A family who lives with us with their little son. He calls me mamma.
Yes, we are a big family. Life for me has always been a mash up of home and work. What WFH did was rebalance the physical presence.
I would love to walk you through a photo anecdote of #BeyondWFH for me.
Kuwori, the female rescue cat, wakes me up around five a.m with her soft furry tail swishing against me. Kopili, the female bulldog we adopted, snores away blissfully. We have learnt to sleep through all the snores and barks and meows – bulldog farts too!
March 16th. We had just started WFH. Two majestic peacocks landed gracefully on our rooftop. Here is the photograph. It was the first sign of Nature reclaiming her space. Only, at that time, I never expected or imagined the enormity that the pandemic was about to cause. Since then, I have tried to spend as much time as I can, in our tiny front and back yards. Nature has a way of making us feel small, yet special.
Weekends see me lounging in the red chair that has seen better days but gives me the same comfort. I like a book in my hand, though at times, it stays that way without much reading.
This is when my mind unleashes thoughts, images, memories, ideas at random. Some are forgotten, some I file away.
I played Barber.
And Chef too.
As my husband said, there are some rare occasions where I lose my way and find myself in the kitchen. My husband is a very good cook and I am very happy to leave it that way. One Sunday, I did make Assamese rice and pork with bamboo shoot. The family polished off their plates — could be out of love for me.
Lit a lamp to show our gratitude to all health workers risking their own lives for us.
What I do spend time on actively, is our home. My mum was never a great cook, but used to spend all her free time pottering around our Oil Company house and garden. Her creativity and ability to recycle and upcycle much before these terms became common parlance and even business models today. I am like her. My imagination runs riot. Our home has gnomes, angels, terracotta idols, frogs and art. Lots of art, thanks to my artist husband.
We missed celebrating our Assamese New Year, Rongali Bihu, this year. I tried to recreate a feel of what we would have had back home. The traditional sweets were missing, but we made up for it with some good food, with our forage of whatever supplies we could source. That evening, I realized how I had taken Bihu for granted at times. I hardly took a day’s leave, often missed calling up friends and relatives. I made a promise to myself that from next year, I will make an extra effort to be with my family on this day, embrace and indulge in all the rituals so that my daughter appreciates this as much as all the other celebrations she is accustomed to, in Gurgaon. Sometimes, we miss out on our roots without realising it.
What we have been doing throughout the lockdown is a balance of home-cooked food with the order in as well. We go with partners we trust. Mostly through Swiggy and Zomato. One of the best news we got was Di Ghent café open to deliveries. It’s my go-to place for meetings outside the office. Or sometimes just to have one of their delicious meals. That’s their team in the picture. Despite the good food at home, supporting business has been our constant effort. For me, it has never been about lives vs livelihood. It’s lives vs lives.
We drove to our neighbourhood market, Galleria with the ease of lockdown. Masked and all. The barred and locked stores spoke silently of the bloodbath due to loss of business. The jury will always be out on some calls taken, and some calls we have imposed upon ourselves.
I can’t end this without talking about some new get togethers, reconnections that have happened and possibly would not have, without a global pandemic. School friends and families, old neighbours, ex colleagues, extended families on video almost every evening. In fact, our Sunday evenings are now blocked for a Digboi get together. Digboi is the place where I was born. The picture above is one such evening where the theme was to dress up for a night out. I did. All silver and glitter and even a flower. Only wish the flower was real. Everything else that evening was.
To conclude, my days beyond WFH have been a mix of reconnections, time with family, time with myself, and contemplation on the days ahead and how we can all overcome this together. Maybe the blue skies won’t be as blue when we go back to our pre Covid 19 lives. But it will help many families smile again.