Action Replay + Gratitude List: March 2020

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For the past two months I've been talking about time passing by really quickly and I now apologize for that. March hit me like a solid slap and it felt longer than three years. The current situation in the world is scary and the worst thing about it is the uncertainty. As someone who lives a planned, systematic life, this troubles me to no end. At times, I just want it to end. Be it in a good way or a bad way. But end, it must. My anxiety has been at its peak as you can deduce from my words I'm sure. I've been working from home from 13th March and by now I have somehow made my peace with it. The eight hours that I focus on office work keeps me sane and sorted. The rest of the day however goes in a blur. I've been maintaining a home without a maid for years now with help from my partner. It is not new to me.

Having said that, even when I was doing all of this during normal times, at times like these, it feels like it is too much. At times I feel that the entire day goes in household chores. Since we cook fresh food for every meal (three/four meals a day), it feels like a huge amount of time is going into this. Then comes the washing up bit. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by this, we're all human after all. For now the mantra is to hold on and wait for this to pass. It is difficult to maintain a sense of positivity in times like these, but I'm dredging out every ounce of it from wherever I can. While a bunch of us are trying our best to survive while cooped up with our wings clipped, there are a lot of recalcitrants out there doing everything to beat the very purpose of the lock-down. I don't understand what's going on in our country, but then again, in a country that thrives on religion, caste and divide, this is not unexpected. I just hope sense prevails, one fine day. Hopefully, it is not too late then.

While the lock-down has enabled all of us to slow down and take life one day at a time, it has also brought out the deep rooted sexism in our country. Mothers who never taught their sons an iota of cooking are calling them often to check on what they ate. Daughters-in-law on the other hand don't even get a call asking how are they able to manage the housework and the office work day after day. Men are complaining about their back pain due to improper posture of working instead of helping their wives and mothers who are balancing household chores amidst the office work and the back pain. There are also men who are helping out their partners and their mothers in every chore. They need to be appreciated for sure, but not glorified. Putting up a "Hubby made this" post on Social Media makes cooking seem like a special talent for men and a default choice for women. It is time sexism left the kitchen at least.

A lock-down without a chance of being able to go out does leave one with extra time. Normally, I would have lapped it up and planned a list of activities and hobbies. But, my anxiety is not letting my mind free. It is bordering on the sense of paranoia now and I'm not able to focus on reading or writing. I just read three books in March and that is before the shit hit the fan. The books that I read in March were:

~ A Cosmopolite in a Cafe by O. Henry.

As much as I love O. Henry shorts, this short tale was a disappointment. The twist in it was as predictable as the union between bread and butter. This gets a 2 stars from me.

~ The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward.

This was the pick from Reese's book club for March. I'm so glad that I am a part of this bookclub as it is introducing me to books that I would have never heard of otherwise. This book is about a dysfunctional family on a cruise holiday across Europe. Might remind one of the Bollywood movie 'Dil Dhadakne Do', but the similarities end there. This was an interesting and refreshing read with beautiful descriptions of the picturesque locales. 4 stars to this one.

~ The Complete MAUS by Art Spiegelman.

I was so excited to read this one as it is touted to be one of the best graphic novels out there. It is a good book, no doubt. The problem is that by now I have read enough books about the Holocaust and the Nazi regime and have loved most of them. I am fascinated by that era and there are some books that bring out the best of stories of WWII. This one however lacked emotional depth and purpose. This one gets a 3 stars from me.

This was my reading for March. Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

In tough times like these it is important to look at the bright side and be grateful for the smaller things in life. Here's what I'm thankful for this March:

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~ Work: The only constant. It is keeping me sane while giving me a sense of self-importance during times when my confidence is low.

~ Health: Thanks to the lock-down, I've been working out everyday with the aid of live classes. Eating well balanced home cooked meals everyday is helping us stay healthy as well.

~ Anniversary: As luck would have it, the Janata Curfew happened on the day of our anniversary. Since we had cancelled our holiday already, we had no plans for the occasion especially since we knew that we had to stay put. We cut a cheesecake, made a fancy meal and drank wine while talking about our journey together. Seven years of marriage and we still can talk to no end. Along with love and respect, it is the communication and the conversations that keep a relationship going. We all need to remember that.

~ Safe Haven: In times like these, I cannot be thankful enough about having a beautiful and happy home to be locked in. I've been hearing about the rising domestic abuse cases and it just breaks my heart. I'm blessed to have a safe space and a wonderful partner who I can call home.

