Uncommon Opinion: Finding the Utopia in this Dystopia

GUEST POST ALERT: Today, I have yet another Guest Post on my blog and this time it is written by my Dad. He is an avid reader and has gathered a lot of knowledge and perspective over the years. I have been wanting to know his take on the Coronavirus Pandemic/Lock-down and when I asked if he could write about it, he heartily agreed.


 

Can we become the creators of our own destiny?

I have read a lot about Karma and its effects on our mind and consciousness. But to me these are all debatable. Learned people say that the mystery of life lies in the knowledge of death. You might be wondering why I have started my post with negative thoughts. I’d like to remind you that two negatives make a positive. That’s what I am trying to do here, turn all the negative thoughts about this tiny virus in to something positive.

My self-quarantine started a week before the official lock-down, thanks to my younger daughter who came back from Bangalore. It was a much needed rest for me mentally and physically. I realized the pathetic condition of my lungs and the lack of stamina when I tried playing Badminton with my daughter. I was experiencing shortness of breath rather too quickly into the game. I am someone who leads thousands of people in the company I work in, and here I was struggling to manage my own body the way I wanted. Since I am not sure about the concealed mystery of heaven and hell, and the concept of the soul and rebirth, I realized that the only genuine companion in my life until death would be my body and it’s my utmost duty to nurture it carefully.

As I mentioned earlier, the lock-down has been a much needed rest for me. I have been able to do the things I love; reading books, practicing pranayama exercises, continuing my passion with drums (with the practice pad), listening to music (I was a professional drummer in my youth), taking regular walk in the evenings and most importantly helping my wife in the best ways possible.

It may sound insensitive when I tell you that I am enjoying my life. Like everyone else, I too am concerned about the virus engulfing the world, taking too many lives. But it’s high time we stop being miserable. We need to accept what comes our way with grace. I know it’s easier said than done. But there’s nothing wrong in giving it our best shot. There is no point restarting our journey in an unpleasant manner. If you ask me, this should not only be a view of life now but a way of life forever.

There are the pessimists and the alarmists who tell us that disaster is certain and that all human effort is of no avail. I don’t think Mother Nature is that cruel. After all, no mother can torture her children incessantly.


 

Featured Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Ten Useful Apps to Install During Lock-down

As we have been spending more time than ever during the Lock-down, I decided to compile a list of Useful Apps for Android. Most of these are available for iphones too, but I am not sure. A few months back, I had asked my friends on Instagram to suggest Apps they found to be really useful. Based on the suggestions and my experience, I have compiled this list:

1. Gratitude: Personal Growth and Affirmations Journal – It is a very simple app in which you can keep a reminder every morning or night to write the things you are grateful for. Writing down a thing that you are grateful for everyday forces you to look at the bright sided of things on a daily basis and that becomes your nature with time. The App is not sophisticated but just does what it promises. You get a quote of the day every day.

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Find the App Here

2. Evernote – I am majorly dependent on this one for saving ideas, movie suggestions, songs that I suddenly hear, writing poems or full fledged blog posts, pouring my heart out or saving my grocery list. It’s the App I run to when I need a notepad! You have multiple formatting options, and you can insert pictures. If you’re a writer, or if you’re looking for a place to save quick ideas, recipes or lists, this is perfect!

3. Nike Training Club – NTC gives you guided workouts based on your training level, the time you have, and the equipment you possess (or not). They even have Yoga workouts if you’re into Yoga and I loved how I felt after these exercises. And yes, I am referring to the free version. Unlike other apps, there is no pressure to upgrade to the premium version and that being said, the free version in itself has a wide variety of workouts. I found the interface a bit confusing, but for an app with free quality content, I guess I can figure things out.

4. Track Yoga – I have been searching for traditional Yoga classes that explain the postures well. I also felt that most of the online classes made it all too difficult and vague for beginners. I have been using Track Yoga for two weeks now and I love it. The App divides the Yoga workouts on different basis; stress relief, fitness, flexibility etc. When you choose one, they mention the estimated time for each asana in the series and if you click on to each asana, you can read up on how the posture should be. Even if I skip some asanas, I know that I am doing the few perfectly. Some programs can be unlocked only if you pay and it costs only Rs. 999 per year which is a good price to pay for it!

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Did Yoga for Busy Bees Grab your Attention?

5. Knappily – This is a knowledge App. They give you articles which are a combination of news and information. For instance, today I read an article on coronavirus and also about the partition of India. If you’re someone who’d like to improve your knowledge base with little snippets of information, this app is for you. They show you a gist of the article. If you like it, you can swipe right and read about it in detail.

6. Skyview – An app for star gazing and looking up constellations and planets. I used this when we went star gazing in Kuttikkanam, Idukki. If you live in the less polluted parts of the world where stars are clearly visible and if star gazing is your thing, you should check out this app. It turns sky into a magical vista.

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Source: Skyview

7. Slowly – This is a letter writing App. You create an account based on your interests, pretty much like a social media account. There are no photos or personal data involved. You can choose people from all over the world based on region, interest, age etc and start writing. You might find some really good connections here and as long as you don’t share your personal information, there are no risks involved. The app sends letters based on actual time it takes a real letter to reach its destination. So you have the element of awaiting the letter pretty much like the good old days. 

8. Insight Timer, The Meditation App –  This App saves my life! Insight timer isn’t your traditional meditation App. It has millions of guided meditations based on your purpose. They have meditation for happiness, anxiety, breathing, pain and so on. I browse through various morning meditations, the sleep meditation when I can’t sleep and the pain relief meditation when I get migraines. I sleep like a baby and wake up pain free when I use the App. For those who don’t like guided meditations, they have a timer with (or without) music to choose from. These features are free. If you go for the upgrade, you’ll have access to courses too.

9. Udemy/Coursera/MasterClass – I know this isn’t a new information. But if you haven’t paid attention before, you can use these apps to learn new skills. Learning isn’t only to gather degrees. It could be to do better at work or in life or because it gives you happiness and makes you better at something. Do a course relating to coding, or different brush strokes in painting, courses on astronomy or travel or photography, the list is endless. If you are really serious, you can invest in Masterclass with a few friends. They have some mind-blowing resources there. If not, you have courses for as less as 500 bucks on Udemy.

10. Game Apps – I know we are all missing our friends. Many group chat Apps with games have come out now, house party, Bounce, then there’s Psych! by Ellen Degeneres. Trust me! We played this game in office many times and it was just too much fun. As for single player games, Nonogram – a Sudoku of sorts – is a superb brain game while Scrabbles will keep you hooked for a long long time!

Nonograms - online puzzle game
Source: Nonograms.com

Exercise, mental well being, time pass, being connected with friends, brushing up skills, improving knowledge; I have covered so many useful Apps in this post and so trying out even one from this list will benefit you in one way or the other. I hope these Apps will be useful for you. Do try them out and let me know. Which one will you be trying from these? What is your favorite App during this lock-down?

 

Featured Image Source  – Skyview

 

Stories of Kindness and Sacrifice during Covid-19

The brawl over toilet paper and supermarkets emptying out had us wondering where we were all heading. But there were some beautiful acts of kindness and sacrifice that kept people together, sane and alive during the Coronavirus pandemic. I wouldn’t do justice to this series if I don’t put the stories of these wonderful souls out there. Here are some heart warming Stories of Kindness and Sacrifice during Covid-19

 

The Elderly Sacrifice their Ventilators for the Young ones who need them the Most

A 90 year old woman in Belgium, Suzanne Hoylearts, was tested positive for Coronavirus. Her health deteriorated with every day. However she refused to be put on ventilator saying she has had a beautiful life. She requested them to save it for the youngest who needed it the most. She died from Covid 19 as she granted the gift of life to someone else.

