March 19, a Thursday, was like any other day. The COVID-19 pandemic was yet to send us all into a tizzy, but it indeed drove me into panic mode.
I recall this time when I was getting into the elevator—the Coronavirus consumed my mind. Because of fear, I was hoping the elevator would take me directly to the fourth floor, my workplace. But as it stopped on the first floor, my mind went into overdrive. As soon as the door opened on my floor, I walked as fast as I could to reach my desk. That is when I realized that this was not going to be a typical working day.
Soon after, we received the news about a nationwide lockdown and work-from-home (WFH). The pin-drop silence that followed was proof of the uncertainty that loomed ahead.
Although I have worked from home occasionally, this mandatory WFH was unchartered territory. Post a detailed discussion with the team, agreeing to schedule calls twice every day, and taking stock of work—WFH officially started for me.
Balancing Work and Family Time
On the home front, I saw the positive side of the lockdown. My surroundings were free of noise and pollution, and different types of birds were chirping. I had more time to spend with my two hyperactive boys, Nakshatra, seven, and Lax, five. My wife, Punam, was happy and thrilled that after 11 years of marriage, for the first time, I was in the house 24X7. I have viewed this lockdown as God's gift wherein I get to spend quality time with my loved ones and focus on the present.
Channeling my Inner Chef
In all these years, I have never had the chance to catch up on sleep as I do now. Therefore, my new routine is 'eat-WFH-play-sleep.' We also began our experimentation with food. Be it pizza, chili chicken, burger, chicken pakoras (fritters)—Ieven tried my hand at making chicken fried rice, which was a hit, with my elder kid demanding that I make it every week now!
Challenges of Grocery Shopping
I had never imagined that going to get groceries would be something to look forward to. Wearing a tracksuit and hand gloves, covering my face with a handkerchief, putting on special shoes and a helmet made me feel like I was going on a mission to Mars!
Getting into the WFH Groove
For all of us at home, this time has been a time of learning. My younger one found a thali (plate) and chamach (spoon) and converted them into musical instruments. We even celebrated Diwali way ahead of time by lighting candles and diyas(earthen lamps). While initially, it was challenging to get into the groove of the WFH system, I am quite comfortable now, even when my kids bring the house down with their drama and noise.
Hurrah to the IT and Logistics Teams
Speaking of WFH, our IT associates and the logistics department worked relentlessly and sometimes round the clock, to ensure that we were equipped with the right systems to continue WFH without any hindrances.
Saluting the Superheroes without Capes
I have also learned that not all superheroes wear capes. Our new superheroes are our doctors, nurses, police officers, and such, who are on the frontlines and giving it all they have to keep us safe.
This lockdown has made me realize that we need to accept the uncertainties that come our way and look forthe little joys in life to help us build a positive mindset in the most adverse of circumstances.