In the Times of Lockdown

I woke up to the alarm like ringtone of my phone, at 6.48 am. It was his call. The super awesome delivery guy from SuprDaily, who was to deliver 1.5 kg tomatoes by our door step this morning. And in consequence, save us from stepping outdoors. I confirmed the address and went downstairs to wait for him, lest I should sleep again. Sitting in the kitchen elevated floor with the fan switched on and the main door open, I could feel the morning chill through the gate. It was so refreshing. And the air smelt so inviting. I could go for a morning walk now, had I not been alone awake in the PG, and had the situation been otherwise. Finally the delivery guy came- his face covered with a mask and saying- ' Aap ne last week kanda bhi mangwaya tha na! Door band tha tab.' I remembered last week's unsuccessful attempt at waking up so early, to receive 1kg of onions. Times we live in. 

God knows when all of this would end. Lockdown. Miss the life as we knew it. Though secretly I am enjoying time at home, work from home, the flexibility it offers, and sudden naps between it all. Reading books and listening to podcasts. Though I dislike cooking four times a day. A few of the culinary experiments though are worth it. Like ‘Mathri’ – our daily little evening snack with a cup of adrak wali chai, with the AC turned on. Mumbai is humid these days. Irritating climate.

Then I just put the tomatoes on the kitchen slab and went upstairs to my bed sleepy headed. But unfortunately sleep eluded me. I found this time suitable for my podcast listening. Yeaah! One episode of 'Love Aaj Kal' hosted by two of my favorite people online these days Aastha and Ankit and another of 'De Taali' hosted by a proud transgender Fidaa Khan and her co-host Abhinav. Oh the bliss! I loved this one hour that went by just listening to these amazing people and learning about their experiences and about the people around then and about fans and admirers like me who write to them at regular intervals. Spotify has become my favourite audio medium recently. And I discovered 'Love Aaj Kal' season 1 and 2 on Jio Saavn too. Oh my my! It feels like I chanced upon a treasure buried in time. Haha! Listening has been my favorite pass time. It gives no strain on the eyes and helps me speculate as much as I want. Exercise for the contemplative mind.

I loved today's morning hours. I guess I should make it a habit to wake up early. It's just so nice, my whole and complete me-time. I thought to listen to a book chapter on Scribd, whose free monthly subscription I had taken a few days back. Yes, may be tomorrow I will. 'Planet of viruses' - a nonfiction ebook on Scribd has me hooked. 60/144 pages completed. Hope to complete that sooner.  

A quote that I heard in the podcast today. Quite relevant to the times we live in.

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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