Italian priest Don Giuseppe Berardelli had been suffering from respiratory ailments for a while. And so Bergamo being one of the worst hit by Coronavirus, did not spare the priest. His parish had earlier purchased a breathing apparatus to help him. However he decided to give up the ventilator for someone younger. He passed away in a hospital in Bergamo.

In both these cases and many others, there was no in personal funeral for the departed. As someone said, funerals are for the living. These wonderful souls died sacrificing and I am sure they are both on a beautiful after-life journey.

A Man in Uttarakhand, India uses his own vehicle as an Ambulance

32 year old Ganesh Bhatt decided to use his vehicle as an emergency service when he realized that ambulance drivers were scarce in his area. He gets distress calls frequently now. He has helped out pregnant women, a child who fractured his hands and he even supplies essential items such as groceries and medicines so that people don’t have to leave their homes during lock-down.

“We all know how the healthcare system is in the hilly regions of our state; ambulance services are not efficient even at the best of times and to top that, now local drivers do not want to take people to hospitals even if they are paid Rs 2000, as they are scared they might get infected. So I started using my own car as an ambulance,” said Bhatt.

He has been using his savings to provide these services. However these days people who have contacted him through social media are contributing money for fuel. The locals refer to his car as 109 ambulance service now. [Source: Hindustan Times]

The Captain of the Cruise Ship, The Diamond Princess, the last one to leave

The Diamond Princess that carried 3711 people (including the crew) began to have a rough phase on the day before the cruise was about to end, when a person had been tested positive for coronavirus. Within the next day, the number had increased to 10. People were asked to stay inside their rooms as each of them were tested. Over the next few days, the positive cases rose to 700. While his ship was going through a never before phase, the Captain, Gennaro Arma tried his best to cheer up the passengers.

 

Throughout the quarantine, he thanked the passengers for their patients and left them notes of encouragement. He arranged flowers and chocolates for the passengers shut in their cabins on Valentine’s Day. He recited a quote from Bible to lift the passengers’ spirits and instill faith.

He continued to stay and oversaw the transfer of passengers to the hospital or the quarantine facility and was the last one to disembark on Mar 2nd. He is now a Hero to many and Italy is to give him its highest honor.

If this wasn’t enough, we have people volunteering to supply essentials to the doorsteps of the elderly. Children are posting hand written letters to houses in their streets offering help. A community in Thane, Mumbai is ensuring that people who returned from abroad in their community aren’t harassed but feel supported. A group of neighbours sang the Birthday Song to an 80 year old home quarantined woman in Spain.

 

Role Reversal as Humans Hide and Nature Thrives

Today I saw a video of the streets of my city, Kochi, Kerala. It highlighted the main parts of the city and it empty, everywhere. You’d occasionally see a car or two wheeler, but the roads stretched into nothingness. The Oceanside, the walkways and bridges were all empty and it looked strangely beautiful to see my city that way. I wanted to go out and witness it myself. But that isn’t possible right? However, we have been hearing from all over the world the stories of some others who have been enjoying the lock-downs. While the humans hide from nature, the nature is just reclaiming what is hers. Here are some adorable stories I came across:

  1. You must have heard about the Dolphins that were sighted in the Venice’s canals. Since the visitors reduced, the motorboats were put away and hence the sediments have settled and water pollutants have dropped. The water is so clean that fish can be seen in the canals.
  2. Apparently, vibrations from moving vehicles and industrial equipments could cause the Earth’s crust to move. When human activity is high, cumulatively they produce noise which reduces the seismologists’ ability to hear other sounds and signals of similar frequency. In Belgium, vibrations caused by human activity have gone down by one-third since restrictions to contain Coronavirus put in place. This enables the equipments to pick up waves in the same frequency range as the noise. The facility’s seismometer is sensitive to small earthquakes and it can monitor volcanic and other seismic activities. A similar fall in noise was observed by a station in Los Angeles. Source: Nature.com
  1. My favorite have been the Penguins going on their field trip. Nothing could beat those! The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago unleashed the Penguins. They let them walk around in the public areas, look at the exhibits and clearly the Penguins look happy, curious and intrigued.Bonded Penguins Edward and Annie were taken on a tour around the aquarium and it looks nothing short of a romantic date. I could sit all day looking at them walk.

4. Killer Whales Spotted! In Vancouver a pod of Whales were spotted on the Indian Arm. The group consisted of the mother, father and two babies. Jim Hanson initially ignored the sounds of whale exhaling on the water surface, but alerted by his son, he was in for a surprise; something he had never seen in 59 years of his life there! [Source: cbc.ca]

5. Silka deers decided to take a stroll in Nara, Japan, wild turkeys suddenly appeared in a park in Oakland. In India, in Uttarakhand, Sambar Deers were spotted walking the streets near the Rajaji National Park. Well, it did seem normal to me. Animals near national parks shouldn’t be surprising. But they would really come out onto the streets only if they are assured that they wouldn’t be disturbed. Clearly, the disturbances are all sitting at home right?

6. The Mighty Himalayas was visible from parts of Jalandhar, Punjab for the first time in decades as the lock-down paved way to less pollution. ‘If you see Himalayas once, you’d want to go back again’, said a friend of mine. After my trip in December, I have been craving for it like never before. So this news made me so envious. To be able to see Himalayas one fine morning from your own terrace, that would be a joy like no other.

The Dhauladhar range of mountains is visible from the city due to a drop in pollution levels.

I have said this before. There is no saving the Earth for humans. If something goes wrong, nature knows how to save and mend itself. That is precisely what is happening. Nature is in the process of cleansing while sending us messages. These are the signs. I am not an environmentalist. I know I do my fair share to harm the Earth and I am trying to work on it.

Meanwhile here is my idea. It would be ideal for all of us to go on a global self quarantine for a month every year. We’ll all stay with family, take things slowly, love better, stay at home and let the Earth breathe and mend herself. The economy, daily wage earners, businesses, essential services etc can be taken care of with good planning. I’m sure this will be our best contribution to Earth. What do you think?

Featured Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

6 Simple Life Changes During Quarantine

We are on the lookout for ways to make the Quarantine period less monotonous. This post in no way tells you that you need to have a skill at the end of Lock-down. It is alright if you choose to spend your day by simply being happy. It merely gives you ideas if you want to make some simple life changes during Quarantine. These tips need at the most 10 minutes of your time. You can invest more time depending upon how quick or effective you want the results to be.

  1. Bond with family – We really have lost ourselves in the rat race, so much so that we don’t even have the time for ourselves leave alone having time for family. We do try. We call them whenever we can, we sit with them for 20 minutes a day after work, but during these times we are still thinking about that other work we should be completing or the call we should be making. We are never with family completely. This Quarantine time has reduced work considerably for many of us and instead of fixating on the freedom taken away from us, we can use this time to create memories.I have been trying to get my sister and parents to watch series or movies with me, or sit together and sing, play some games or talk. All of us are busy in so many ways and a family time was never our thing. So it is difficult. But I am trying and I believe that there’s no other time than this one to bring that bonding. It wouldn’t be easy. But it will be worth it!
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    Photo by Ann Danilina on Unsplash

     

