COVID - 19 (From December 2019 to ________?)
Pandemic - Good or Bad? Undoubtedly bad. I agree it brought us numerous difficulties. Ranging from small difficulties to big ones - living without the favorite Pizza to avoid bakery food, eating toast sandwich and missing the sada sandwich because it didn't feel safe, not chilling at my favorite café because it isn't safe to move out unless essential, not being able to meet my friends and relatives who stay within a few minutes of walk from my home because gatherings didn't feel safe, not being able to watch a movie in the theatre, missing your house help as if she were always your family member. With all due respect and empathy for some who had very tough times because of sufferings to their near and dear ones, there were a lot of things that certainly changed in this pandemic for almost everyone of us. Here I am counting the few positives it had in my life.
Well, before I start counting on my positives, it may be worthwhile for me to provide a brief background on who I am so that you can picture it out in your head. I am a guy in my late 20s, I work for a consulting firm roughly 12 - 14 hours a day with a 5 day week (weekend off? - theoretically yes). I think this should be good for you to get a broad context.
So with more than a year gone by!!! Second wave prevalent in the country, the administration slowly trying to vaccinate the entire mass of population. What positives did this year leave on us? We got new co-workers, those who work for different organisations in different teams, different timings, doing different kinds of work - people whom I really loved. My family!!!! We got more insights into how each one of us worked. We knew when one was having a rough day and were there to support. We knew when one was having a very busy day and served or fed food so that one is not hungry when taking care of work. Its not that my actual co-workers were bad or didn't care for me. But being around family 24*7 is always special.
This was coupled with the blessing (difficulty?) of being without house help. Blessing? Well technically it wasn't a blessing. It was difficult for each one to manage their work in absence of the house help. The people who helped with such chores were facing pay cuts or not getting paid at all. But yes, now, house hold work was no longer only a woman's job. I learned how to sweep the floor, brooming and mopping blocked my calendar for atleast 30 mins daily. I learned how to help wash the utensils. I learned how to wash the clothes, hang them out in the sun to dry and fold them once they are done. I learned one of the most favorite things - frying. If this makes you think I was the new house help, no that wasn't the case, but it added a lot of new things I knew how to do. Everyone could chip in when the other could not do something.
With the demanding job I have, was it difficult as work from home? Was it easier? Not really, the saved travel time definitely did not translate into more rest time. But yes, it did have some benefits. The energy drained while travelling in the difficult season was saved. The variety of snacks I could have on a day expanded from what was in my tiffin to what was in the house. Even on very hectic days, we could have home cooked dinners on time instead of calling for food from outside or waiting till late night to have home cooked food which could impact one's health. Even on days when I had to work till am in the night, I had the comfort that my bed was just 5 minutes of wind up away after finishing work. I didn't have to wait for my seniors to get things cleared, my juniors didn't have to wait for me. We cumulatively saved on tonnes of paper which we use for taking repeated print outs a lot of which get thrashed when the office admin team used to announce the clean desk policy. Oh!! how can I forget, working in my comfortable cotton shorts rather than wearing those formals the entire day.
Now what apart from work? We started working out together whenever we could steal sometime. Weekends, we had to be locked within the home due to intermittent lock downs and curfews. So we had to find more things to do. Sure there were Netflix, hotstar and other OTT platforms at times but there was a limit beyond which even these were too boring. So, we tried resorting to a few hobbies. All possible board games in the house were out from the cupboard, attempting a dance based on youtube video seemed refreshing, the piano was brought out of the attic after years. Family e-get togethers to play online games seemed like a norm, more people shifted to group video calls on birthdays and anniversaries than those who would call you earlier. Was it the extra free time with nothing else to do? Was it the restrictions of not being able to gather? Whatever it was that brought this change, the result definitely was a positive one.
Getting a chance to meet your friends and family on any possible occasion was so very exciting. Getting out of the house to go to a relative's place for Diwali really made it feel like Diwali. This list would be really much longer than what I am writing here. Do we want the pandemic to last? Definitely no. But should we just forget this year without changing ourselves? May be the biggest mistake we can make in our lives. So lets just try and continue the positives, our own things that we liked, even when things get back to the old normal.
I am very sure that at least 75% of the list would have been each one's experience. I am sure there would be many other positives that you may have experienced than what I mentioned above. Do let me know yours in the comment section below.
Signing off !!!