Friday, May 1, 2020

Lockdown chronicles and beyond!

Dear All, 

Google Photos - Last year birthday celebration in Mahableshwar 

I know its been more than a month that we all have been under the lockdown and there seems to be no end to it until end of May. Fortunately or unfortunately we are locked up with our loved ones!!!For me, this time has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and I am sure for most us too this must have been a challenging time. 

Right from the day one I was prepared for a locked in house birthday (28th April is my birthdate 😊) I speculated this coming when I heard about the lockdown in March. But was fine since it was my first birthday at home. However I have been literally getting sad and depressed each day due to the overwhelming news about the number of coronavirus led deaths in Italy, US, Spain and then India. Slowly Maharashtra and Pune being the epicenter of this pandemic made me more and more depressed. On learning that these pandemics are going to be there with us even after the lockdown may be a few years later with even more deadlier viruses made me feel like I don't want to see all this happening. I am exaggerating a bit and sorry to sound such a pessimist, but yes this is in short how I had been feeling in the initial days of lockdown. Though I am with my loved ones, I couldn't talk to them about how I feel because I live with my in-laws (aged 60+) for whom this lockdown has created a havoc, they panic with every single news about closures whether it is vehicles, parks, places of buying things like Demart and Big bazaar, or maid not coming, everything. I had to tell them its fine we will manage it but still... they just cannot accept the situation.

Fortunately, Nanded City (where I reside) has been managing the pandemic quite well. We never fell short of anything be it food or electricity or water, the essentials are completely taken care of. Indeed its a privilege for which I am grateful but do empathize with all the migrants, poor and the daily waged labors who are affected and are deprived of their loved ones stranded in some location without food, water and sanitation facility. But couldn't do much for them as I kept on feeling even more grim. My husband and sister-in-law have been busier than before with their work from home schedule. We couldn't match our times and discuss these issues though we managed to converse a few times and I did feel better. However, I have a habit of noting down things, reading and listening to positive thoughts, observing and exercising which kept me somehow going. 

Nevertheless, I started searching for motivation in every small thing around me and STOPPED watching news. A big thank you to Dr Priyadarshini Karve who asked me to post content titled #NotAboutCorona as a daily feed that helped me divert my mind and thinking about different perspectives. I enjoyed watching the videos she shared and we decided to post them daily in order to promote diversity in thoughts. I am sure all of you loved them too.  

Everyday heroes right from the vegetable and other food stuff vendors, milk suppliers, our security guards, domestic helpers, the housekeeping staff and the story of #thelastfishermanofBombay Ganesh Nakhawa (Thanks to Myron Mendes) who is providing fresh fish to all despite the lockdown challenges, all are indeed like a superhero league to me. The way doctors are heroes in the hospital for the affected patients I feel the same way these are our heroes ensuring that we stay home healthy. Observing them do their work relentlessly is a great source of HOPE. 

I am a fitness enthusiast and love everything about my workout regime, closure of the gym was really a bad news for me, however my workout is very much a machine less workout so I was not that much worried. However due to this sadness I could barely get that motivation to move and I realized how much of a role my friends played in making the workout fun and happening. Nevertheless, thanks to social media, videos and zoom calls that ensured we connect virtually and keep ourselves going. Almost after 15 days of lockdown I could gather my wits and start some workout, which gave me a whole lot of strength and confidence to get going. I am now back in action and trying my best to achieve some lockdown workout challenges that I gave to myself. Definitely would like to share about the successes and failures of these challenges. Now I am glad the lockdown extended!!! Not being selfish just being an optimist, I know there are a lot of people who badly want this lockdown to just vanish and want everything to go back to normal. 

Nevermind, finally my birthday was here and this year I received overwhelming wishes from everywhere even friends and unexpected family members and the entire day I was busy replying to messages and answering calls from everywhere. BIG thanks to all. Forgot to click pictures this time but posting a picture from last year's birthday celebrations. I would like to share a conversation I had where a friend of mine literally said that 'Now you must be happy, your environment is all clean and pollution free'. I was shocked, just because I work in this field, all the environment is mine WOW! There's a dearth of right information among people and there's so much of work that needs to happen in the field of education systems and media studies to promote the things that matter in the right context. 

Anyway coming back to normal so what should the NEW NORMAL look like. While pondering over it I thank again to the thought experiments (amazing concept) led by Dr Priyadarshini Karve through her vlogs and some online articles and a lot of self introspection. There are a few very basic things that I think we should have in order to thrive post lockdown and in such recurring future scenarios. 

