closely! Observing Twilight zone from a distance reminds me of him, and my mind surrounds me with so many questions: Why good lives are so short-lived? What would have been lifelike, if he was around? What all I could have achieved in his presence? Would there be so much struggle, if he was there? Would I have accomplished my dream of a foreign degree?

Maybe I would have accomplished so much more, which his untimely death restricted. Simply can’t get overtimes, when life took 180-degree spin and since then it became ‘our’ life which was ‘his’ life. But destiny has its role in everybody’s life, so was in our lives. I am proud to say that we have made him certainly proud by taking control of our lives and confidently accomplished – Small – Big – of which he must happy up there.

This is for you PAPA, presenting the scenario of 2020 so that you know what is happening below:

Picture Courtesy Kamal Mathur

Me – Standing in the twilight zone

Of light and darkness, Of hope & fear

Light encloses hope

Me & You

Setting on the voyage’s eternal

Searching life, from its sources to its destinations

Hitting new shores, inhabited

By synthetic divisions of designs, forms and smiles

Harbouring incongruity, our perennial feeling

Me & You

Sailing on the same boat

Promises of a new life, a new evolution

An enriched existence, entirely of our own

Darkness silhouettes fears

Known and unknown

Drift along the drift

Me & You

Uncontrollable

Ignorant of my source, And the destination

Amidst faces clasped, On faces

In the obligatory relationships, Even of love

Me & You

Burdensome adjustments

An incongruous existence, To be seen through

In the crowds, yet lonely

It is dusk, As it has to be

Darkness looks nearer to house

And lights receding, eluding away

Or clouded are our perceptions?

Living in darkness, A painful reality

But look at the streaks of light

Me & You

Isn’t light supreme?

An omnipresent white canvas

Reflecting even darkness

Promising hope, night shall pass away

And showing us the way, We shall reach one day

Me & You

 

 

 

 

From “Made-in-China” to “Make-in-India”

From “Made-in-China” to “Make-in-India”

The Journey may be arduous but achievable as we Indians have it in us!

All these talks about “Chinese goods” rather ‘Ban Chinese Goods” in our country took me several years back when I had first brush with China and its industry. Probably the year was 2003, so nearly 17 years down the line…

I couldn’t resist sharing the experience with you considering the current scenario. I was part of the “International Journalist Delegation” representing “Indian Textile industry” for a summit in Hong Kong. This was probably the third time I was on a trip to HK, I loved going back to HK for some obvious reasons. It is truly a world city, very developed, very modern, very friendly, connected by a canal, metros, transit and unlimited shopping options. I visited ladies market Mong – Kong sometimes twice a day to shop to my heart’s content. I shopped, till I dropped…literally!

But this trip was different, as I had to take along very pertinent and important stories back home responsibly and not just the shopped stuff for the family. The change was too much to handle but writing & shopping are my equal passions. There were journalists (read Editors, I was Executive Editor for Apparel / Textile Magazine) from the U.S. U.K. Europe, Germany, Taiwan, Korea etc. and it was an experience of its kind amidst so many gems. It was during this trip that we were taken to Guangzhou, in China for some textile factory visit. It was very enlightening and interesting trip. We were briefed about the place and we set out for the journey after having meals in the floating restaurant. Though it was not that I had not seen textile hubs in India but this was certainly going to be different, much, much different.

Guangzhou appeared to be very neat, clean, green and developed, it set me thinking, I wish we had a place like this in India. The expression ran on my face, but we had to move on with our job. The roads, the flyovers, the shopping malls, commercial complexes were too much, whereas I thought it would be somewhere close to our humble Surat or at best Coimbatore…but I was like Alice in Wonderland.

Besides, being a major textile manufacturing hub, which supplies textile to the world, Guangzhou is a well-known wholesale market too. I came to know that most of the Indian companies shop from here especially fabrics and accessories. The place has many fabulous varieties to boot and you can find a phenomenal range of designs and patterns of fabrics like cotton, polyester, velvet, and microfibers fabrics. The stunning selection of fabrics is being used to produce magnificent apparel and garments by major brands of the world. Except for this, the market consists of home textile things as well.