~ Local Vendors: While Big Basket and Amazon Pantry are totally paralyzed, our local vendors are the true heroes. Thanks to maintaining very good relationships (treat people well, always) with them, they are bringing us groceries to our doorsteps with a single call. We have a vegetable vendor come to our community every morning with fresh produce. Everyone lines up with sufficient distance between them and buys only what is necessary. Our local hypermarket is accepting orders on Whatsapp and will keep the order ready and inform us when to go pick up. Our local medical store is delivering medicines to the doorstep. So far we haven't faced any inconvenience with regards to any thing and we only have these people to thank.

~ Hobbies: While reading and writing have taken a hard beating, I've found solace in painting. Colors are cheering me up and I've run out of canvases and boards to paint on.

~ Social Media: As much as there is chaos and vitriol on social media now, there also is positivity around. For every 1000 cases of the virus being reported, there is at least one case of a recovery being reported. Neighbors, friends and landlords are going out of their way to help their people. These stories need to be shared and viewed often. If everything else fails, dog videos are always there.

~ Internet: God bless the internet! While helping us work seamlessly, it also is providing us ample entertainment to survive through these times. Netflix and Amazon Prime are being used to the max at our place and we are watching a lot of movies and catching up on many many shows.

~ Love: I don't want to say much except this. There is no one else I'd rather be in quarantine with.

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March uprooted my routines and ate and spat out my daily system, husk and all. Since April also is most likely to be spent in a lock-down, I need to bring back a routine. Need to have a structured waking up plan, meal plan, workout plan and I need to plan my hobbies better. Now that I cannot paint more, thanks to not having any surface to paint on, I need to get my reading mojo back. Books will help calm my mind and keep my anxiety in check, I need to work on bettering my focus in this area. Maybe these tough times will help me figure out the right balance that I have been looking for.

That's all about my March in quarantine. How was yours?


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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

10 comments:

  1. Sending you hugs and good vibes, Soumya. This too shall pass. You have some beautiful silver at the edges of the dark grey clouds. I hope that silver just grows as you come to terms with the situation. Hugs.

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  2. Live classes for workout? Yoga?

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    1. We have a cult fit app here. It includes all forms of exercise.

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  3. I hear your angst girl and marvel at how well you are coping with it all. You made the lock down so normal with workout classes, vendors delivering , etc. I am envious to see you sticking to your routine and keeping at it. The artwork is damn interesting and the Jetsetters sounds like a book I might pick up too.

    I havent been able to read or maintain a sched for some times now; starting today have made a few changes in my day and fingers crossed this is the start of it all going good now.

    You hang in there and keep doing what you do best- keep yourself busy to vent out all the hyper in you!! Happy to hear you have a safe home and partner to cuddle with in these times. Love and hugs my dear girl.

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    1. Thank you so much my darling! <3

      I hope your changes bear fruit and things look better for you soon.

      I'm trying my best to stay busy and cope up with the situation. Do give The Jetsetters a try, it is a nice fun read.

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  4. Hugs and loads of it for you! I can understand the anxiety and the uncertainity. I am anxious a bit about how the virus is hitting people across the globe and I worry for all those I know. But other than that I am okay.
    You know I always had helps and can't function without them so this is sure hard but then we are two here and doing the best we can. Chores are divided based on who can do what.
    The sexism, it's conditioned so it's hard to get out of the system.
    I have been working, cooking, reading and started focusing on writing a bit more. I had slipped a lot out of the blogging game but now I am trying to get back to being regular.
    Waiting for the phase to end but happy that I have shelter and love under the same roof.
    Take care and love to you both! <3

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    1. Sigh, I hope someday there will be nothing called sexism left.

      Things are weird with being cooped up, but we are trying our best to get past it and look at the brighter side.

      Thank you, Parul. Lots of love to you both too <3

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  5. It's the same story everywhere. Here in the US, it isn't a lockdown per se, but stay at home order is in place. Schools are closed and most offices are doing work from home. The good part is we are safe and we get to be at home. The worst part - the uncertainty and the anxiety that follows.
    Here I have already used to not having a maid (never had a maid work for me in my life anyway), but having a husband and kids at home has increased my workload.

    Let's just hope that things would soon calm down. Till then stay home, stay safe.

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    1. I can totally understand. With more people at home it somehow feels like the work is more, even if it is the same.

      I hope things get better for all of us soon.

      Stay safe, Vinitha <3

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