1. Mindset - Simply accept it, that this is going to be THE new norm where after every 8 to 10 years or less there will be such a event where we need to shift our routine lifestyles and adapt to the new situation. May be a 360 degree shift is required. Just be ready! We need to keep adapting, renovating, re-engineering or even replacing systems and people.Trending concepts like makeshift and DIY things have a lot of scope.  
2. Consumption Pattern - In our climate friendly lifestyle workshops, we stress on the aspect that we need to do everything, either individually, or as society or as a system in optimum ways without compromising on our evolutionary instincts. Being a flexitarian when it comes to consumption is the key I feel which we need to adapt too coupled with an attitude to conserve will help. Not just in case of food, but also in case of material things that we use in our day to day life. For example living without a mobile or living with a robot or some bionic sensors.   
3.Skills - Being an expert in one field wont be enough or may not be required. We got to be JACK, I mean 'Jack of all trades and master of none'. Since you never know, your expertise may not be needed anymore. So again be a life long learner, explorer and achiever rather than an expert in one field! 
4. Health and Fitness - I don't need to say, how much we need to value our health systems now. At an individual level keeping oneself fit is more important than being thin or fat moreover building strength and immunity is essential. Its quite evident that only a vaccine which is scientifically tried and tested is the ultimate solution to eradicate a viral infection, while all the other traditional medicinal systems can act only as supplementary measures. While we take all the necessary precautions if we are hit by a deadlier virus its only science that can help us. We ought to have scientific temperament.  
5. Environment - Again I need not say WE need the Earth, Earth does not need us. If we need it we got to use it in a way that is governed by the laws of nature. Our systems, behaviors and lifestyles need to be tuned into the way nature functions. I have mentioned many a times in my blogs, that there's no such thing as waste in nature. We need to implement such cyclic systems where the 'waste' of one thing becomes the raw material of the other and hence no waste exist. 
6. Coalition - Living with climate change and then such recurring pandemics calls for a coalition between all the nations along with interstate and inter governmental organizations at every level. In order to coordinate in an efficient way we need advances in technology which is happening anyways but continuing in this direction.  

These are just my initial thoughts, you are most welcome to comment, add or deduct, agree or disagree to the list. Also do share your lockdown experiences. Its always good to document!!!

Pournima Agarkar.

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Tunuku Anisikegalu said...

Very well articulated... Agreed with whatever you said. Keeping mental health in check also is very important considering the uncertainties of the future. How can we better prepare ourself to be more peacefull and not anxious all the time. Also the sudden shift in work culture too may give some of us bad moods as once cannot physically meet friends and colleagues.. Maybe technology will help.. Being understanding and kind also matters..

shri..! said...

खूप छान लिहिलेय...वाढदिवस आहे तर काय होणार ? हे छानय कारण लहानपण अजून आपल्यात असल्याचे हे लक्षण आणि लहानपण असावं कायम...वाढदिवसाच्या खूप खूप शुभेच्छा....घरात आपण लाँक आहोत, तर खूप छान करण्याची संधी आहे. मी तर पर्यावरणावरील खूप सारी पुस्तकं वाचतोय. घरातून बाहेर गेल्यावर निसर्ग अनुभवतोय. कारण पत्रकार असल्याने बाहेर जाता येतेय. हा निसर्ग खूप फुलतोय. काही गोष्टी लेखात दिल्यात की, आरोग्य, निसर्ग आदी. आपण कमीत कमी पृथ्वीला हानी होईल अशा गोष्टी कमी करायलाच हव्यात. पृथ्वीला आपण नकोय पण आपल्याला पृथ्वी हवी आहे. म्हणून आपण तिला नीट ठेवलंच पाहिजे. खरं तर निसर्गाकडे पाहण्यासाठीच ही चांगली संधीय. खूप अती केलं तर निसर्ग एक विषाणूद्वारे आपल्याला घरी बसवू शकतो. म्हणून आपण नीटच वागून निसर्ग जपला पाहिजे. पुर्णिमा छान लिहिलेय आणि लिहित रह...आम्हाला नवीन वाचायला मिळते. 👍👍👍

pournima said...

Thanks a lot Tunuku Anisikegalu yes indeed mental health is important and is neglected often.
Shrikrishna Thanks a lot for the wishes and your comments.