What Lockdown is Looking Like for Me – Keeping Sane in Quarantine: Part 4
Read Part 3 here.
Introduction to Anime
At the initial stage of the quarantine, Tathagata and I had been debating over whether to subscribe to Netflix. We are already subscribed to a DTH service where we have rented a set of channels – sports channels for football, the popular movie channels, some of the channels that air TV shows and a couple of travel and adventure channels. This has been working well for us since we didn’t want to be committed to any of the stuff on TV. But with the lockdown in place, the equation changed. We were discussing about watching movies of our choice and maybe, follow some TV shows too. In the end, we yielded and took up a joint subscription with three others.
Now that we had Netflix, a lot of TV show and movie options opened up. We didn’t know where to start. And then Tathagata had an idea. He had watched a lot of anime while growing up and I didn’t even know that a word like that existed. So we put two and two together and started with ‘Death Note’. It is about a notebook that grants its owner the power to kill anyone s/he wishes. This notebook falls in the hands of a high-school student. What would he do with it? It got me hooked from the first episode. It’s a gripping watch and it had me thinking about and analyzing the incidents of the series even when I wasn’t watching it.
After finishing Death Note, the second anime that TG moved me on to is ‘Naruto’. You’ve all probably heard of him except maybe someone like me who used to live under a rock. To be honest, it has taken a couple more episodes than ‘Death Note’ for me to start looking forward to it, but I’m here now. It’s about an extraordinary boy’s journey to becoming a true ninja. It’s a bit slow and a lot educational since it’s meant for children but I have started to like it.
So now I can proudly say that I know the difference between anime and manga! And now I will be able to tell a ‘Shinigami’ from a regular demon! Easy-peasy. Trust me, it’s a big deal for someone who, a month back, did not even know that these terms existed. Haha!
We are also clocking ‘The English Game’ in our Netflix time side by side with ‘Naruto’. If you love football and haven’t watched the ‘The English Game’, please do. It is the legendary story of how football transformed from being “the gentleman’s game” to becoming “the common man’s game”. The ‘Downton Abbey’ creator takes you down to the origins of ‘The Beautiful Game’ and on a whirlwind ride on chasing the dream. It’s an exceptional series that you shouldn’t miss. Two quotes I’ve picked up from the series:
- “Rivalry is good for business.“
- “Their stomachs will be empty long before our pockets.“
In my family, Maa has always been the planter. While Baba takes occasional interest in planting, I had always been the distant watcher. So the other day when my mother-in-law was chopping up pui shaak (Malabar spinach) in the kitchen, she saved six roots for us to maybe start something new – planting. I jumped at the idea. That afternoon, TG and I went up to the terrace and with the guidance of Didibhai (my grandmother-in-law) identified the empty pots and the gardening sickle. We then added some water to the soil, dug it up and tossed it around to aerate it. Once we were satisfied with the work, we put in the roots, 3 in each pot.
Since that day, we are taking turns to keep a watch over them while Didibhai waters. There had been zero developments in the roots for about 3 days. And then on the fourth day, we spotted tiny green shoots on two of them. We were overjoyed! It has been raining every other day since then with spots of sunshine spread out during the day. The shoots have grown into tiny leaves, the leaves have grown larger and are looking healthy. As plant parents, I can say that we are super, super excited about them!
Next up, we have some cantaloupe seeds drying in the kitchen, awaiting their turn to be potted.
Dating in the Pandemic
With the pandemic anxiety running rampant, one of the best sanity boosters for me has been our in-house dates. Even though we cannot go out of the house now, the terrace serves the purpose. The balcony comes close to an outing too. Anything without a ceiling or walls is good enough.
TG and I have agreed upon a mandatory no-screen time for at least 30 minutes or so after we finish our office work instead of vegging out in front of the TV or with our phones. This is when most of our dating happen. So during the work week, we spend this time in the balcony.
We have a tall frangipani tree in our house premise. Dadabhai (my late grandfather-in-law) had planted it when our house was one-storey tall. Later as the house grew in height, so did the tree. Now it spills into our balcony with sweet-smelling pink flowers growing in bunches all over it. It is a lovely setting for our balcony dates. It also reminds me of our vacation in Bali because frangipani is the signature flower of the island. The smell transports me to the dark green of the Bali jungles, the nostalgia of its majestic waterfalls and the warm breeze of the blue sea.
Throughout the week, I look forward to our weekend dates on the terrace. The air does my mind good. We have walking competitions, we talk about any topic under the sun, listen to music, look at our plants, look at the stars with TG’s patient attempts to help me spot Orion’s belt (which I never get most of the time), or just sit quietly and kill mosquitoes.
This has helped me cope with the uncertainty and the strain that comes with the pandemic. I feel a lot calmer after our dates. My mind feels nourished and it’s a relief from being weighed down most of the time with the string of bad news in the media.
A Few More Sanity Boosters
Blogging has been another stress-buster for me because it keeps me excited about all the things I want to share with you. I have debated the idea of maintaining an editorial calendar but have eventually tossed it because I want this blog to be an outlet for my thoughts and emotions and let the natural momentum take it where it needs to be. Apart from blogging, looking through our old travel pictures helps immensely. It takes a bit of daydreaming though in this corona crisis to transport my mind to the beach, but hey I’m getting there. TG and I have registered for a TEDxGateway webinar featuring Leander Paes and Ayaz Memon this Saturday. Check out the other webinars scheduled for this weekend here. You only need a Zoom account to join. I’m also watching quite a few TED talks. Check out my favourite TED talk here. The following talks are very inspiring:
I know a lot of people are feeling the way I am right now, struggling to stay put and not go stir crazy with all the news updates. None of us foresaw this pause in time that put everything on hold. It’s a lot of learning right now to settle into the new normal and trying to be sane at the same time. But you know what, it’s ok to lose your cool once in a while and it’s ok to be worried sick. It is a natural response to change and it’s quite ok to exhibit it. But you shouldn’t let it flood your emotions so that you stop being rational. You need to keep your head about you too. The above activities are helping me do just that. No doubt adjusting to a sudden disruption in normal life isn’t easy. There’s a lot to figure out. But you know what? You are not alone. We are all in this together. Truth is, this will not pass like everything else does. This will stay for good. But the good news is, we are human beings. We can adapt to anything that gets thrown our way. Even a deadly virus.
Hope you are all well and in good health.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final“
Read Part 1 here.
Wonderfully penned down. Love ur narration! It’s very realistic and refreshing admist all the depression going around.I alwas look forward to ur writings! Lots of love!
Thank you Madhurima! Hope you are doing well.
I’ve watched both of these anime myself! This made me laugh, I’ll be tuned in!
You have managed to strike a good balance between doing what should be done and taking a breather. With the lockdown now relaxed further, you will have a lot more things to do 🙂
Thanks Maxim! It wasn’t easy getting here. I hope this gets over soon. Stay safe.
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