The other side of stay-at-home

The other side of stay-at-home

Photo for representational purpose only

Alka Kashyap

The initial phase of the lockdown clipped our leisurely sojourns. The whole family dutifully ensconced itself within the four walls. Those working from home got busy in front of the smart screens, getting a sneak peek at the curtains, sofas and online bloopers of their colleagues. I became the mother hen, fussing over my family members, cooking fancy dishes, digging out new in-house activities and generally keeping the atmosphere light.

As the period of staying indoors extended, everyone’s routine went topsy-turvy. Although the trying times had given us some quality time, too much of togetherness had me salvaging my moral science lessons that were fast dissipating.

The first virtue that took a beating was to be gentle and kind to all. Seeing the mess in the house, I could not be less brutal with my words. Being gentle was the last thing on my mind when I saw the clothes tumble out of the cupboards. And how on earth could I be kind to those who wouldn’t lift a finger to keep their rooms clean? So, quite often, the mother hen would turn into a squawky rooster.

Patience, they said, was the key to success, but that key wouldn’t unlock any doors at my house. That chapter was sacrificed at the altar of the bathroom door, where I would find myself hovering around, muttering ‘khul ja sim sim’ (let the door open).

Some more niceties were blown away by the online culture. We would often ask each other to speak in hushed tones, or whisk past quickly, lest we disturbed each other’s e-conferences. Curtains had also fallen on mealtimes, for food that used to be served with love, care and fanfare on the dining table had no takers. Instead, customised tidbits would be served on their respective work tables, while the netizens would be glued to the monitors. The saving grace was that they had not come down to munching the napkin rather than the sandwich.

The grooming pattern of the family was literally in tatters. We preferred comfort over couture. Honesty would not have been the best policy in such times, had I told them how shabby, unkempt and dishevelled they looked.

The only ones who seemed unfazed by the upheaval were my two pet dogs. They were more disciplined than us, and had certainly kept their manners afloat. Although ignorance was their bliss, I marvelled at the consistency in their daily activities. Nature had made them so strong and resilient that they would never succumb to the lure of indiscipline.

Perhaps, that was nature’s way of reminding me that it had made me strong too, and all I needed was to readjust my sails against the storm of adversity. So, once again, I dug into my treasure of values to let positivity, strength and determination lead me to happiness in the time of Covid.

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