Lockdown Diaries : Saving Me

I don’t know which phase of the ‘lockdown’ or the ‘release from lockdown,’ phase we are in. I’ve lost track. It’s now…let me count…from 22nd March till date…around four months since this never-ending nightmare began. For all those who’ve counted, it’s 116 days as I write this and since I started doing the cleaning, mopping, dusting, laundry, dish-washing in addition to the cooking! My family helps as and when. They’re thoughtful and kind but like most ‘helpful family members’ they need to be reminded that whatever they do to help needs to be done every single day because that’s just the way it is. And if they don’t do it, I must. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

A fortnight into the nightmare I actually told myself there were ample reasons to be happy – for one, I was capable of handling it all – I was not dependent on the maid! It was liberating. No more watching the clock strike ten and wondering if the maid was going to come or not. No more waiting and no more fretting about the fate of things while she cleaned up the house and no more repeating instructions to deaf ears. But during the last four months, when a casserole slipped out of the fridge and crashed and a glass bottle assumed a life of its’ own and fell and shattered and a third waiting to happen – hat-trick remember; I realized that we were probably no better than her when it came to ‘Loss due to breakage.’ Who cares for independently handling it all anyway as long as the work’s done if the loss is the same? The intangible loss in fact was greater with me handling it. Let me explain.

Doing the work myself meant I was still fit. As I felt the rivulet of sweat trickle down my back until a few weeks ago (summer has been punishing here), I told myself I was burning fat which is a good thing. I dreamed of a new, fitter me at the end of the lockdown and the thought of the future Me brought a smile to my lips. Then yesterday happened – the weighing machine was lying around in my older daughter’s room (I’m not the kind who checks every month or even every six months), so I got onto it. To my shock, it crossed the number that I’d been used to seeing for the last six -seven years and went past it by not one but two whole kgs! Before I could fool myself that the machine was out of order, my daughter kindly broke it to me that as per the machine she had lost 3kgs! Well I had a Eureka moment – ‘real’ exercise worked better for my body than six hours of slogging it out doing domestic work!

In addition to the house work, I have been reading, painting and spending time with the family. I kind of manage to complete all the work by 1.00 p.m., have lunch, watch TV for a while, read, talk, do art or whatever together as a family. This made me proud – you know of being ‘Effective’ and ‘Efficient.’ However I did not realize the price I was paying for the effectiveness until last evening my younger daughter said, ‘Mamma, why do your hands look squarish and unkempt?” It made me take a good look at myself for the first time in 100 days. I had transformed as per Charles Darwin’s theory.

Gone were the long slender well-manicured fingers and in it’s place were working hands – box-like. My hair was tied back in a tight pony-tail which in no way complemented my face and I was wearing a pair of tracks (that have long been screaming for deliverance). I wear them because they are extremely comfortable when working and they have zero maintenance. Comfort’s taken precedence over style. And with nobody looking, no going out, it was kind of here to stay. Only I’m NOT going to let it. I hade my wake-up call.

So, this morning when I woke up to clear gray skies after four days of endless rains I resolved to save what is left of me before ‘I’ become history and in my place is a me that I can never look into the mirror and feel good about.

All you women out there, please look into the mirror once in a while- in the middle of the running around and see if you need to save yourself. The lockdown’s not going away that soon. Let’s not lose ourselves during it.

Has the lockdown transformed you too in ways you don’t like or have you not thought of it yet? Would love to hear from you.

Stay safe. Stay home.