  2. Improve Your Knowledge Base –If you like etymology, you could try to know the etymology of your State, country or nearby places, or the etymology of things you like, for instance I got to know recently that Ernakulam was earlier known as Rishinagakulam and that there’s a story behind it. Though didn’t find any material on it, I assume that Er-Na-kulam was formed from the first Malayalam letters of Rishi and Naga. That was a mind-blowing revelation for me. You can also read about Indian history. It could be about the partition or about Tipu Sultan’s conquests. These are all interesting areas for me. But you have a large amount of information for you out there and you just need to spend 10 minutes a day to read up and improve your knowledge base.
  3. Learn a New Skill – Again, it is not about a full-fledged course. But maybe one from Udemy that costs 500 bucks and gives you a 3-5 hours course on something that interests you. If you like painting, it could be simply about the various brush strokes and techniques to make the painting look better. If you are into instruments, it could be about learning a new piece, if its dance,it could be about using it to move your body and enjoying it. You never know. One small technique might get you more interested into something and it could pave way to a fresh new perspective in life!
  4. Roll Reversals – If your Mom has been cooking all these years and you have the time to try your luck in the kitchens, you should venture into it. It’s always good to have an insight into how another person handles things. When your spouse or parents comes back from work, you could try a new method to make him/her happy. If you’re someone who hasn’t prepared tea and snacks before, try giving them a surprise; dinner isn’t a bad idea either. If you follow the online recipes verbatim, nothing could go wrong. Light up the house, put some music and candles, hot water for the feet, a movie after; do things you’ve never done before for your family. IMPORTANT: Do clean up after. You’ll thank me for this bit. 
  5. 30 Seconds of Anything – 30 seconds, a minute or five minutes of something could add value to you. My sister proved this to me last year when she decided to do push=ups for 30 seconds every day. Sounds like nothing right? No! She was a beginner who could barely get her body up from the floor for a push-up. She started doing it with knees on the floor and by the  end of 30 days she could do push-ups like a pro! I am starting with it today – Push-ups for 30 seconds for 30 days. You can try learning a new word from a new language everyday if you spend 2 minutes.
  6. Use The App Store – you can look for apps on Google play store that helps you with many of these aspects. You have SLOWLY through which you can send and receive letters from random people through the App. Don’t worry, it’s safe. You have Gratitude Journal wherein you can write things you’re grateful for. Duo lingo to learn new languages, House party to group chat with friends and play games online, Knappily and medium to read up and gather knowledge, the list is endless. You can try out various apps in the playstore. It might end up surprising you! I am thinking of dedicating a post to the various Apps you could use to make your life better.

By no means am I asking you to do all of this at once. You can try one at a time, fix a time frame during which you’ll stick to it and see how it goes. If you come out of the quarantine a bit more stronger or with good memories with your loved ones or with a little more knowledge, it will be a life long asset for you.

 

Featured Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Pantomimes and Paranoia

In January, 3 positive cases were found in Kerala and they were completely cured. But in March, new cases started emerging in India. My sister and I were in Bangalore. One thing led to another and I reached home in Kochi on 12th March while my sister reached on 14th March. Things weren’t smooth as you’d think. Before the lock-down was announced in India, Kerala had already begun its lock-down and the beginning of anything new has its fair share of problems.

Of all the people at home, when a calamity strikes, Dad knows what to do. He’ll freak out on a level, ten times worse than all of us put together, but he also knows what is to be done and he’ll do all of it and a million times more. Since my sister was coming home after a few cases had been reported in Bangalore, I was of the opinion that she had to be tested once she reached Kochi. At that point of time, we didn’t know the procedure. We were working on assumptions. So we agreed that as soon as her bus reached, I’ll contact the health care officials and ask them what had to be done.

The other thing you need to know about Dad is that, if you give him something to think about, he‘ll think it through to unbelievable proportions. While sometimes that is good, sometimes it isn’t. Ever since I mentioned about calling the health officials, he went into a trance. His eyes were unfocused , he was pulling at his mustache, a tell-tale sign that he was stressed, and the vein in his temple was bulging. I felt the wave of disagreement emanating from him. He didn’t like the idea even a bit!

“What happened, Dad?”

“I was just wondering if we’re blowing this out of proportion. She hasn’t had any contact with any patient.”

“Most likely, No. But we don’t know that for sure!”

“But if we go get her tested, then they’ll quarantine her.”

“I doubt that! They should ideally hospital quarantine her only if she is showing symptoms or if she has definitely come in contact with a positive tested person. Otherwise they’ll only suggest home quarantine.”

“Exactly! But they’ll quarantine us as well, as we have come in contact with her. Even worse, the whole apartment will be quarantined, all these people! No! The worst part is, they might throw us out of the apartment! Amma won’t be able to go to work, I won’t be able to go to work, you need to join for your new job in a week’s time, and that’ll be delayed and you might lose your job!”

“Oh my God! You are over thinking. Can you not see it?”

“No! You are blowing this out of proportions. We don’t have to involve the health officials. We will ensure that she doesn’t leave the house for the next 14 days. That will suffice!”

“Perhaps that’s what the family that came from Italy thought. Now see what has happened. Their relatives contracted the disease from them!”

“It’s not the same! They came from a country that has been badly infected. You want to get your sister tested just because she traveled!”

“All I’m saying is that they need to be informed. Many others might be doing this exact same thing as we speak!”

“I don’t think she has any way of contracting the disease and so I think you are just making a scene here!”

Well, initial days were a nightmare! It was confusion, paranoia, ignorance and what not! We were all clueless. The various stages, as the Covid-19 spread, brought out the best and worst in us and this was the micro version of what was happening in the society.

After the lock-down was declared on 24th, Dad went out one afternoon to purchase groceries and essentials for the household. He came back with 3 bags filled with, where-do-I-begin!? I am not going to list them all. But I’ll tell you that we had 2.5 Kgs of tomatoes to start with. He was definitely trying to help and sort his thoughts. We didn’t want to be condescending. Yet my sister decided to ask, “Wont all these vegetables get spoiled?”

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Empty Supermarkets due to Panic Buying | Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

 

“We’ll keep them in the refrigerator. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are closing borders. What if we don’t buy enough and then there’s no more supply? Besides, there are long queues in front of supermarkets and the Police is questioning people who leave the house. We really don’t know what tomorrow would bring!”

We started arranging all the supplies and soon learnt that we ran out of space in the refrigerator. The next two days involved brain storming on which vegetables had to go inside and which didn’t have to. The old cabbage stayed inside, while the new cabbage waited outside.

If one of us sneezed, Dad would take the effort of getting up from his bed and finding out who sneezed, peep into the room and say,

“That was one hell of a sneeze!” or, “The people next door will definitely come investigating who sneezed.”

Sometimes he’d keep tab of my sneezes and much much later, maybe during dinner, bring it up,

“Today Ranjini sneezed so frigging loudly! It was so loud!”

If I sniffed, he’d ask, “Do you have cold? Why are you sniffing?”

This went on for so long that I would suddenly wake up at night and panic because I thought that I wasn’t able to breathe, that I had somehow contracted coronavirus!

He would never let us go down.

“The association has decided that we throw the garbage in the allocated area on the terrace, as the designated staff won’t be coming.”  my mother said one day.

“I’ll do it! In the 7th floor, Arun’s son (name changed) has come from Dubai. So I’ll go upstairs. I’ll take the stairs. So many people would have used the elevator. It is not safe. Leave the door open.”

After he returned, he proudly announced.

“I did not touch the wall or the railing of the stairs. The terrace door was left open and I slid through, dumped the waste carefully and came back without touching anything!”

We looked at each other and smiled. He was doing this for us. But also because, he won’t be able to sleep properly if any of us went upstairs. He’ll always wonder if we touched the railing or the walls, or whether we washed our hands.

To be honest, we were all scared. We were scared for our Grandmother. We feared for Amma as she had to go for work and random people always walked into the bank. I was always careful about the food delivered by Zomato or Swiggy but you can only be so careful. It is important for people to understand the fine line between absurd paranioa and caution. I do not know where one ends and one begins. But who does? This was one of the many things we have been figuring out. Right?

Featured Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

 

One Day At a Time

Today I have a Guest Post on my blog. I have been giving you my point of view of Life in the time of Coronavirus. But I felt the need to include the views of a few other people during these times so that that you see the life during these days from more than one angle. Else it tends to get monotonous. So this is Devika, my sister, with her version of one very important aspect of Life in the time of Coronavirus. I couldn’t have put it better myself. If you’d like to read more from her, you can follow her on medium at Devika Krishnadas.

