One Day Of My Life During COVID 19
3AM. I wake up confused. I remind myself of the date. 30 Apr 2020. Thursday. It is surprisingly lucid how the date and the day prop up in my mind. I should be happy. For something. But for what? I think hard. As hard as is possible to think at 3 am. The salary is getting credited to the bank today. Yes. That's a relief. And a cause for happiness doubtless. "Money is one of the few things that still give me pleasure." Now, where did this come from? Asterix! Its a quote from one of the Roman governors. Asterix and the Golden Sickle. Maybe. I am not sure. It's not possible to be sure if anything now. 3 am is a magical hour. Surreal. The mind goes haywire. It has to be channelised into a path. Like herding sheep. But the path is not clear. I am happy. A lingering fear sets in. As if I do not deserve this happiness. I try to think about the tasks. A webinar to attend at 5.30 am. Wake the kids at 7. Set up their chaotic online classes. Prepare breakfast. Leave for work by 8. Now I remember! It's going to be a long day. Till 6 pm. This is what is causing me agony. After days and days of ennui and being quarantined, getting back to a regular workday is causing anxiety. Better to go back to sleep. If sleep comes ...
5.25AM. Woke up. Without any alarm. The mind plays tricks. It told me its time to wake up for the webinar. I get up. For a small moment, I want to go back to sleep. But then determination takes over. I drink a glass of water. Log in and the Zoom session is live. On the dot. Its 8pm Eastern Standard Time. And here 5.30 am Indian Standard Time. The start of the webinar is engrossing. But it loses steam after a while. Monotonous repetitions of what has been told. What is already known. Mundane and insignificant. Perhaps there is something of consequence mired in all this insignificance. To dredge it out requires concentration. Discipline. Perseverance. The minds rebels. It wants to break free. It has to be lulled back. So I open FB on a parallel window. Nothing more lulling than that.
The speaker changes on the Zoom webinar. This one's voice is faint and like a sing-song. Like it is coming out of a tunnel. Maybe it is. A long tunnel from Louisiana to Cochin. I get distracted. I begin fidgeting. The mind is a strange place. Forever on the lookout for mischief. It has to be marshaled to tread on to known predictable paths. Otherwise, it leads to grief.
6.15AM. Finally, I give up. Leave the meeting. Yet I have been through with it for 45 minutes. Learned a few things. I try to set up my kid's online classes. It's exasperating. The links are botched up. The Biology class at 8 am is showing as concluded! The Maths test will open at 10 am. For the Hindi test, one has to log on precisely at 3pm. And for the English test at 2.30 pm, the window for logging in is 2.20 pm to 3.15 pm. The test can be taken anytime until 6 pm. Navigating through all these links on the WhatsApp group chat is humungous. There are lots of dead links. Links for classes that are scheduled for another day but erroneously put. And there is a link which does not mention which classes they refer to. There are homework, assignments, notes, and screenshots of important points. Important for whom? All straddling the chat window like orphans. Begging for attention. In one discerning moment, the entire fallacy and bureaucracy of the modern education system become apparent. Again I mend my mind to stay the course. I tell it to keep its revolutionary ideas for another day. Walk on the beaten desire path of the predictable. After fumbling for 40 minutes I am able to set up the four classes for my two kids. In between, I run errands to the kitchen. Make myself tea.
7AM. Time to wake up the kids. They promptly go back to sleep. I prepare cereals for breakfast for the kids. And bread and jam for myself.
7. 10AM. Wake up the kids again. Get two frozen packets of milk from the deep freezer. Keep them for thawing. Time runs fast. It is spent in doing the frivolous and insignificant. Cleaning up the drops of spilled milk. Throwing the leftovers in the garbage can. Plugging in the adapters of the laptops. Hunting for the masks and socks. Putting the mobile on charging only to unplug it three minutes later to check if the biology class link is live. Shaving. Brushing. Bathing. Keeping time.
Life is but a long continuum of mundane. If not adhered to, one risks insanity. It's the insignificant chores that save you from madness. Madness which is always a real threat. It is imperceptibly near. Creeps up unsuspectingly. So keep walking down the dusty predictable desire path of mediocrity. To survive another day. Because without survival there is death.