The Covid Chronicles : The lockdown that never ends

12:06 PM

Ok peeps!

I am transgressing my rule on no personal life blog post, because if I don't write, I'll go insane, and it seems we are living a moment that will go down in history books, so I might as well add snipets of my daily life to the whole lot.

We've been off school and in semi-shutdown since March 13, and never in history has a Friday 13 been so dooming. It's going to be THE Friday 13 the world will remember, as several countries imposed various measures on that day, not just Mumbai.

While we were on semi-lockdown, a breed of idiots kept going about their daily life, and some even felt going on the local train sporting a BMC Quarantine hand stamp was a good idea. Needless to say, I along with many started seeing harsher measures, and a longer lockdown looming on the horizon already.
The State of Maharashtra being the hardest hit, it finally imposed a complete lockdown around the same time the Prime Minister announced a Janta Curfew for Sunday 22nd March. Yet situation was still manageable, people stayed home, and we all thought at this point it was until March 31st.

The proverbial shit hit the fan on Tuesday 24th, Modi announced a NATIONAL lockdown for 21 days (I did the math, we are in until April 15 people!)
What followed is a hot mess of panic buying, vigilantes Auntie calling the cops on people walking their pets or themselves, and nobody really knowing what goods is essential and what should be allowed to cross interstate borders.

Still with me? Good, because that was the recap, and the point at which I decided to not chronicle the obvious, it's boring, and it does nothing to make being stuck home more bearable, if anything, it makes it more stressful.
When the announcement fell, I'm not going to lie, I nearly cried! But hey! Life goes on!

Our life on lockdown, the good, the bad and the ugly

One of the thing we are quite proud of, is that we pretty much trained for a maid-less reality these past 3 years. We fell into a cleaning routine eons ago, and the fact maids aren't allowed to come in is a reality that is not affecting us. Our cook can't come, but we can manage that too, we cook simpler meal. Hubby has taken to check YouTube recipes to try new Indian dishes, I dig in my continental cuisine repertoire and we adapt it to the supplies we have. Since we move less, we eat less too. 

Our daily life means two adults working from home, and one kiddo having lesson plans and school video sent in daily. My only outing is to walk the dog, and hubby is on grocery shopping runs. 
We are all taking it easy and slow, nap time is a household institution, Netflix is god sent, and we keep busy doing all the things we thought we never had the time for : like cleaning the top of the kitchen cabinets. 

To make our lockdown more "interesting" fate dumps projects on us to test our survival skills, and has proven already that in this family, yours truly is the one that comes with the whole package : 

Wit, Sass, Beauty, Brain and The ability to fix things

Years ago, I started building a basic toolbox, because I seriously believe EVERYONE should have basics handymen skills, something kids in Switzerland are trained to do early enough. 
Turns out that in the even of an apocalyptic plague this was no dumb thing to have been doing. 

Why? Because in the past 10 days, one of my dinning table leg got loose and looks broken, a kitchen cabinet door broke and needed to be removed, and just yesterday we faced our biggest potential crisis : 

The Dishwasher's plug point stopped working! 

Moving the dishwasher to a bathroom was out of question because the plumber who installed it and pulled an additional waterline has done so in such a way that if we remove the water inlet from the line we end up with a water jet spraying all over the utility area. The idiot never installed a tap, and the only way to stop the water is to turn off the main pipe (no water in the kitchen for 21day...I don't think so)

A power extension cord to another plug point wasn't doable either, because like all heating appliances, the dishwasher has a 15 Amperes plug, and that is not the kind of things you find on a regular power strip. 

With no electricians allowed to come in, hubby was trying to reason with me, saying that we would have to wash the dishes by hand. Yeah like that was going to happen that easily! 

I theorised that it was the plug switch that was fried since all the other plugs on that line were working, so I went about to check if that theory was right. 

Step 1 : Shut down the power in the whole flat on the fuse box

Step 2 : Open the plug point panel and in one glance prove hubby that my theory was right, the switch breaker circuit is fried

Step 3 : Bypass the switch circuit, not without hunny asking me if I was sure I could do it

Step 4 : Become badass wife / wonder woman, remove all wires from the switch circuit, and connect the positive wire (it's usually the red one) to the main circuit, with hubby looking amazed while I do so

Step 5 : close the plug panel, put a mosquito repelling machine in the plug to test if the current is back, and switch the power on in the whole flat. 

Step 6 : the mosquito repellent machine lights up indicating my bypass worked, so I plug the dishwasher back and do the dishes. 

Now that is probably a thing you should NOT attempt if you have zero knowledge of how electrical wire work, but I also think that it is a basic repair skill all should learn. Rewiring appliances, bypassing switches, or installing a lamp, are all things that can become very handy. I learned them as part of my interior decorator apprenticeship in Switzerland, but I also watched my dad, and friends do  these type of simple tasks. 
Over the years, my ability to fix stuff has been pretty established in our household, now I added a few more tool to my shopping lists, you know....for when the lockdown is over. 

Welcome to my introvert hell...The sequel

You all know it, I'm an introvert, being in social gathering with people tax me quick, I need space, I need solitude, and right now I am not getting it. The last time I felt that taxed was in 2016 when Ishita has a long Summer break. Back then I still had the option to go out, go for a loooooong walk and recharge those batteries. 