Dear internet footprint 🙂

I haven’t been able to work properly for a while. I keep blaming the terrible wifi connection and the restricted work-ability from my laptop. But the truth is that I’m just addicted to TikTok and my couch, and my mind isn’t feeling so good anymore. There’s just negativity all around me – Politics, death tolls, sad / troubled friends.

It was completely different until a week back. I was learning something new every weekend. One weekend I learned about Quantum Computing; another weekend I learned a bit more about Quantum Computing; during a holiday in between I read and analyzed the financial structures over the last couple of years. When I got a little too crazy, I enrolled for some classes in Udemy and finished it. This was all with work going on pretty well on the side.

But this week was different. I didn’t want to sleep at night, eat my meals or do my work. All I wanted to do was sink into whatever this blanket of cold was. I didn’t exactly know what was making me sad. To be honest this, pretty much is how life has been for me.

But this week I missed the cat I would’ve bought if I were back in Taiwan. I missed the coffee (and the Barista) at the Cafe in my office. I also missed how my back would feel seated on an ergonomic chair. Maybe it is that I let myself go a little too deep into the icy-cold dream-world and got lost on my way back; It was comforting to let go and wander for a bit, though. Somewhere deep inside I could hear my conscience saying that this was the most stupid decision I had ever made but the voice wasn’t getting any louder so I learned to ignore it. As the week progressed, I could see myself going deeper and deeper into the tunnel and the weight of this pressing right across my chest. It’s a rightly named body part – the chest. A super large wooden box used for storage. Whatever this weight was, it popped open the chest. There was a hurricane inside of me and I’m pretty sure no one could see it. But I’d been through this before. And the last time I went through this, I taught my brain to give out SOS signals, and that’s exactly what it did. I could see that I was neck deep in whatever this was and I had to get out. It was time for a rescue mission.


If you were playing a video game and you were in a need for resources, you’d use them. And you go up one level at a time. Same thing with life, sweetheart. Use your resources, and just go on with it one day at a time.

I’m halfway through my rescue mission right now. It’s okay to fall. It’s okay to stay there for a while. At the end of the day, we’re our own true warriors. And every thing and every person around us are resources we have at our disposal. Use them. Therapy is a resource, a supportive friend is a resource, a supportive family is a resource, money is a resource, food is a resource, a job is a resource, the internet is a resource, TikTok is a resource – Everything in this world that is at your disposal is a resource.

Image Courtesy – Alice Alinari on Unsplash

The Plight of Nurses, Doctors and Health-workers

Nurses are angels send by Gods. Doctors are considered equivalent to Gods because they bring lives into the world and they save lives from leaving. It is said that hospitals hear more prayers than Churches. Imagine the number of prayers the Gods heard during the past few months. And for once Nurses, Doctors and Health-workers were all collectively helpless while trying their best to do what they could. Especially in countries where the Coronavirus hit hard; China, USA, Italy, Spain etc the doctors have been reeling out of helplessness.

Do you know what the problem of our educational system has been? We have been taught to deal with questions that have predefined answers for a major part of our growing years, while life is nothing like that in reality. You need to find your own answers and you’ll never know if your answer was right.

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Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

 

I cannot begin to fathom the different kinds of cases that would have arrived at the hospitals. Imagine a situation where so many patients coming in at the same time that there aren’t enough medics or resources to attend to all those patients. The treatment cannot be given on first come first save basis for obvious reasons. The goals should be to save maximum number of lives within a short span. If there’s an 80 year old, a 35 year old and a child with premedical condition who are all gasping for breath and there’s only one ventilator, whom should they give it to? If a 90 year old is on ventilator and a much younger patient with a higher rate of survival is brought in, in a critical condition, do they deprive the 90 year old of the ventilator?

So who will it be; a person with underlying health condition or an old healthy person? How will you decide when the choice is between two risky cases? The people who spent years learning how to save lives, now have to pick and choose the lives they can save. While they save a life, they’re consciously letting someone die because they have no choice. Imagine, the pain going into making that choice.

In UK, the recovery area of a hospital has been transformed to deal with Covid-19 patients. In fact many parts of the hospital have been transformed and the medics have been seeing an in-flow of people like never before. The normal requirement for oxygen cylinders was way lesser than what was required as a result of Covid 19 and some of the hospitals were struggling to meet this demand.

The gears that the medics wear are extremely uncomfortable. They cannot wear it for more than 2-3 hours as they could get severe headaches, and their mouths go dry. In fact several doctors and nurses have shared the pictures of their scarred faces because the masks have been cutting deep into their skin. The gears are the only shields between them and the disease. We hear all kinds of news; in some places the quality of the gear given is poor, while in some places there are no gears available because the common people decided that they needed these gears to protect themselves from the virus. The shortage of gears is a genuine problem everywhere. In Kolkata, junior doctors were given raincoats to examine patients. In Haryana, several doctors refused to treat patients without getting enough safety equipment. Right now as I write this, India has close to 11,900 cases and if lack of equipment is an issue here, imagine the condition of countries with Lakhs of cases! [Source: India Today]

Chinese Nurses Share Pictures Of How Their Faces Look After ...
Image Courtesy: PD China

Life at home isn’t easy for these Doctors either. The ones who go home have made arrangements to not use the facilities that their family uses to ensure that their family isn’t at risk. Some live in their basements. They cannot get in close proximity with their children. There are others who choose not to go home and stay in the hospital facility. They cannot really differentiate between day and night. Some of them reach their rooms at the end of the day and just collapse. They wake up and then go back to saving lives. Imagine not knowing if you’ll ever go back to your family. Imagine not knowing when your loved ones will come back home. Imagine fearing for their lives as they save so many lives! The Doctors are literally nothing short of soldiers right now!

When a patient who is positive is quarantined, the families won’t be able to visit them. Depending upon the place and the case, sometimes a member is allowed to go in wearing the protective gear. But there are cases where the patients die without having their loved ones near them. Some nurses, knowing the value of human presence during the last moments, try to make their last moments easier for them by being with them. It isn’t practical always, as there are so many patients to be taken care of. But they try and all this takes an emotional toll on them.

It isn’t surprising when the nurses, doctors and health workers themselves go into panic attacks at times. It is only understandable. They worry about the patients, about their colleagues and the ones they Love. While we have a choice to stay at home and be safe, that is a luxury they don’t have. They have to go head on into the disease itself!

 

Featured Image Courtesy : Alarmy Photos

Migrant Workers and the Daily Wage Earners Facing the Brunt of Lock-Down

The news channels have been running stories on Coronavirus ever since, you know! Every other day, we have a new problem, a new number or something that adds to this Pandora’s box. For the most part of the day at home, the TV is switched on. Sometimes there’s a movie playing. Otherwise, it’s the news channel running a new ‘Breaking news’. After PM Modi announced the country-wide lock down, we had to deal not only with Coronavirus, but with some really complicated issues over the next few days.

India has lots of workers who move from rural areas to the Urban areas in search of jobs. The requirements of these migrant workers are mostly in, but not limited to the construction sector, domestic work, textile, brick kiln, mines and quarries, and agriculture. PM Modi’s announcement gave only 4 hours of notice for the nation. Most of the people who were away from their families couldn’t do anything to get back to them. These are scary times and when there’s a disease doing the rounds, you want to be with your family!