My objective is not to glorify this, but that time my mind was synching for a variety of stories which I am going to share in India. The manufacturing plants are stupendously big, beyond comprehension and look-through not achievable in a single day. The workers on the shop floor didn’t even flutter their eye even when a strong team of nearly 20 foreigners walked in. I noticed this! Their scale of operation is quite big, the plant was spic and span, huge work-force, surrounded by greenery, indoor plants what to say of machinery, plant and products that were being churned out. Every aspect was worthy of praise and story…

Years later, when I visited Walmart in Toronto, Canada what I noticed was astonishing. Every second shelf was full of Chinese goods, the impression of China was rampant. This was the year 2004. After having some great time in Walmart, I came out and told my husband, “China will take over every country, everybody, all over the world, it would be all things Chinese if we don’t give up the lure of Chinese goods,” Was it a prophecy? Can’t say but my words turned out so true. Every country on the planet has exposure in China, which makes China, CHINA!  which it is thriving.

But on the back of mind was trip to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, I had all the reasons to support my argument.

It’s very pleasant to hear that we are talking about “Atm Nirbhar Bharat” but we have a long way to travel to achieve that.

Believe me, it would be worth it!

 

 

 

Lockdown & Lata Didi’s Songs…

लॉक डाउन के दौरान कुछ चीज़ों ने मेरा बड़ा साथ दिया
जिसने इस अनुभव को सरल बना दिया
मैं जोकि घूमने फिरने के शौक़ीन हूँ
इस बंद ने मुझे ज़िन्दगी का नया नज़रिया दिया

दिन की प्लानिंग कैसे की जाती जबकि कहीं जाना नहीं है
अपनी होब्बीएस को टटोलने का समय कैसे निकला जाए

बीते वर्षों में मैंने कभी गीत संगीत पर ध्यान ही नहीं दिया…

अब समय था तो मुझे याद आया की हमारे पास  भोपाल में
एक बड़ा रेडियो ग्राम था जिसमे मैं हर रात गाने सुना करती थी
होम वर्क करते वक़्त, पढाई करते वक़्त, वह शायद गानो का सबसे सुनहरा दौर था

पता ही नहीं चला कब लता दीदी के गानो से एक अजीब सा नाता जुड़ गया जो वक़्त के साथ जूनून बन गया, शायद ही दीदी का कोई गीत हो जो मैंने कभी ना सुना हो
बचपन की वह डोर अब खुले आकाश में उड़ रही है
न होम वर्क की चिंता, न ऑफिस जाने का समय

अब जब समय है तो मेरे जूनून ने जोर पकड़ा और
में रोज़ रात को लता दीदी के गाने सुनने लगी
अब में रोज़ रात १० बजने का इंतज़ार करती हूँ और
अपने मूड के अनुसार गाने सुनती हूँ, वह भी अपनी पसंद के

मूड, स्तिथि, परस्तिथि, ग़म, ख़ुशी, उदासी, हर मूड
के लिए लता दीदी के गीत सहाएक बने
अचानक मुझे लगा की गाना गाना मेरे दिल को
ख़ुशी देगा और मैंने स्टार मेकर अप्प पे
लता दीदी के गाने गाये जो कुछ लोगों को
काफी पसंद आ रहे हैं, कुछ लोग मेरे इस नए शौक
पे चकित हैं

लिखने तक तो ठीक था, पर गाना गाना
वह भी लता दीदी आशा ताई के, हिमाक़त है भाई

पर मुझे बहुत ही मज़ा आ रहा है, कुछ लोग मेरा उत्साह बढ़ा रहे है
कभी सोचा ना था मेरा सफर लता दीदी के
गानों के साथ  लॉक डाउन इतना आसान हो जायेगा

उनकी शान में कुछ लिखना सूरज को दिया दिखने जैसा होगा
उनकी आवाज़, उनका उच्चारण, उनकी संगीत, राग, सुर, ताल की
पकड़ अद्वितीय है
एक बात मुझे समझ आ गे की आप रियाज़, टेक्निक, सुर, ताल, के साथ
कितना भी अच्छा गा सकते है
पर दीदी जैसे आवाज़ इस धरती पर नहीं है