Right now? Not so much! Hubby and Ishita are in my face, the whole day long, there is no real solitude happening, and no escape from the "crowd", I am only very very grateful that we are a nuclear family and do not live in a joint family setup in those quarters that we call home, because if it were the case...well I don't even want to paint you a picture...let's say it would be really ugly. 

To make things work, we came with a system of spending the day doing different things in different rooms, and only really have a social family time in the evenings while watching Netflix, or having a meal. 
Ishita is a HUGE extrovert, so she probably suffers from it even more, not being able to play with her friends is really hard on her, so I let her use my phone for a while each day, she calls them, and they all have created a WhatsApp group where apparently they talk in Emoji and Gifs. I need to clear the chat history regularly because it bloats my phone storage. 

Hubby deals with it ok, he is probably more centered on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, so as long as he can chit chat on the phone with his friends and colleagues and has his space during the day he is ok. 

We still have snappy moments, and when it gets heated, we all walk away, calm down and move on. 

Chores and a routine keeps us semi-sane

We each have a few pet-projects inside the home, we focus on fixing or cleaning something each day, today I gave a bath to Kiwi. Yesterday I fixed the dishwasher, and cooked roast chicken, a few days ago I cleaned the balconies because we are spending a lot more time there. Ishita is working on decorating her home, covering her diary in fabric, learning the difference between screws and nails. Hubby is learning new recipes, cleaning kitchen cabinets, and making sure our brooms are clean too (he gave them a bath yesterday). 

Ishita is discovering that reaing books is kind of fun, and I on purpose do not interfere much with her life. I am a firm believer in the art of getting bored, it sparks creativity, and she is learning it right now. It's possibly the best skill she'll learn out of this lockdown. 

This is all for today, all of you stay safe and stay home, wherever you are. 

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  1. Bravo on your electrical skills, they wre fantastic. I have fiddled with wires but not hot beyond screwing a plug or taping a wire. I can relate to the occasional snappy moments too.

    The lockdown was imminent and the signs were there in PM's first speech. He gently nudged the people towards a more stringent lockdown. It has been a mixed bag from strict compliance to defiance. The authorities have been extra vigilant. I pray that this difficult time is over soon goes the entire humanity.

    1. We had been on total lockdown in Maharshatra before Modi announced his national one. We went in gradually and it looked planned, the instant the Modi speech came and chaos started.
      Now nobody really seem to know what is allowed and not allowed, vegetables are hard to come by in Mumbai while pulse and rice is still available. There are a lot contradictory statements coming from all side.

      I seriously feel like we have a "demonetization sequel" with shoddy implementation and mayhem due to lakh of information and clear guidelines.

      In Maharashtra, the government stepped in the instant cases started to appear, they started a self-quarantine protocol that involved stamps, but the well off travelling elite poo-pooed it and they still went out and about, asked their maids to come home even though they weren't allowed, quarantine stamped people were found on trains! So the CM stepped in and tightened the rules, a little more each day, the BMC started visiting all residential complexes and asked people to sign self declaration forms, making sure we knew that lying on these was a criminal offense, and then fed up, the State started appointing Dr to check on home quarantined people, and put into place a video call and GPS tracking system.

      The moment the first few cases started emerging in the slums of maids whose employers contaminated them, the State went in complete lockdown.

  2. The PM's speech was immediately followed by Delhi CM's speech wherein he clarified which goods/services are allowed. But the scaramble in shops did continue for some time, but by and large people understood the reason of lockdown. Those who didn't were dealt with appropriately by police. It is going to be a difficult time and lockdown may be extended. Right now it is raining in Delhi and I am praying for blistering heat.

  3. Hi Cynthia -

    I can imagine your urge to chronicle this unprecedented phase for everyone on the planet.

    It hasn't been easy for any government in the world, but I think overall, our Union and State governments have been ahead of the game. We are not good at testing, but we have been very good at surveillance and contact tracing. We began screen right from mid-Jan even before even one case was detected in India. And we have kept up the momentum.

    In spite of the best efforts, things have gone wrong. In every nation, some people have taken the whole thing lightly and, probably unwittingly, helped worsen the situation.

    We still don't know if we have begun the descend. Keeping fingers crossed.

    By the way, in the third para of your post, it should be "We've been off school and in semi-shutdown since March 13 ... ".

    Take care, and stay safe!

    1. Thanks for pointing out the typo. Lockdown is slowly erasing my notion of time, we are in a never ending loop of wearing pj's, and workout clothes while working from home, cleaning and watching a lot of Netflix to kill time.

      My dog is happy to have all her humans at home, the cat is wondering when the two legs will get out of her home.

  4. Many schools have started online classes after declaring results. My son has been promoted to the next class. He may find it difficult to cope with the break in continuity when the school starts again. Special children take sometime to adjust. Children anyway are having a tough time these days.

    1. We are in an international school so the end of the Academic year is at the end of May, right now we have to download the class content from a google drive file, and the kids are to work on the assignment alone with minimal help from the parents to ensure the learning is done by the kids.

      In the IGCSE curriculum, there are no exams until secondary school, so we won't face the problem of being passed without sufficient proof.
      At this point though I think they would have done better to just call it a 2 months Summer break, and then resume school in the same grade in June, and then the kids get to go to the next grade at the end of July as planned, after maybe a week or so of holiday.

      It's not like we can't do milder learning activities : read book, cook a recipe from scratch, watch documentaries on Netflix, play board games, all these sharpen critical thinking and creative thinking skills necessary to learn academics better.


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