The migrant workers from other States all over the country were stranded. Some of them had booked train tickets for or after 25th and now they couldn’t go home because all the trains had been cancelled. Due to the lock-down, they didn’t have work, they couldn’t go home, a virus was wreaking havoc and they didn’t even know when they could meet their family. Many of them were seen walking to their villages; we are talking about people who are thousands of miles away from their homes. Some of them dropped dead due to weakness and hunger. With no restaurants or transportation, it would be impossible for them to reach their villages safely. These people aren’t as susceptible to die from virus as they’re from hunger. No arrangements had been made by the Government for those who survived on daily wages.

Following this, the UP government arranged buses to carry the stranded migrant workers home. On the said day, thousands of these workers were flocking in Delhi bus stand. The irony being, a scenario such as this wherein a huge number of people come together is what the government wanted to avoid in the first place. In my opinion, a sudden lock-down was the need of the hour. If say, a 48 hours’ notice was given, even the privileged among us would have decided to run to our homes when it wasn’t an absolute necessity. This would have aggravated the spread of virus. However, it could have been better planned and implemented so as to make the lives of daily wage earners easier. Eventually, no plan would be perfect. There will always be a portion of these people who’d have just walked home. But through planning, a lot of suffering and confusion could have been reduced.

In Kerala, lots of migrant workers took to the streets in Paippad, Kottayam district, defying the lock-down as they wanted to go home. The Police tried to calm the crowd and begged them to disperse as forming groups during these times were extremely dangerous. Since UP Government had arranged buses for the migrant workers, they expected the same from Kerala which wasn’t practical or safe. Most of these laborers were from Assam and West Bengal, and Kerala being the Southern-most state, is miles away unlike UP. The crowd dispersed after they were promised free food and accommodation.

Sudden protest by migrant workers in Kerala over food ...
Image Source

While their plight is understandable, a protest like this is careless on so many levels as the whole country is trying to avoid contact between people and these workers are doing precisely that! A vile way to get what they want, while risking thousands of lives. The protests resurfaced again as the workers weren’t satisfied with the food provided. They wanted North Indian food and this was agreed as well. I have stayed in PGs and Hostels. I paid for my food and even then, I have never complained about the menu. I never demanded for my regional food.

People might argue that they have the right to ask for what they want. But I understand that this is a crisis – one that could kill everyone of us. The Government and the essential services are risking their lives to fight it. There are other daily wage earners who don’t even have this option and HAVE to find work somehow lest they die of hunger. That’s not the case with these migrant workers. Their every demand has been met and they are getting free food and accommodation while all they are being asked is to stay put.  Even after this, if they are causing trouble about food, it either means that they lack the common sense to understand the seriousness of the situation or there’s something else at play!

Featured Image Courtesy – Frontline

The Lock-down and What Came With it

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on 24th Mar 2020 at 8 PM addressed the country. The headlines read,

“Country to be in complete lock-down for the next 21 days starting 12AM tonight”

By 25th Mar 2020 The number of Coronavirus cases in India had exceeded 600 with 70 plus cases reported in one day. We did see the lock-down coming. Or at least we internally hoped for this. Considering the population in India, if the virus spread uncontrollably, the country would definitely go down. Needless to say, the decision had been well accepted and it was the need of the hour.

However, there’s always a section of people that’ll suffer. We had various levels of sufferance; the essential sector was battling to save the people tirelessly, the daily wage earners and migrant workers were suddenly jobless, homeless and they couldn’t even go to their family as the trains were cancelled. As beverage corp closed down, suicides of extreme  alcohol addicts were increasing. The migrant workers began protesting while others began to walk to their homes which were hundreds of miles away and some of them died due to exhaustion and hunger. Meanwhile at homes, the cases of domestic violence increased as people were stuck at home , disagreements became more frequent and so did the associated violence.

Let me tell how things are currently where I am:

More than one person cannot be seen traveling. If you want to buy anything, you go alone. The Police are patrolling the streets everywhere. They stop every vehicle and ask where they are going. If they are from the essential services’ sector, they let them go.

My mother works in SBI. One day my mother came home and told us that within a distance of 8 Kms, she was stopped 6 times and asked where she was going. She’d show her badge and they’ll let her pass. Imagine the number of people that have been put to work if she found 6 of them within 8 Kms. Imagine having to stop every person and ask where they are going! They are doing a wonderful job and I have immense respect for them for having been this thorough.

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The Police doing their job during the lock-down in spite of a downpour

It is frustrating and at times even funny, the kind of reasons people give if the Police questioned them. One guy said he wanted to buy a needle while another lied about a funeral he had to attend. By the end of the week, the Police had confiscated hundreds of keys of people who were found roaming around unnecessarily and people were beginning to understand the gravity of the situation.

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The Police giving masks to people traveling without them

The above pictures are from the official Instagram Page of Kerala Police. I have been following them for a while and it is heart warming to see how active they are on social media trying to knock some sense onto people’s heads through so many creative ways.

Dad went to the supermarket. He told us that only 7 people were allowed inside the supermarket at a time and I thought to myself what a wonderful system that was. It ensured that there was minimal contact between the people who were inside. There really wasn’t many supplies for you to choose from and so people didn’t really take much time inside. Even then, people had to wait in long queues outside the supermarket. It took about 2.5 hours for my father to come back with the groceries.

This doesn’t mean people obey and stay indoors. There is still the problem faced by the daily wage earners who don’t have any source of living and cannot just stay at home. They either have to die of the virus or hunger and this system is unfair to them. They have to leave their homes and find a way to earn and in the process, people like me who are privileged sit at home and blame them. There’s the other category; privileged and insensitive. They can stay at home, but decide to just roam around for the heck of it.

Initially, people did enjoy the time with the families but gradually it started getting hold of them. After about a month, I noticed that I myself was frustrated, not having left the house for days. Your own mind starts to get to you. everything that was once interesting stops being so; even TV series. I have watched more Web series now more than ever and I realized yesterday that it wasn’t even interesting anymore. A state of laziness, lethargy, lack of accomplishment, the dread of what could happen when all of this ends are few of the many feelings I’ve been going through. It’s not just me. Someone was telling me that they felt suffocated.

The lock-down was supposed to end on 14th Apr 2020 (tomorrow). But the Nizamuddin event ensured that it didn’t. As of today (13th apr 2020), the Coronavirus cases have exceeded 9000 in India. Remember! This is after 21 days of lock-down. I shudder to think what would have happened if the lock-down hadn’t been declared when it was. And since the cases have been increasing rapidly, the lock-down has been extended for two more weeks.

Definitely not a happy news. But we all know that it is necessary. And even if we need to deal with ourselves, we are willing to stay in. Let me add one more thing. I know that it is worse for so many out there while I complain about being stuck at home. I am aware of my privileges. But while we talk of struggles at physical level, the mental struggles differ from person to person. You can easily see the privileges or the physical struggles of people, but you’ll never know whose mental struggle is worse. Nothing gives people the right to invalidate one’s struggles.

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I don’t know who made this. But it’s a screenshot from the handle you can see. And I know people need to see this.

So if you are trying to just stay afloat, not doing anything productive, eating that pudding because it keeps you sane, not willing to talk to anyone, you are still doing a wonderful job of holding yourself together. You don’t have to be a master-chef, paint, sing or learn anything new just because so many others can. Don’t beat yourself up. You only need to be.

Kerala Government – Alcohol Fixes and Border Tiffs

A couple of days into the lockdown that was announced by the Central Government, some strange but not unforeseen factors of the lock-down began to surface. Of all those, Kerala Government had to deal with two extremely ridiculous, but important issues!

Suicides of Alcohol addicts.

Even as the State had announced a lock-down much before the Central Government, the beverage outlets hadn’t been closed down. They did have a lot of pressure to do so. But the Kerala Government tried to keep it open as long as possible not only because it was a major source of revenue, but also because the lack of supply could cause other issues. Keralites are known to be tanker lorries when it comes to consuming alcohol. Hence it shouldn’t have been shocking to see that people were committing suicide for want of alcohol. As of 29th Mar 2020, there were 9 deaths in the state; 7 suicides, 1 cardiac arrest and 1 case of having drunk aftershave lotion (Source:news18).