मेरा उनसे एक अटूट नाता है, जो हमेशा रहेगा

चरों तरफ कितनी भी उदासियाँ है
पर उनके गीत अपने ज़िन्दगी में उजाला भर देते हैं

मेरे कुछ पसंददीदा गीत मैं आपसे से शेयर कर रही हूँ

१. लग जा गले से फिर ये हसीं रात हो न हो
२. नैना बरसे रिमझिम रिमझिम
३. चाँद फिर निकला मगर तुम ना आये
४. यह ज़िन्दगी उसी की है जो किसी का हो गया
५. जो हमने दास्ताँ अपनी सुनाई, आप क्यों रोये
६. मैं तो भूल चली बाबुल का देस
७. जादुगर सैयां छोड़ो मोरा बैयां
८. तीर नज़र देखेंगे ज़ख्मे जिगर देखेंगे
९. मौसम है आशिक़ाना ऐ दिल कहीं से उनको
१०. ुइ माँ ुइ माँ यइ क्या हो गया उनकी गली में दिल खो गया
११. ये गलियां ये चौबारा यहाँ आना न दोबारा
१२ चन्दन सा बदन चंचल चितवन, धीरे से तेरा यह मुस्काना
१३. मेरे ख्वाबों में जो आये आके मुझे छेद जाए
१४. संसार से भागे फिरते हो
१५. जारी कारे बद्रा बालम के पास
१६. रजनीगंधा फूल तुम्हारे महके युहीं जीवन में
१७. धीरे धीरे मचल ऐ दिलइ बेक़रार
१८. सुन सबीहा सुन प्यार की धुन
१९. लिखने वाले ने लिख डाले मिलान के साथ बिछोड़े
२०. जारी जा ो हरजाई देखि तेरी दिलदारी

लता दीदी का एक बहुत ही प्यारा गीत मैंने गया जो
मेरी मम्मी का भी पसंददीदा है

 

Corona Kaal, Maha Kaal…

चारों तरफ मौत का दर्दनाक मंज़र है
नींद पर काली स्याह रातों का खंजर है

दिन की शुरुआत मायूसी से
दिन का अंत उदासी से

आज का तो गया
कल क्या लाएगा

मौतों का अनवरत सिलसिला जारी है
जैसे किसी युग अंत की तैयारी है

जिस मौत से सब इतना डरते थे
आज उसको इतने करीब से देख रहे है

पहले कभी किसी मौत पर आंसू बहते थे
आज आंसुआं का सिलसिला थम नहीं रहा

कितने भाई बहेनो की असमय बिदाई ने
छूटआई है हम सबकी रुलाई

कुछ लोग लड़ रहे हैं
बाकी देख रहें है

कुछ वाद विवाद कर रहे हैं
कुछ ज्ञान बाँट रहे है

इतना समय है फिर भी कोई कुछ सोच नहीं पा रहा
उधेड़बुन का सिलसिला थम ही नहीं रहा

ऐसे में जब अपनों को गले लगाने का समय है
सामाजिक दूरी उफान पर है

वायरस है, इलाज नहीं, हॉस्पिटल है, बीएड नहीं
तकनीक की इतनी ताकत, फिर भी इंसान असहाय है!

Main to bhool chali…

आज का गीत सरस्वती चंद्र (१९६८) फिल्म का बहुत ही प्यारा गरबा गीत है

यह गीत मेरे ससुराल “वाघेला परिवार” को समर्पित है

आज माँ तुल्य सासु माँ नहीं हैं, पापा जैसे पप्पा भी नहीं हैं

अब सिर्फ उनकी यादें हैं, काश ये गीत मैंने उनके सामने गया होता…

एक कायस्थ (यु पि) परिवार से होने के कारन, हमारे और उनके परिवेश में बहुत ही अंतर था

