Conversation With My Friends in the Time of Corona

Apocalypse Escape Plan by my favorite 9 yr old!

Hello friends!

How are you doing? I hope you are able to maintain your sanity in this extended lockdown period. I just pray that these times get over soon and we can be back to our normal self soon.

Daily activities take up a lot of my time and in addition to that, talking every day to family and friends has been helping a lot. You remember my crazy group of old-time girlfriends? A few weeks ago we spoke to each other about the current situation in their respective place of residence. Here is an excerpt of our conversation (published with their consent, of course!). It is eye-opening and heart-warming to see the similarities in experiences and the impact difference in cultures is having on people's lives:

D1 is an events planner in Australia.
V is an IT Project lead in the US.
D2 is a banker in Vadodara, India.
M is a stay-at-home mom in Saudi Arabia.
N is a stay-at-home mom (and an Air Force spouse) in Coimbatore, India.
And yours truly, stay-at-home mom in Jaipur!

D1: It has been very stressful. My husband is working from home, my elder daughter is having school holidays and we have stopped sending the younger one to day care. So there's no break in the household work. My (party planning) business has been affected, I had big plans this year. I am keeping my sanity intact by trying to distract myself from Corona updates. Netflix and Amazon Prime have become my life savers! Also watching motivational videos and killing time on social media.

N: I am feeling okay-ish too. Just that kids related chores have increased. Thankfully, the husband is at home so that has been a great help otherwise managing all this alone would have been very difficult. We are getting a lot of family time, so that's the positive side to it.

D1: I would recommend everyone to watch 'Tidying up with Marie Kondo' on Netflix. It was a big eye opener for my husband and I. It's the need of the hour.

V: As you all are aware the infected cases in the US are more than any other nation. Everyone is scared here. Racial tension has increased. People are abusing anyone who looks like a Chinese (Japanese, Koreans etc.). People are equally scared about losing their jobs. In the history of the United States, never have they seen so many un-employments registered;it has crossed about 10 million. Clearly, the US, the so called advanced country was not prepared for this pandemic.

We had to let go of all the contractors and temporary workers. Some friends have lost their job already. We are feeling very scared to step out of the house. Going to the grocery store is like going to a war zone. We have to be prepared with sanitizers, mask and all. Just before the outbreak, my mother-in-law had come to visit us and thank god for that. Both kids are home and both my husband and I are working from home - One from the basement and one from the office room. We both get up at usually the same time, work out a little, go for a walk, get dressed as we used to and start working. It makes us feel less lazy and trying to feel normal. We even have coffee breaks together and talk about work, bitch about bosses :-P 

On weekends, we have group video call with friends and visual parties. We are also using this time to get in touch with cousins and friends we haven't spoken to in recent times. 

Things we have realized recently is - people here cannot live without toilet paper! I have seen people fighting over the last bundle of toilet paper in the store! And I think I do not want to get old here. It's the worst country for old people. No one is taking care of them.

D1: I feel sorry for the people of the US. Is anyone following the US news and their President? He is more entertaining than any other Netflix series. 

Australia announced shutdown of non-essential business and 1 million people lost jobs overnight. The government announced several relief and stimulus packages to save people who lost their jobs. Not the Australian government has succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus and deaths considerably.

D2: I can tell the story from a different perspective. I have to go to work each day and we come int contact with lots of people from all classes, communities and age groups. The first few days, it felt good - calm and quiet roads, not many people )post demonetization I seem to have developed a phobia for large groups) and less work. It started feeling weird and even eerie after a while and now I can't wait for the lock-down to get over. 

It is like going through a ghost town, where everyone is scared, people who come in are viewed with suspicion and emotions are running high. W have specific time slots when people can come out and buy staples and it is being pretty well-managed by the enforcement authorities.

The home front has been a little tough with the maid not coming and the kids who are otherwise used to a lot of physical activity are being restricted. My biggest challenge is keeping them occupied. Thry are very confused and even have a meltdown on why does this stupid virus exist! Fortunately, my mother had come just in time for Ugadi and is like a blessing in disguise, though she is stuck here during the lockdown, it is a help for me with the kids. My dad is at Hyderabad and has rediscovered his enthusiasm for sketching and painting. 

I honestly thought this whole thing was not a big deal and a form of flu that is just being blown out of proportion [ the poor immune systems of the west unable to handle it and a bad case of fear mongering, fueled by social media. I wish there was a solid conspiracy theory to describe everything going on but I really want things to go back to normal. I feel privileged in a way but for lots of poeple wjo confuse boredom-loneliness and being alone, there is only so much isolation that one can handle.I have friens who want to talk on whatsapp teh whole day even if it is meaningless and mundane, because they feel 'stuck'. Some even said that they are feeling an inexplicable feeling of 'losing', not sure what.

M: Oh God, even I'm sick of cooking 4 to 5 meals in a day. On top of that, the schools have started online classes and day to day course is being uploaded on the website. We are supposed to make the kids study as per schedule. 

V2: I'm trying all kinds of quick snacks using the air fryer, insta-pot and what not! Thank God, my mother-in-law is here so she makes the main meals. I cook the breakfast and snacks.

Dalgona Coffee experiments in Australia

D1: My version of Dalgona coffee.

D2: What's Dalgona coffee?

S: Gaur se dekhiye iss aurat ko! This shows you've been working too hard and you need to take leave from work and waste time on social media like rest of us.

N: Same here girls..Please tell me also what's Dalgona and why is everyone going ga ga over it?

V: Which world are you living in girl? My dad lives in a village and even he asked me have you tried Dalgona coffee? With so much peer pressure, I had to try it at home. It came out pretty god though ;)

P: Yeah, even I didn't know it man! But my mom knew!

S: Parents are more advanced these

D2: Yes, may be they're using Tiktok :P 

D1: Haha..saree challenges have become old fashion now so I was checking what's trending. Someone who has nothing to do uploaded this video of Dalgona coffee in Tiktok and it has become viral. In the end I found out, it's just a normal cold coffee. It's called Dalgona coffee in South Korea.

S: Haha..I am staying in a guest room now, so I do not even get to make my own tea.

D1: Shilpa, you must write a blog on this - 10 ways to kill time on Social Media :P 

....and so I did!


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