Following this, the CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that people who were suffering from withdrawal symptoms, could approach government hospitals and obtain a prescription from a doctor stating that the patient was having withdrawal symptoms. This along-with certain other documents could submitted to the excise department, who will then give a pass to the patient. This pass can be shown to the beverage corporation who’ll then provide limited quantities of liquor. Tipplers (someone who often drinks alcohol) were also being urged to approach de-addiction centers. (Source: Business today)

Here is an excerpt from News18.com:

“According to the Kerala Mental Health Survey, 2018, there are about 50,000 men suffering from alcohol-related problems. Moreover, nearly 10,000 to 15,000 of them may develop serious problems like alcohol withdrawal fits, hallucinations and depression. The number of deaths in a couple of days endorses the projections available from the survey,” said Dr CJ John, a senior psychiatrist.

Indian Medical Association and the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) are against the idea of prescribing alcohol as it is unscientific. Alcohol isn’t a medicine and a liquor prescription could result in cancellation the Doctor’s license.

Death Due to Closing Down of Borders

The other disturbing issue the Kerala Government had to face was when the Karnataka closed the border on the Kasargod side of Kerala. The move is understandable as the Coronavirus cases in Kasargod have been high. A State has to protect its people.

Mangalore is a medical hub. When you have a city with multiple hospitals and top notch facilities, the neighbouring towns and villages will all be dependant on that city for medical emergencies irrespective of whether the city is in another State. That is how it has been for the residents of Kasargod. Being bordering States, Mangalore depends upon Kasargod for their medical staff and Kasargod depends upon Mangalore for their medical facilities.

When the lock-down was imposed, Karnataka government dumped a mound of mud at the border to stop the vehicles from Kerala. A kidney patient was being treated in a hospital in Kasargod. When his conditional worsened, the hospital discharged him and referred to a hospital in Mangalore. The Karnataka police didn’t let them through and he died on his way back. With each medical emergency, the Karnataka Police didn’t let the ambulances go through and 3 patients succumbed on their way back or soon after, while a woman had to give birth in the ambulance.

The deaths weren’t due to Coronavirus. The deaths were sacrifices so that Coronavirus didn’t spread to anyone in Karnataka. I completely understand why the roads are blocked, but I don’t understand how why we can’t bend rules if we’re discussing a case of life and death! How about letting in only the critical cases through the border? Ensure that they’re isolated (To keep Coronavirus at bay in case they have it), and ive them the treatment they came for (with all the precautions taken by doctors; gear et al). Meanwhile collect their samples and in three days, you’ll know if they have the virus while saving their lives. I am not a government official or a medic. This was an off the top of the head solution and while there maybe flaws here, I know for a fact that a solution can be found instead of just letting people die!

While this is an action Karnataka could have taken in the beginning, after much requests from the part of Kerala CM, an agreement was reached between the two states. Karnataka will let non-Covid patients through the checkpost provided they submit the relevant papers and only one attendant will be given entry with the patient. It certainly is an improvement compared to the earlier scenario.

But it makes me wonder why there’s always a lack of harmony between neighbours. When I look at the South Indian States alone, I keep seeing an underlying hatred between all of them and scenarios like these seem a bit too insensitive to me.

Sources: Economic Times, Indian Express

Is Your Idea of Religion Right, if it puts Life in Jeopardy?

I have to begin this post clarifying that I am not questioning religions. I am questioning your idea or understanding of your religion and even though I mention only a few scenarios, the question is for each of us who believe in our own version of our religions.

Is Your Idea of Religion Right, if it puts Life in Jeopardy? Say you are following your scriptures verbatim. But that causes a certain inconvenience to another. Does that please your God? Simply put, you went to your temple of worship because of your idea of your Religion, but you ended up spreading Coronavirus to all the worshipers there. You didn’t know that you were sick, but you knew that the virus was doing its rounds and the people were being advised to stay at home. How would you justify that?

Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat conducted an Event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in March. People from different countries attended this event and once it ended, many of those who attended it, decided to stay on, including some foreigners. We need to remember that by March, the situation all over the world had worsened.  And so conducting an event that involved the participation of people from foreign countries was a grossly negligent move specially when Indians themselves who came from abroad were being quarantined!

I do not see the point in fighting amidst each other, or blaming a particular religion for this mishap. Clearly the head of the sect Tablighi Jamaat is the first one to be answerable, followed by every person who attended it. They as individuals made a conscious choice to get together amidst the chaos when it was not advisable. No excuses that is being circulated on the internet could justify the event.

Initially Maharashtra and Kerala reported the highest number of cases mostly because of Indians who came from abroad. But over the last few days Delhi, Telangana and Tamil Nadu showed spikes in their Coronavirus cases along-with the former 2 states because of the Tablighi Jamat event. With the help of data released by various States and UTs, it is believed that around 8000 people have been to the group’s headquarters in Nizamuddin area. The participants are being identified and the contact tracing has been in progress. The event and the resulting chaos have infuriated the people and the authorities equally. While the Central Government and the respective State Governments have been trying to find methods to control the situation, the people as usual have sought to ‘resolve’ the matter by fighting, name calling and turning this into a religious agenda.

Because of the event, the positive cases in India doubled in just 4 days. As per the Health Ministry, if not for the event, the number would have doubled only in 7.4 days. The Markaz Chief Maulana Saad is under self quarantine and once the time frame ends, he will be questioned by the Delhi Police.

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Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash

Meanwhile, I came across a video released by CNN wherein people who have been to Church are being asked why they aren’t staying at home. Here are some alarming answers:

“I’m covered in Jesus’s blood. All these people go to this church. I go to the grocery store every day, all those people, they could get me sick, but I am not. Because I am covered in Jesus’s blood”

“The blood of Jesus cures every disease : Psalms 91. Read it!”

Here’s the video:

These are a bunch of people who have made up their minds that nothing will happen to them, that they are miraculously covered in Jesus’s blood and we do have a Pastor who ‘would know’ if somebody is sick while even the medics are in a helpless state. It is funny how beliefs could make people insensitive to suffering. They don’t understand that their liberty could kill people or worse, make them suffer. Please remember that these videos are from the worst hit place as of now (11th Apr 2020); USA with over 5 lakhs positive cases.

I believe Religion, among other things, make life meaningful for humans. When you are going through the toughest times, you turn to your faith and search for answers. No Religion ever asks you to cause harm. But the irony is that in the above cases, people have used their Religion to cause harm and they aren’t even aware of it! We are creatures with such good powers of discrimination and yet we are easily fooled.

Every time I think of how easily our world could crumble, I freak out! The odds are scary. There are a million ways the disease could spread but only one way to stop it.


Featured Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Interesting Web Series to Watch During Lockdown

For today’s post I decided to keep aside the Covid-19 stories and make a list of Web Series  to watch during the lock-down. I asked my friends on my Instagram page for recommendations and I sure did get a long list. The post is divided into two parts: Recommendation based on what I have watched and the popular recommendations that I haven’t watched. I’m assuming that you’ve all watched or have heard of FRIENDS Sitcom and so I’m not going there. Just WATCH IT!!! if you haven’t:

BEST WEB SERIES TO WATCH DURING THE LOCK-DOWN (PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION)

  1. The Goodplace – Netflix – Comedy, Afterlife. Though it seemed a little lame and boring at first, it picks up pace and before you know it, you are hooked! It begins with a woman who has died and come to heaven, which is The Good Place. But apparently, there has been a mistake (Oops!). There are moments in the show when we get to see the tiny and silly aspects of being human as narrated by the Character ‘Michael’. You should definitely give it a watch if you’re looking for something light-hearted and meaningful at the same time.

