Posted in Uncategorized

Play Day, a Covid bonus

My workplace has declared today as May Play Day. A day we have been mandated to NOT work. We have received multiple reminders from our management throughout this week to stay away from work today.  My company recognises that with having to work from home, the line between work and home has faded. Working harder, working longer, working without respite has been the norm for the past several weeks. Not just that, having to do this while balancing the other finer aspects of life that are demanding more of your time, energy and attention has added to the load on our backs. So they are giving the day off today, making this Memorial Day a longer weekend. No electronics day, the subject line said. Read a book, tend to your garden, take a hike, spend time with your family. Rest, relax, and come back rejuvenated!

I can’t say I have been struggling with balancing work and supporting my children. Both kids have been on their own. Hari is grown up enough to manage by himself. Ram has been forced into self-sufficiency as we simply don’t have the bandwidth to support his learning. Inspite of having the bar low for ourselves, some days are more stressful than others. Unwinding for a bit to just BE helps to gain some semblance of balance. You certainly cannot have it all at all times. Some days work take center stage and at other times life.

Note: As I write this post, I am acutely aware that there are millions and millions out there who would do anything to have a long workday and I am sending a silent prayer for them. We are certainly not treating this gift of fullness as a burden. Just saying that on some days it is harder in the moment.

Posted in Uncategorized

Reflections

  • Nothing screams life is not a level playing field like Mother’s Day. As I celebrate my mom and my children, I say a prayer of healing for those that have lost their mom, their child, or their dream of having a child.  
  • Someone who has fallen through hard times gifted me a plant today out of love. Touched and humbled by the generosity of her spirit. She makes me want to be a kinder person. 
  • Our state has made wearing masks mandatory. While the direction is to wear a face covering only when not social distancing, you hardly see anyone without a mask. I really miss seeing the smile on people’s faces. 
  • Gratitude for the gift of togetherness with the Jing Bang gang.
Posted in Life

Hello!

I had every intention to write more. I have half baked posts lying in my google docs and in my head. They have lost their essense with the passage of time. When I had the time, I dilly dallied. When I had the motivation, I was time constrained. Missed opportunities indeed. 

We have been doing ok so far. The first couple of weeks of lockdown slowed down our routine while filling us with dread. After that, life started happening. Remote learning, zoom classes, and zoom meet ups. Social distancing changed the form, not the substance of what we are doing. In the beginning, I was more current, spent more time with the sonny boys, was proactively checking in with family and friends, and in general made the most out of the forced slowdown. I can’t say the same about this week or today. Competing priorities, conflicting schedules and packed evenings are back. 

I celebrated my 42nd b’day birthday last week. I am grateful that even when there is so much turmoil in the world out there, my birthday celebrations happened without missing a beat. My tribe, near and far, wrapped me in a blanket of warmth and love. 

Tatie bye for now, will catch up soon!

Posted in Covid, Perspectives, Writing

Covid Perspectives

Curveballs

She heaves a sigh. A sigh of frustration, not relief. The deep breath gives momentary relief from the burdens of her heart. She has achieved the American dream. She came here as an immigrant and made it on her own. She is proud of the long way she has come. She has had her little pockets of happiness. The pink stuffed toys lined up in her car, the occasional indulgence at the salon, why, she even managed a trip to Disney. She was not the one to shy away from hard work. 10 hours a week, six days a week for the past 15 years. She did what it took to live a life of dignity. But life has been relentless in throwing curveballs. A dysfunctional family to support back home. Car break down, dental work, and the never ending pile of bills. Just one thing after the other. And now, this insurmountable curveball called COVID 19 has knocked her down. The retail store that she worked in let her go. None of her clients want her cleaning services. How is she going to muster the strength to get up? Who is going to pay for her groceries this week? What about rent? Car insurance? The monthly transfer she does to family back home? She has something more immediate to worry about than Covid. Her next meal. She is one of the 16 million people who have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks. 

Posted in Covid, Perspectives, Writing

Covid Perspetives

Covid is all we have been talking and reading about for the past few weeks. My brain is now a mish mash of voices from all that talking and reading.  I feel the itch to give life to these voices, to examine the pandemic from different points of views. I am taking a stab at it in the form of short anecdotes I am writing in second person. There is some reality (not necessarily my own) and a lot of imagination in exploring these perspectives. 

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Survival Instincts

She has poor survival instincts. She is the kind that would rush to help her neighbors when her own house is on fire. She has the compulsive need to give back, to be part of something bigger, to make a difference in the world.  The pandemic has brought humanity to its knees. She is acutely aware that living a healthy life is a privilege. Being able to maintain social distance is a privilege. The hardest part about the lockdown has not been the lack of social life or the scrambling around for groceries. It has been about  not being able to do anything with this privilege. Not being able to get out, lighten the load, and give back to the community. She feels incomplete, useless, and trapped. As she wallows in self-pity, her eyes rest on her family. They are beaming. They have flourished in the glorious family time in the past several weeks. They are safe. They are healthy. They are complete. And she knows it is partly because she prioritized them over her need to make a difference. And in doing so, she realizes she has made a difference of a different kind. Maybe this was life’s way of building her survival instincts?

Posted in Uncategorized

Covid Chronicles – Routines

Over the past three weeks, we have slipped into a routine of sorts. For the first time today since the stay at home saga began, the boys said they miss school. Over the weekend, there were some rumblings – “did you see how snappy he was?”, “ We are not sick of each other yet but we are heading in that direction.” So we had to shake things a little bit this week so we could create some space in togetherness. We also resolved to hit the pause button on Netflix binging from Monday to Friday in an effort to cut our screen time and make room for some more meaningful activities. 

6:00 to 7:30 am – wake up, bath, prayer, meditation, appa-amma call, dishwasher unload, prepare lunch and dinner, news catch up on podcast

7:30 to 8:30 am – catching up with work emails, daily check in call with the team

8:30 to 9:00 am – check in with kids, breakfast time. 

9:00 to 12:00 pm – work

12:00 to 12:15 pm – catch up with kids while having lunch

12:15 to 12:45 pm – go out for a jog

12:45 pm – resume work

3:00 pm – tea and snack break

5:45 pm – wind up work

6:00 pm – dinner preparation, touch point with friends here and there, news catch up on podcast

7:00 pm – kids activities via zoom/family time – carom/TV

8:00 pm – catch up – work emails, personal emails, social media

10ish pm – hit the sack

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. If monotony and lack of social life are our biggest complaints, we should consider ourselves blessed.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.

Posted in Uncategorized

Covid – work life balance

“Amma, you are making English muffins for breakfast tomorrow, right?” the first offspring reminds me. This is the fourth time I have received a reminder around what to make for breakfast for tomorrow. Ayoo kadavule, I want to pull my hair out. Truth be told, it’s not the children that I am frustrated with. Poor thing, food is probably the only thing that they come to me for. Some TV time in the evening and interesting food to thrill their taste buds. Not a tall order given that they are pretty much on their own all day everyday.

The real reason I want to pull my hair out is because work emails wouldn’t stop flowing. One email after the other, it simply is endless and all consuming. Everyday I wonder, is it me? Am I being inefficient? Am I not drawing boundaries?

I tell myself, I will do better tomorrow. I will get more efficient. I will compartmentalize. I will stick to a routine that balances work and life.