पर उन्होंने अपने प्यारे व्यवहार मुझे जल्दी ही अपना बना लिया

मम्मी जिन्हे सब भाभी कहते थे, सिर्फ मैं ही मम्मी कहती थी

तो वह बहुत खुश होती थी

पप्पा हर बात में राय लिया करते थे, राजनीती पर लम्बा डिस्कशन करते थे

जब छोटा देवर ( From the USA) या छोटी नन्द गुजरात से आते थे

सब परिवार अपने दाल बल समेत गुजराती भोजन का आनंद लेते थे

अतुल चाचा और जयश्री काकी ( मामी)

के अमेरिकन सामान की ख़ुशी अतुल नीये थी

 

ऍक दुसरे की टांग खींचते थे

जितने बड़े उतने बच्चे. सब सेल्फी लेने में मग्न

दीदी हर समय हर मदद को तैयार

हर बड़े छोटे उत्सव में उत्साहित

गुजराती परिवार की हर परंपरा उनसे सीखी

साथ में बहुत साड़ी शादियां और फंक्शन्स, सेलेब्रेशन्स

पूजा (भतीजी) की शादी में सारे परिवार ने बहुत

आनंद लिया, उसकी भी प्यारी बिटिया है हेतवी

 

सारे बच्चे – मिताली अंकिता अक्षय पूजा अवनि पूराव

सब के साथ बहुत मज़ा रहा, अब बड़े हो गए है

हमेशा मुस्कराने वाली वर्षा दीदी जीजाजी

हमेशा सीरियस रहने वाले मअनु भाई और कला भाभी

और पति मुकुंद के तो क्या कहने

हर लिहाज़ से लाजवाब, पुत्री तान्या

यह सब एक ही गुलदान के फूल है

फिर भी सब कितने अलग. हर एक नायाब

 

कब २५ साल बीत चले पता ही नहीं चला

आज बहुत कुछ बदल गया है, काश न बदला होता

बदलाव हे प्रकृति का नियम है

फिर भी बहुत कुछ वैसा ही है

क्यूंकि मैं वैसी ही हूँ

Alice in wonderland! 

 

 

 

Krishnakali, turned some leaves of life!

जब ‘कृष्णकली’ लिख रही थी तब लेखनी को विशेष परिश्रम नहीं करना पड़ा, सब कुछ स्वयं ही सहज बनता चला गया था। जहाँ कलम हाथ में लेती, उस विस्तृत मोहक व्यक्तित्व को, स्मृति बड़े अधिकारपूर्ण लाड़-दुलार से खींच, सम्मुख लाकर खड़ा कर देती, जिसके विचित्र जीवन के रॉ-मैटीरियल से मैंने वह भव्य प्रतिमा गढ़ी थी। ओरछा की मुनीर के ही ठसकेदार व्यक्तित्व को सामान्य उलट-पुलटकर मैंने पन्ना की काया गढ़ी थी। जब लिख रही थी तो बार-बार उनके मांसल मधुर कंठ की गूँज कानों में गूँज उठती। वही विस्तृत मधुर गूँज, उनके नवीन व्यक्तित्व के साथ, ‘कृष्णकली’ में उतर आई। —
शिवानी.
I heard the whole of Krishnakali by Shivani all of 49 chapters. It is very engaging as narrators voice is very beautiful and her style is very versatile. If a single person has narrated the entire book then it is fantastic, salute! It seemed the whole story is running before our eyes. What to say of Shivanji’s Krishnakali, beautiful, vivacious, intelligent and innocent protagonist. Krishnakali’s beauty mesmerised everyone around her who had dusky complexion and beautifully expressive eyes. I read this book years ago while in school and marvelled: Can a dusky looking girl be so beautiful?
Krishnakali is the representative of the times when girls didn’t speak their mind. They were in – doctrined about everything right from religious beliefs to education to marriage …everything. Krishnakali was above all this, she spoke of her mind, she never let her dusky complexion come in the way of her professional rise. Her curvaceous life, like her thought process, are simply mesmerising. She was attached and detached at the same time in all her relations.
Took her own decisions, never hidden her lineage from people who mattered. She was emotional and practical. The story revolved around her character and each and every character so beautifully etched. What to say of Shivaniji’s writing style, such fine detailing of people, life in Almora, Nainital, Allahabad, Calcutta and Delhi. Even cities have come to life. No wonder, she has been my favourite author and comes from my home town Lucknow.
It can be called Shivani’s revolutionary novel depicting the times when Indians considered only fair complexioned girls as beautiful. Particularly in the marriage market, where fair complexion ruled the roost. If you told some only that your daughter is Saanvli – they will sympathise with you and bring rishte of only Cat C and Cat D boys. As Cat A and Cat B-boys were not open for dusky complexion girls. Moreso, proposal of professional, meritorious dusky complexioned girl would envelop those boys in some strange inferiority complex. They will come up with rata rataya: Hamare khaandaan mein bahuen naukri nahin karti hain...and many such excuses.
No amount of merits mattered to them. With due apologies to all but I am talking here of the community I belonged to which hails from Central UP. Sorry about my strong views on the subject, thankfully times have changed, girls are viewed in a better perspective. They have the upper hand in every matter which matters, more so marriage. Appreciated and selected on their merits and not just complexion, which was the norm in our times. I always felt that marriage is only for fair complexion girls, so I better forget about it and concentrate on my studies and career. Eventually, that paid in the long run!
Coming this from Shivani, making her protagonist exceptional, beautiful and intelligent and most sought after must have inculcated confidence in girls of those times. Can any country be more racist than this? More on this sometime later…
A very unique experience of listening to any book, till now I have been reading books. Earlier I used to walk with the book the house, and everybody knew what I was reading. This time I was walking with Mobile with my headphones over. Completely engrossed in the book and nobody knew what I was listening…so happy completed just now. Pratilipi Hindi I can listen to more of some of my favourite Hindi fiction.
You too download Pratilipi!

