Too many things

As the days go by, comes the realization that we need to start packing stuff if we need to take anything with us. 15 years in the same house has gotten us a lot of things. And this is inspite of the yearly downsizing and throwing away stuff that occurred when the children were home and the yearly spring cleaning of schoolbooks was the routine. Still we have stuff and how much? It makes me want to throw up about how much we spent on clothes and more clothes every month almost. What a family we are.

This is one of the boxes that got done. It has a long journey ahead of it.

Throwing away- so many clothes- what a waste
And books from my daughters time here about three years back-was always hoping some student could use them
Just taking the clothes- not the furniture or printers or any other stuff
My cupboard- I am not even taking my clothes as I will be going native and will wear only traditional clothes as befits a tropical climate
A few of the suitcases that may accompany us on the flight

My crockery and cutlery are other things I would want to take- as I would find it easier to use things I have been using for years. The mixer grinders and gas stoves would not be taken and so will the television sets or computers- all of them are going to be abandoned.

It is all a waste of money – the COVID has made my husband and I realize that everything is a waste- we could have used the money we spent on stuff helping some needy person or for a good cause. We talk about this every day. We have been wasting our time- and our resources, putting things away for when we would return and now the time to return has come and we cannot take most things with us. We are not even sure these things we ship will reach us. Nothing is sure in this world now.

We are learning to appreciate one another and the time we get together. We talk to our parents and family every day. These are the things that matter- nothing else is lasting.

A birthday amidst the lockdown

My husband is 58 years old today. Though if one thought he was 70, it would not surprise anybody. That is how much he has aged in the two months since the lockdown started.

He wants to be out in the sunshine, or out in his car or among his people walking around in freedom and here he is locked up- ahem, locked down. The only thing that money can buy now is food or medicine. There is nothing else to buy now- no extravagances, no cakes, no celebrations, no dinner in a fancy restaurant.

He didn’t want a cake or any other celebration. Family and friends are wishing him on his birthday through phone calls. He waits in anticipation for that one telephone call that will decide his fate- towards freedom or towards more captivity.

His hair has grown so much over the past two months- there is no hair cutter available for rhyme or reason. I have been begging him to let me at his hair but having seen my past efforts in cutting the stray cats fur, he would not let me. Today he had his back toward me, so I took off the spikes on top of his head with his mustache scissors. And then he was looking like Einstein, with a bunch of hair on each side of his head, almost none on top and a lot at the back- so he had to let me at the hair on his side. So in the end, he had three sides of his head shorn off and rather well, too, I might add. He now has hair only at the back and since no one looks there, often, we can leave that for the professional.

We have come to appreciate our hair dressers, our dry cleaning people, our house cleaners and everyone else who was making life comfortable for us. That is not the only way the lockdown has affected us- we cannot travel, we cannot move around, we cannot visit anyone, we cannot even go to work- everyone prefers working from home.

As the day goes on, we are now waiting for a man, who can help with moving and packing our stuff. After 27 years of marriage, we have a birthday in captivity. We will appreciate freedom when we get it because we have been captive. Freedom will be our biggest gift.

Desperation

Being locked up is no fun. Being in a lockdown was fun until we realised it was as good as being locked up.

There were the hassles of getting our food and supplies online through various food agencies that had cropped up after the “lockdown”. This is a country that is apart from being locked down, also in a land locked situation with every land border sealed and only a narrow tract of airspace allowed for an infrequent plane to go across to a friendly county and over many unfriendly countries to some sort of friendly country. What a state of affairs, the world has come to.

At this time, online food supplies have jacked up their prices and each order takes more than a week to deliver and when they do deliver, prices are vastly different from what they were when ordered. When questioned, they have no answers. No one knows anything, which is another new normal that we have to live with.

Aeroplanes are operating now, meaning, evacuation flights are flying getting people out of the country to their home countries- these flights are for those incapacitated, pregnant women, those who have no visas to stay on or have lost their jobs because of the lockdown. All others are expected to stay put. This is getting people desperate- as there a lot of people( like us) who just want to go and be with our families, our children, our houses and live normal lives again, such as we may have.

Desperation drives people to extreme measures-hearing of businessmen committing suicide in frustration, because of businesses being suspended in time.

Wonder when people and the powers that be will realise that the lockdown does not solve problems but seems to just serve as postponing them, until they have time to deal with them.

I think people need to take action; as the WHO says, the COVID is not going anywhere fast- which I interpret as- as it is here to stay as an unwanted guest, we might as well learn to live with him/her or it, and deal with him, hoping one day he goes away. But because of him, we will not kneel down, or give in- our spirits, our lives, anything. What else can we do ?

Last day of the course-May 6

Just documenting that this beautiful day signals the end of my course- the culmination of at least 9 years of sweat, toil, heartbreak and tears.

There are 10 subjects we need to get through to get the Graduate degree. I seem to have completed 9 of them successfully. Even managing to get a 100% on the last assignment of that dreaded R.

The one remaining course is the SAS( another software) course- which course’s midterm assignment I failed and the final which I turned in yesterday was nothing different- so I might not get my degree- but it was not for want of trying.

If I had been in New Haven, today would have been a day of celebration. I would have been packing and getting rid of stuff in my room. I would have been donating my electric cooker to a Chinese girl who likes to recycle and use stuff. I would have donated my mattress and knickknacks to some sort of donation center. And I would have made the journey to Boston, to catch my plane home.

In the new situation, I am already fast forwarded to my home – there is no travel looking on the horizon and I am preparing for another journey that will involve me leaving all 15 years of my stuff in this desert country.

Was the course worth it ? Totally.

Was it a wasted effort to do it at 50 ? I would think so( though public health has taken a beating with the current epidemic, we hope for better days, when people will understand that man and animals have to live in harmony and not one pursuing the other until the other releases stuff including germs to infect humans. ( The farmed animals are not getting any better treatment than the ones in the wet markets ).

It is the 6th of May, for the records and with one last assignment to submit, I will be done.

Lockdown dance

My children are both separated from us- because of the lockdown. Its just my husband and I in our home here. My husband essentially takes all his patient calls at home and since they have cancelled all non urgent procedures, it works well. We go out only to get some food, which shops are open. We do our laundry and the cleaning ourselves.

One of my children, who is locked in in a hostel, has her own methods of having fun. Its been 7 weeks since the had regular classes( though their college is just 5 km away from their hostel)- they are not allowed to get out of the campus of their hostel.

She has been cooking in their hostel kitchen- fortunately, their century old hostel, which houses at least 250 girls has a kitchen- with an induction top cookstove, a microwave, utensils, a refrigerator and all. I lived in the same hostel during my medical course at least 33 years ago and there was no kitchen then.

After a month of cooking, she seems to have reached the limit of her recipes. Now she has taken up another hobby.

There is a dance room in the hostel too- also added since our time. So she goes there for sometime every day to dancexercise and get rid of excess energy.

Recently she had other girls join her and they then decided to take their dancing skills out to the open. Below are a few pictures of their dances – costumes and all.

Girls having dancing fun in the grounds of their hostel
Lockdown can be fun too !!