    WhatsApp Image 2020-04-09 at 11.36.33 PM.jpeg
    The Good Place
  2. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Netflix – I love fantasy, magic and witches. But even so,  I began watching it only for the pretty lead character Kiernan Shipka who strikingly resembles Emma Watson and soon I couldn’t stop watching the show. It begins with Sabrina – A half witch half human – turning sixteen, an important milestone in her life. She has decisions to make, discover her power and her true backstory. Intriguing, hooking and it does have a little bit of a Harry Potter vibe to it! 😉

    See the new trailer for 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' season 3 ...
    The Resemblance of Kiernan Shipka with Emma Watson is uncanny!
  3. Locke & Key – Netflix – As my thirst for magic only increased with the earlier one, I started watching Locke & Key. It is about a house with hidden Keys that whispers out to their safe keepers. These keys have powers and if used in the right keyholes, they reveal their powers. If these keys fell into the wrong hands, they would be the mightiest weapons and as you’d have guessed, there are dark forces looking for them. Though the story telling was slightly raw and quick paced, I liked it for the mystery in it. If you’re looking for some magical web series to watch during the lock-down, I have given you enough!
  4. Big Bang Theory – Netflix – I know that Big Bang Theory isn’t for everyone. But I can assure you that more people than you think will like this show because you don’t really have to know science to understand it. All you need to focus is on the characters and you’ll start falling for the way each of them grow over time. I fell for the character arc. Unlike shows like Game of Thrones and How I Met Your Mother, this one ended on a beautiful and overwhelming note. I’d definitely recommend it if you have the patience to understand the characters.
  5. Made in Heaven – Prime – Drama (Hindi) –  Every episode of this series takes us to different weddings that a Wedding Planner handles and so, we are told the stories of various families, and the problems that they face during the weddings. The constant characters are the wedding planners and we see glimpses of their personal lives too. For me, the theme is fresh. While the tiny stories within are our same old Indian stories, they have been made more realistic and have been executed so very well.
    Prime Video: Made In Heaven - Season 1
  6. Family Man – Prime – Action, Drama (Hindi) – Yet another quick paced one from India. I was majorly impressed with the cast, the character development and the story telling in this. I must admit that I have a soft corner for this series because it featured Malayalam actors too (Neeraj Madhav and Dinesh Prabhakar). But even if it were played by someone else, I’d have felt the same way about the series.

  7. The I-Land – Netflix – Survival, Science Fiction, Thriller – Please don’t go by the rating. Just start watching and you’ll be hooked! It is a single season, 7 Episode mini series that begins with people waking up in a strange island with no memories of anything whatsoever. It’s a fast paced, edge of the seat watch. Just begin! That’s all you need to do!

These are my top recommendations. Now I’ll list all the recommendations I received. These are from around 40 of my friends which means each of them must have suggested what they thought to be the best. I’ll list them on the basis of Streaming Platforms.

BEST NETFLIX SERIES TO WATCH (POPULAR OPINION)

  • Money Heist – “About a heist, planned robbery, investigation ” This one had the most number of talkers. I got long messages as to why they were hooked to it and when I expressed my doubts about why I may not like it, I was admonished by plenty of people.
  • Dark (German) – Thriller, Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural. I started watching this German series and I’m into the 3rd episode. It’s really spooky but also a little slow. I can bear the pace as the build up they’ve given is worth the time.
  • Sex Education – Highschool, Coming of age. I was told that they’ve handled the theme of sex education really well. I am looking forward to watching it.
  • Unbelievable – Rape Investigation
  • Mindhunter – Based on true events in  70s FBI Behavioral Science Unit
  • The 100 – Space, survival and sci-fi – 5-6 seasons
  • Chambers – Horror and mystery – 1 season
  • Riverdale – Highschool drama, mystery, based on Archie comic characters – 4 seasons The mist – Based on Stephen hawking novel –  1 season
  • The Rain – Man induced disaster – 2 seasons
  • She
  • Ozark
  • Taj Mahal 1989
  • Sense 8
  • Altered carbon
  • That 70s Show
  • Peaky Blinders
  • The Witcher
  • Pandemic
  • Lost in Space

BEST WEB SERIES TO WATCH IN AMAZON PRIME

  • Fleabag  – Quick paced and dark humor
  • The Boys –  Superhero fiction, dark comedy, Thriller, Action fiction
  • CSI – Crime Scene Investigation
  • Breathe

BEST WEB SERIES TO WATCH IN HOTSTAR

  • Luther -Crime film, suspense, drama, police procedural, psychological thriller
  • Killing Eve
  • Chernobyl

I know that this is a huge list of Web series! You must be thinking that it contains every show on Netflix. Trust me! It doesn’t. I have seen quite a few crappy shows in there. So I think you’re safe. I’d suggest that you start with The i-land if you haven’t watched it already and then find your way through this list.  I hope they keep you sane during the lock-down.

Meanwhile, please let me know your one favorite TV show along with why that is so and where I can watch it. If it’s magic and fantasy, then perfect! No Horror, please!

 


This post is a part of April A2Z Challenge 2020 with Blogchatter. Every day of April, I will be publishing one post on the Theme, ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’. If you like my writings, you can also follow me on Instagram at @afew.handpickedthings.


A Few Handpicked Things doesn’t claim ownership to any of the images used in this post. They all belong to the respective makers.

Home Coming and Hugs

My sister joined her first job at Google in Oct 2019. Following the Chinese New Year Holidays, she came home in Jan and soon after that, the world was rapidly reporting cases of Coronavirus. Flights were being cancelled, China was reeling under the virus attack and we decided that her going back wasn’t an option. After lots of confusions and a few meetings, she got permission to work from Bangalore Google office. I was working in Bangalore too and so she came to stay with me.

Meanwhile, I had been attending interviews and finally landed a new job. My life was crazy for a couple of months. The work pressure, the pressure of not really enjoying the work anymore, the pressure of attending interviews every other day while ensuring that I was performing my duties well at work, had all gotten me into a state of frenzy. On 11th Mar, I shifted my house from one end of Bangalore to the other, and moved closer to my new workplace. The whole shifting and arranging got me so exhausted and with my old job almost wrapped up, I decided to go to my hometown, Kochi, to be with my family. By then India had quite a few cases of Coronavirus and the rest of the world was going crazy.

I remember my journey home. I was paranoid. I had booked a sleeper bus.  I normally carry my own bed sheet as I have dust allergy and the sheets in buses and trains are always so dusty. I spread my bed sheet on the sleeper. I woke up every few hours panicking because the sheet had moved and I had come in contact with the bed and hence, Coronavirus! Great! Now, I was exhausted from all the work AND paranoid! Finally I told myself that the panic wasn’t going to stop me from contracting the virus, so I might as well go to sleep.

As I reached home, my grandmother was pleasantly shocked to see me. I hadn’t really informed her that I was going home as it was a last minute decision. She stared at me for a while as though trying to comprehend and said,

“You keep fooling me in the name of surprising me. Come here!”, she extended her hands for a hug. I remember that moment so vividly. She had just gotten up, her eyes were sleepy, her silver hair disheveled, her naughty smile playing on her lips, clearly happy that her granddaughter was home and she stood there like a baby, asking for a hug. I didn’t hug her.

“I have traveled for long and it is risky.” I said my heart heavy while I badly wanting to hug her and she understood.

Meanwhile, my sister called me up that very same day and told me that a person at her work place who had returned from Greece, was tested positive and that the company had asked everyone to work from home. She knew that it was easier telling me than telling our parents, as they’d panic. It was a confusing ten minutes. To be clear, my sister did not have any contact with the guy as he was on a different floor and he was in office only for 2 hours after he came back from Greece and she hadn’t gone to office that day. The chances that she or anyone else (apart from the ones in direct contact with him) contracted the virus were almost zero.