Sabhi seema rekahon ke paar, geetkar Yogesh ji

गीतकार योगेश जी हमारे बीच नहीं रहे..

उन्होंने कई ऐसे गीत लिखे जो हम सबके बहुत ही प्रिय रहे हैं
बड़ी से बड़ी बात सरल भाषा में कहने वाले गीतकारों में सबसे अग्रणी रहे …

उनके गीत उनके समय के गीत ही नहीं, उस समय के दस्तावेज़ हैं
आज के दौर का सबसे सटीक गीत भी योगेशजी का ही लिखा हुआ है

यह जो मन की सीमा रेखा है, मन तोड़ने लगता है …

आज जब हम सब लोक डाउन में हैं

उनके सभी गीत बहुत याद आ रहे हैं कुछ तो मेरे बहुत प्रिये रहें हैं …

१. बड़ी सूनी सूनी है यह ज़िन्दगी
२. कहीं दूर जब दिन ढल जाये
३. रिम झिम गिरे सावन
४. ज़िन्दगी कैसे है पहेली
५. रजनीगंधा फूल तुम्हारे
६. ना जाने क्यों होता है यह ज़िन्दगी के साथ
७. जानेमन जानेमन तेरे दो नयन

अनेको गीत जिनमे कई ज़िन्दगी के छुए, अनछुए पहलु है
बातों में जितनी गहराई है, गीतों में उतनी ही ऊँचाई है

अपने एक इंटरव्यू में कहा था
“जो देखता था, जो जीता था, वही लिखा है”

उनके गीतों में उनके आस पास के लोगों की कहानियां होती थी

उनका लिखा मेरा सबसे प्रिय गीत साझा कर रही हूँ

जिसमे जीवन का बड़ा दर्शन है

कई बार युहीं देखा है, यह जो मन की सीमा रेखा है
मन तोड़ने लगता है

लखनऊ के योगेश जी देश की धरोहर हैं

sub.h hotī hai shaam hotī hai umr yūñhī tamām hotī hai

मुंशी अमीरुल्लाह तस्लीम
ने क्या खूब कहा है

“सुबह होती है, शाम होती है…
…उम्र युहीं तमाम होती है”

हर दिन एक सा, फिर भी कितना अलग

कुछ नया, कुछ पुराना

कभी लेखों के साथ, कभी गीतों के साथ
कभी पाठन के साथ, कभी भोजन के साथ
कभी मौन के साथ, कभी वार्तालाप के साथ
कभी यादों के साथ, कभी भूलों के साथ
कभी फूलों के साथ, कभी काटों के साथ