dress

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9 comments

  1. Hi Smitha. I visited your blog from one of the comments you had left on a blog that I follow. Glad I stopped by. I loved reading your About Page and this post too.
    I am a person obsessed with routine. So for the first month of social distancing and online schooling, I was able to follow the routine that I had set for myself. After a month, when kids started their holidays, I saw my routine slowly change. I came up with a routine including the kids. I conducted a summer camp for them every weekday from 10 to 1. I am exhausted now. 🙂 I have 15 more days to go until their school reopens (online classes obviously).
    I so miss the salon visits, the library visits and meeting up with friends over a cuppa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deepa. Thank you for visiting🙂. So glad you found me. I found your comment first thing in the morning and it made me smile. Felt like I was reading my own thoughts. I can imagine how tired you must be managing home and summer camp for the kids. We all need a break. With corona planning to stay for longer, we’ll need to work around it so that we take care of ourselves too. I actually went for a haircut after writing this post🙂- mask and all. And it did feel good for a while. Its coffee with friends that I think I truly need. WordPress is a lifesaver though and for that I am truly grateful. For if not we wouldn’t have met🙂. Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good that you could go out for a hair cut. I think I will end up with brows that are so out of shape that the stylist will have to wax out the whole thing and draw something in place of my brows.. I am doing a bad job with it at home.
        Yes, wordpress, video calls, social media, all are life savers at this time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Again a well written and intriguing post, Madam..!! Loved your paintings of UK on IG as well.. 😊😊

    You must, no matter what, notwithstanding any compelling excuse, take care of yourself. A day or two of skipped exercises is OK. However your hands and the cracks on those are quite alarming. I tell my mother almost every week. It can start developing deep cuts spewing blood if not taken care. During the lockdown, I also did all the work you mentioned, by myself. But after every cloth or dish washed or after every round of cleaning, I made sure to wash my hands and soak them in some rich cream for 30 mins. They escaped damage to a large extent. Suggest you try it too..!!

    But I must commend the regime of extreme discipline you follow which is making you live a bit fitter, chasing your hobbies viz writing and painting. It’s really inspiring to know you do all these despite the pressing work at home. Amazing..!! 😊😊

    Apologies for the long comment.. Take Care Madam and stay safe.. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will Abirbhav. Your mom is blessed to have you 🙂 . God bless you! It hasn’t come to cracks as yet and now it will not because I have now started using hand cream. Hope though my hands do start looking like they used to. And yes, I have begun exercising again and reduced my sugar intake (I had been using it as a ‘feel good’ alternative.
      Thank you for your concern and for writing back. You don’t need to apologize for the length of the comment especially when its one that’s simply added value to the discussion. You take care too and stay safe.
      Oh yes, will share the paintings here too 🙂 Glad you liked them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am overwhelmed by your praise Madam.. Thank you infinitely.. They mean so much to me.. 😊😊
        It’s good to know that you have started taking care of yourself.. Exercise is good, but a balance is what is needed.. 😊
        Thank you so much once again Madam..!! Eager to see your paintings here as well, because IG doesn’t allow too much of text or creative writing to complement the painting, over which you have a mastery.. 😊😊
        (Btw, I think my comments on your previous post went to spam. Not sure why)

        Like

  3. Interesting, Smitha. I know other people who feel the same way you do, that their appearance has changed for the worse. I still wear make up every day and I wash my hair every three days as I always have. I still get up at 5am on work days and 6am on weekends and I do all the things I always did except sit in traffic to get to work and back. I now do housework during that time while listening to music or an audio book. I rather enjoy the satisfaction of improving the look of my home. My hair hasn’t been highlighted for the past four months but I’m okay with that. It is just a bit darker than usual and I’ve grown out my fringe. I had planned to do that anyway so this gave me the incentive to do so. I have lost a bit of weight I think as my clothes are a bit lose but I don’t have a scale so I can’t weigh myself. That is how things are fro me at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First Robbie, I envy that you’ve lost weight :). I kind of do the same things as you except the most important which amount to feeling good – applying a little make up daily, listening to music or audio books while working (I do it sometimes and sometimes I forget to do it). I’ll do both these things religiously from today onward. Coming to think of it, its something my mom would have said too 🙂 So a big thank you to you for sharing this with me. We have another thing in common – I love tidying up and moving furniture around to make the house look pretty and that I think is a stress buster for me – changing the way the house looks ever so often and clearing clutter.
      So, we’ll see you with a new look at the end of this – minus the fringe. I chopped off my tresses yesterday. They had grown too long for my liking. A visit to the salon did make me feel better despite having to don the entire PPE kit. Life has changed. Thank God friendships like ours hasn’t. XXX

      Like

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