She had two choices: Either to come home and stay in quarantine or to just stay in Bangalore. But her room did not have any cooking facility and we worried that there might come a point where she wouldn’t get anything to eat. Besides, we believed in Kerala government’s crisis control mechanisms better than anyone else. I’m not putting any State down here. Through various crisis over the years – be it Nipah or floods – we have seen the efficiency and we just believe more in the Government. So we asked her to come home immediately. To be on the safer side, we dropped my 86 year old Grandmother at my Uncle’s place before my sister came home because travel from Bangalore had its risks too.

The plan was that once my sister reached Kochi, I’ll take her to the hospital, get her tested and then go home (or be quarantined if that becomes necessary). At that point of time, we didn’t know anything about testing for Coronavirus. We assumed that if we had any doubts, we could just go and get ourselves tested.

But soon we found out that it didn’t work that way. As there were very few cases back then, all monitored by the Health officials, the people traveling between states were asked to quarantine themselves at home. However all were required to inform the Health officials if they traveled between States. Only if they showed any symptoms would they be tested. And thus started our long days of home quarantine because it was necessary, it was the right thing to do and if we all did it right, we’d soon win over the virus. But it wasn’t that easy, was it?

quarantineweb
Image Courtesy

It has been 28 days since we dropped Ammamma off at Uncle’s place. I haven’t hugged her yet. I am beginning to miss her warm, cosy hug that smells of Vicco cream and Mysore sandal soap. I never considered myself to be a hugs person. But now, there’s nothing more I want than to see her and hug her.

 


This post is a part of April A2Z Challenge 2020 with Blogchatter. Every day of April, I will be publishing one post on the Theme, ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’. If you like my writings, you can also follow me on Instagram at @afew.handpickedthings.

Featured Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

 

Go Corona, Corona Go!!! Some Funny Covidiotic Moments.

Covidiot (noun) – Someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety.
A person who hoards goods, denying them from their neighbors.
“Did you see that covidiot with 300 rolls of toilet paper in his basket?”
Source: Urban Dictionary

As Covid 19 majorly spread across countries, this was a new word coined as it was need of the hour! We must admit. The world has all kinds of people and India has slightly genetically modified version of all kinds of people. We have the front-line soldiers – the medics – fighting the virus. We have the police still monitoring the streets. There is a huge list of people doing their best to fight the virus. There are people like me who haven’t left our homes for three weeks. There are millions of unprivileged souls suffering in the streets. There are people I had mentioned in my earlier post, doing their fair share to remain safe; drinking cow urine, alcohol, bathing in cow dung, doing the 10 seconds holding the breath test. But, we do have more!

How can the story of Pandemic be complete without emphasizing on some really interesting endeavors on the part of the people to get rid of Corona?

“Corona Go! Corona Go! Go Corona! Go Corona!”

This is minister Ramdas Athawale at a prayer meeting chanting ‘Corona Go’ while the people around him repeat after him. Amidst the memes and backlash that followed, there was one comment that cracked me up and left me bewildered at the same time. It said, “Why is he cheering the Coronavirus!?” I mean, I do believe in vibrations and universe listening to us, but what if the Universe decides to take it in that sense and just encourages the virus?

Anyhow, the slogan did become catchy soon. Not in the way the minister hoped, but more like a Honey Singh song; meaningless mostly and a mockery of sorts against a section of the society that is actually trying to do something helpful during these times.

Meanwhile The Prime Minister urged all Indians to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Health workers in the country by either clapping hands or banging plates at 5 PM on 22nd Mar 2020. While many questioned the purpose of this, people left us spell-bound with their sheer covidiocy. Videos of people thronging the roads dancing and banging vessels and drums were doing the rounds after 22nd.

This was followed by the PM’s next announcement in less than two weeks. This time, the instructions were simple and it really couldn’t have gone wrong. On 5th Apr 2020 at 9 PM, all of us had to switch off the lights for 9 minutes and light lamps. Ahh! We are Indians and lighting lamps or candles are religiously followed in most Hindu/Christian households during evening prayers. We just need to do the same thing at 9 PM. Easy right? Nooooooooo!

While the TV channels were busy covering how the entire nation so beautifully came together in unison to switch of electric lights and light lamps, Whatsapp was having a field day sharing – come on! You can guess it! – people dancing on the streets with candles and torches, and sending out fireworks. A thatched hut in Jaipur caught fire after a stray firecracker fell on it. We are suffering from a huge case of Dennis the Menace and while the whole world is burning down you can’t help but laugh at the group you’re stuck with!

A Building in Vaishali, Jaipur on fire as a stray fire-cracker fell on a hut next to it! Image Courtesy

Oh! All of these activities did have “Go Corona! Corona Go!” in the background. Now you know why BGMs make things more fun!

By now, we had our new set of jokes ready and can’t help but appreciate how close to reality this one was. The whole scenario is like a case of Big Boss. We Indians are all stuck at home and The Big Boss – in this case Modiji – appears, gives us tasks and leaves. I made one too. The Challenge given by Modiji was to light lamps. What you see above is the tiktok version. 😛 Not the best joke, but still good because it has tiktok in it!

Meanwhile, more serious plans were brewing to kill Coronavirus. Seriously! Not joking! In Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, after asking the migrant workers to close their eyes and mouth and also of their children’s, fire department officials were seen spraying disinfectants on the migrant workers. As per Bareilly’s district magistrate, “The officials were asked to sanitize the buses but in their enthusiasm they sprayed the workers too.” You really need one hell of an enthusiasm to be able to simply spray chemicals on people! I’d love me a bottle of that enthusiasm for my dull days. Well, needless to say, the twitterati had a field day.

We have been talking about making Coronavirus ‘Go’. But now, for a minute let’s not think of asking it to leave. What? But why? Well, because some artsy people are making coronavirus themed art work and selling them on Etsy! Not artwork related to coronavirus, but the virus itself! From coronavirus crochet work to plushies, apparently there is a supply of artifacts that has the face of the current apocalypse. Now let me ask the question I have feared to ask. Who’s taking them home willingly?

Baby Coronavirus Amigurumi  Made To Order image 0
Here’s Coronavirus Amigurumi for You! You can buy this if you click that link. Really!

Note: Here’s my opinion on PM Modi’s tasks. It’s like in your office, your HR asking you to wear same color clothes on a random day. I don’t see the point. But I’ll do it because if I don’t, I’ll be dampening the spirits. Besides, it is a harmless activity. That was me. I understand it is important to be together, keep up the morale, encourage the front-line soldiers yada yada, but let us look at the reality! I have a hundred questions!

Are the health care officials getting safe gears? Are they given enough care? As long as I see, mobs are attacking them, they are being shunned from their societies due to fear of infection, and in Mumbai a hospital has been shut down because the health care officials themselves have fallen sick. Why is that? Wasn’t the gear good enough? Are they being tested for frequently? Is the vessel banging and lamp lighting a joke to the people? If so, is it serving the purpose of bringing positivity and encouragement or is it giving an opportunity for the people to dance in the streets? Is the cost outweighing the benefits?

Sometimes it isn’t just about questioning the Government. It is also about seeking answers. The answer staring at my face right now is that we have made a big joke out of this disaster!

So tell me this. If you could get rid of the virus in either ways, will you rather bring a Coronavirus shaped keychain home or chant “Go corona! Corona Go!” throughout the day and dance?


This post is a part of April A2Z Challenge 2020 with Blogchatter. Every day of April, I will be publishing one post on the Theme, ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’. If you like my writings, you can also follow me on Instagram at @afew.handpickedthings.

Featured Image was a forward received on Whatsapp and so the owner is untraceable.