दिन और रात का चक्र अनवरत घूम रहा है
और हम चल रहे हैं, या ठहरे हुए हैं
इन सब प्रश्नो से घिरे हुए हम सब कुछ न कुछ
करने या सोचने में मशगूल हैं

कोरोना एक बीमारी ही नहीं, एक जीवन दर्शन है
जिसने हमें ज़िन्दगी के कुछ अनमोल सबक दिए
जो युहीं मिलने मुमकिन नहीं थे

सच्चे मानो में ज़िन्दगी का आइना दिखाया
उन चीज़ों के बिना रहना सिखाया, जो अभिन्न थे  
उन रिश्तों के दूर और पास होने का एहसास कराया
किसी नए को अपना बनाया
किसी पुराने को पराया बनाया

बाहर जाना छुड़ाया, अंदर रहना सिखाया
चाय पीना सिखाया, आय के बिना जीना सिखाया
मंदिर मस्जिद सब घर में और ईश्वर अल्लाह सब दिल में

सबके लिए कुछ न कुछ सौगात लाया
कुछ पुराने हर्फ़ उधेड़ दिए, कुछ नए हर्फ़ जोड़ दिए

हर कोई सोच रहा है, आगे क्या?

COVID19 SCARY, JOB LOSS SCARIER!

As I have been expressing in my social media posts that middle – class of India has been worst hit due to the impact of Covid19, and no one is talking about it. The job loss, salary delays, salary trims, uncertainty in jobs, are rampant. Middle-class is bearing the brunt of all this and more amidst paying EMIs, School Fees, Household expenses, Electricity & Mobile bills, Water & Gas bills and many such other expenditures. The biggest taxpayer has been left high and dry, there is no compensation for their families, simply because they are too shy to ask for it.

Doesn’t this huge Indian middle-class contribute to the economy? There is no social security for them or their children, even they have contributed immensely to the growth of Indian economy, don’t our children deserve some better life. We study hard, score good marks, struggle for jobs, secure jobs then pay taxes and in return, we get no pension, no reservation for our children in school, colleges, scholarships etc. We are left to fend for ourselves. Is this scenario just?

The latest CMIE data on unemployment disturbed me no end. The rate of unemployment is highest currently i.e. 27.11% post Covid19 spread which was only 7% in March i.e. before Covid19. Unemployment is highest in urban areas and is set to rise. It seems lockdown has locked up again in a rigmarole to look for jobs for ourselves, for our children. Indeed, the Government is trying to fuel MSME Sector, which may revive sooner than later but how about people in media, BFSI, telecom and many other sectors.

In India where one earning parent and one nurturing parent is the norm, how they will cope with the situation? I think the Government needs to prepare a blue-print that how job loss, downsizing, pink slips for the urban middle class would be tackled post Covid19. When the lockdown was suddenly announced, the Work from Home became the buzzword.

Every organisation made its employees work from home, whether they had resources or no. Poor employees had no choice, they were satisfied that at least they were employed, what if the salary was nowhere in the sight, what if salary cut to the tune of 50% was there or inordinate delays of few months. How to sail over such scenario along with Covid19 scare? Yes, COVID is scary, job loss is scarier.  Expenses have remained the same, be it lockdown or no lockdown but companies even big companies could not sustain even three month’s salaries, so how would a middle-class employee survive without an income?

A trend speaks that women are more at risk of losing their jobs, the situation becomes alarming as women workforce in India is majorly need driven. What if they are single earning mother, have children to fend or even single earning daughters to support parents in old age. Who is thinking of them? There is a need to conduct a survey in each and every household to understand their job-related needs and work accordingly.

Not only India, but the U.S. has also seen a huge spike in unemployment as over 26 million people have claimed for state support (have been provided for) because of job loss. So, what is stopping us?

Nobody is thinking about this. How so ever big is the suffering, Indian middle-class chooses to suffer in isolation. They would never raise their voice but will expect somebody to raise voice for them.

But who will bell the cat?

 

 

LOCK DOWN HONEYMOON…

Lockdown – Once in a lifetime happening – a la Honeymoon!

