Read Part 1 here.
Now that I have acknowledged and put my thoughts into perspective, I can have a clear mind for my other activities.
Daily Household Chores
You see, routine and regularity are the two R’s that maintain balance and stability in the mind and the household. With the lockdown in place, there has been a massive tipping of that scale. Routine disappeared and regularity lay in shambles.
One of the key reasons behind this is the absence of domestic help. In a family of six people, this sudden change becomes overwhelming. So we suddenly ended up in a space where household labour was threatening to pile up faster than we can handle. But the good news is six family members also mean six pairs of hands to chip in. And that’s how we volunteered to take up different roles to restore household health.
As the days went by, we became more aware of the visible and invisible chores that make up a household. We learnt to don multiple hats and take up responsibilities to share the load. We quickly realized that we need to work as a team to get the household machinery moving. This has helped immensely in establishing balance in the house and ensuring that the scale doesn’t tip too heavily towards anyone.
Balance in the household is extremely important whether you are a family of six or sixteen. Without it, your mental peace will be in jeopardy. You would find yourself bouncing around to different tasks, unable to separate work from home life and ultimately, it would seem like your workload never stops. One of the easiest ways to achieve this balance is by deciding the responsibilities you will be taking up and setting up a timeline for them. This is where a fixed timing for my office helps. I can then block particular hours of the day for my chores around my office time.
I have had one profound realization in this past month. The positives of family consensus on chores not only help build a cleaner and organized home but can also spill over into your relationships. I think the past month doing housework together has taught me more about my family members than two years of marriage have. We have laughed uncontrollably on inside jokes, shared truths about each other, mulled over the consequences of the pandemic together, gossiped with gusto, made some exciting recipe discoveries and at the end of the day, always remembered to lift each other up.
With a lot of collaboration, collectiveness and communication, we have managed to adjust well to life in this pandemic.
I used to be a bibliophile for as long as I can remember. Then the books I had been frantically purchasing to feed my mind began to take up too much space than our humble home could provide. So, I started renting them, from libraries, from used book shops, borrowing from friends and so on. And that’s how I’ve grown an attachment towards used books. Yellowed paper, the used smell, a note written here and there, a connection with the strangers who have owned it before me.
Lately, as I began to focus on polishing my writing, pay attention to my personal blog and allot time for personal care, the pull to read began to decline. I still pick up books to read but I don’t devour them as quickly as I used to before. But I always need to have a story going which means that I cannot be not reading a book at any point of time. I may have become slow, but there always needs to be a book that is ongoing.
Thankfully, in the last month of lockdown, I have made some progress with my reading. And that has helped keep my sanity intact. After I put down ‘Mansfield Park’ which I sadly, could not find the patience to finish, I wanted to start reading something relaxing. Something that would neither be too overpowering nor too slow but would belong to the sweet spot where it wouldn’t become a competition between either abandoning my sleep or the book.
Luckily, I found just the book I was looking for in the box of old books that Tathagata and I had bought from a warehouse sale. ‘Barefoot in Mullyneeny’. Set amid the picturesque beauty of Ireland, it is the story of the author’s experiences while growing up. The book is divided into short chapters. Each chapter is a memory. This is what I liked best about the book and is unique to it. The other thing I like about it is the idyllic simplicity of the time it depicts. ‘Barefoot in Mullyneeny’ is probably the farthest that any book has taken me from the fast-paced modern life to a long lost innocence of childhood pranks, the confusion of growing up and the captivating nostalgia.
Here’s my favourite quote from the book so far:
“It is my feeling that among the fields and the streets where you grew up, there your spirit will always live. And there you will leave it when you die.”
Remember the blog post I made on my favourite quotes? Read it here.
I have ‘Uncommon Type’ by Tom Hanks in line once I finish this.
Read Part 3 here.