Bengaluru 27.03.2020- Day 1

I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I sat at home for two straight days. “Sat at home” meaning not stepping out of the door. Not even after the birth of my children , did I do such a blasphemous thing (cue for all Indian aunties to raise their brows in consternation)!

Work

A cumulation of a strange set of circumstances has led to this day.

One being, COVID 19 of course. Second, I have almost wrapped up my surgical fellowship here. I have no place on the rota anymore. I do not have to go in everyday, in a situation such as this. I’m also in the midst of a grand ol’ job change. I was due to move town and start work at a different hospital.

Home

The children have been home bound and locked in for a few weeks now. Withdrawal was hard at first. Unsurprisingly though, they were the first ones to accept the new normal. TV rules don’t exist anymore. And the more lax I am, the less TV they want to watch (I might take this lesson with me if we all survive this).

We paint ad nauseam. (I dread the day our meagre paper supply is sapped.) We dance, fight, bake clay, melt candles, break things, eat lipsticks, cut up newspapers, jump off high places, refuse to eat meat/ milk/ vegetables/ fruits, have ear infections and the like.

We sleep late, wake up late. Re- read One Fish Two Fish. Make pancakes for lunch. Arrange the book rack thrice a day. Lil’ Z “cleaned” her closet today. Boss Man had cereal for dinner.

Que sera sera.

The mind

I am anxious but zen at the same time. I’m steering the ship solo as present. Mr H is stuck abroad. The lockdown doesn’t bother me. It is most likely our only way forward. The doom and gloom newscasters don’t annoy me. They are either truly scared shitless or just trying to milk the situation. The children being bored I can handle. The husband being stuck in another country at such uncertain times, I can deal with. My professional and personal forced state of limbo I can bear.

But, the policeman who stopped me yesterday, brandishing his very endowed lathi; who argued I should wear a mask (any mask!) whilst inside my car, with no co- passengers, with my windows up- chafed me more than all the above things combined. The poor man. Forced to enforce something that he does not understand, or was not explained.

How do we fight a powerful, cunning and fastidious foe when we are so ill- informed. That gentleman harassed me into wasting the one meagre mask I had in my bag. Wrapped in a tissue, treasured. The one I was supposed to use at the hospital the next day. The one I could not leave at the drawer in my clinic, because we are so short supplied that it might not be there when I arrive the next day. We are rationed masks at present. And this is the situation at most hospitals. And this public servant, who is supposed (or so I’m told) to stop me and enquire politely where I’m headed to (I was heading back from the hospital) in these dire times- was more keen on berating me like he would an ill- behaving child, for not wearing a mask inside my car! I couldn’t make this story up even if I wanted to- it’s so senseless.

Also, I wonder – with all the talk of social distancing, why are there half a dozen policemen standing together at some “check- points”. To scare the regular folks heading to their “essential” jobs or to buy their “essential” dahi and aalu for the day? To scare Messrs Corona and company possibly?

The body

Never say never. New city, new jobs, more social obligations, older children with more school work and classes to attend. As a couple who are fond of chucking bits of iron around; we knew time and space would be scarce for such pursuits outside the home.

With talks of our own personal home gym when we move- I always wondered. Would it work? Will my existing motivation suffice?

Well, it absolutely will is the empathic answer. It took me a few days, but I’m now making do. Of course the gyms are shut and I cannot run outdoors (do not want to risk section 269, 270 and 271 being thrust on the poor me), nor do I have any real equipment at home. But I have 50 kgs of myself, and some resistance bands. Also, the universe got kind and I found a pair of rusty, squeaky 10 kg dumbbells lying in a cob- webbed corner; under a bed (I’d gone in to find a Shopkin). It probably belonged to the Mister. It looks like it’s from the 70’s. But it’s serves my purpose well. My last two workouts would probably come under the category of the “best I’ve had in a long time”. In fact, I’m sore today. Sore with bodyweight and a pair of dumbells. Who would have thought!

Till Day 2.

Dr J.

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