Never witnessed anything like this before even during wars, pandemic says my nearly 80-year-old mother.

When PM Narendra Modi asked citizens to remain indoors – a self-styled lockdown for Sunday – March 22, I was one of the first ones to tweet – What will happen with just one day’s lockdown that too on a Sunday? Little I had known that was just the trailer – the film is going to be nearly 3 months long, well almost!

This is how our new life began where there was no morning rush of jogging, gymming, exercising, instructing maids, cleaning cars, managing children, cracking heads what to wear today, rushing to catch the local, bus, dancing to clock’s needle…meetings, discussions, writing, editing withstanding. It seemed life had come to a standstill.

Now the worries had acquired a different dimension – no newspaper, just e-newspaper which we were not used to. When you read the newspaper, the family thinks you are acquiring knowledge, getting informed, when you read a newspaper on mobile you are wasting your time – new revelation. Now, the cleaning, mopping, dusting rigmarole followed by making breakfast, cooking lunch, planning dinner and to top it all – office work – which no one realised it was some work. Could never imagine a life without house help, watching movies, visiting family, friends, chit-chatting with building friends, train friends and most favourite – Shopping!

Life took a 180-degree spin for many who never knew what to do at home for 24 hours with the same set of people. But as you say – The show must go on! It started moving on!!

Amidst all this and more, the travelling time saved for work was a big boon, we had nearly five hours extra every day to ourselves, which family thought was for them!

Social Media became mother, father, brother, sister, teacher, mentor…all rolled into one telling you what all you can do during the lockdown and how technology can help you in staying connected. How you can conduct and attend meetings, yoga classes, painting classes, dance classes, cooking classes, motivational speaking, self – improvement, spiritual, religious, talks, dialogues, monologues, webinars …what not to keep you occupied.

For the first time, I realised that I can learn so many things online even at this age, though there is no age to learn. So much so that how to roll chapatis, how to knead the dough, how to mop the floor, how to surf channels, how to iron clothes, how to drape saree, except how to pass time.

Now another breed started emerging on social media who would post pictures of their activities right from leaving the bed to retiring on the bed. They are posting pictures of what they cooked for breakfast, what they will make for lunch, snacks, dinner beside their paintings, throwback photos, work-out sessions, beauty sessions, saree sessions, attending webinars, video calls of friends, family, gardening, view from their window, their children activity and what & what not to do during the lockdown.

fitness, home and diet concept – smiling teenage girl doing exercise on floor at home

So as soon as you reached out to phone early morning, you saw a friend working out for that hour-glass figure, and you were like OMG! The day started with a huge inferiority complex!!

Another hour passed and you see pictures of well-garnished well laid outspread with fresh fruits, juices, oats… other so-called organic (read: healthy) dishes in the name of breakfast. And here we gorged on our makhan wale aloo, mooli, gobi parathas. The pleasure of yummy parathas evaporated in a moment and you started brooding on eating such middle-class breakfast.

Now as the day progressed you watched people singing, dancing, writing, reading or pursuing upmarket hobbies. Again, you start cursing yourself for not doing any such activity. As the day moves towards the end you are enveloped with guilt, oh GOD I am not utilising my lockdown honeymoon like other privileged mortals.

There was gyaan all over – enjoy the time you have got to spend with your family! We have always been enjoying time with our family in spite of being so busy. But this statement gave us celebrity wali feeling!

Media made the most of this time by feeding us with innumerable & useless panels discussing some godforsaken topics. We had no choice but to watch these.

Now the webinars – the new kid on the block – became a fad, every Tom, Dick and Harry was doing webinars. If you are not doing or attending the webinar, you have no right to live in this lockdown.

My advice would be: Enjoy your lockdown, keep moving at your pace, in your style, nothing will happen if don’t pursue a hobby or don’t attend a webinar, dance, sing or paint. Life would be just as beautiful. You will have the satisfaction of leading a peaceful life in your own way without being under any pressure. You couldn’t have asked for more from this lockdown.

This is how I watched the lockdown – Covid19 from the periphery!

How I am spending my lockdown would feature in my next post.