I heard the ding-dong of the door bell. Sartled as I was to hear it after 6 months. Several questions came to my mind. Was the husband available to answer it. The last I had registered his presence, he was doing the dishes – hence in the kitchen. Would probably take a couple of seconds before he could spring to the door before the little one reached there. But then, I recalled the little one last perched on the sofa right in front of the entrance door. The safety door was all that was there between her and a virus-exuding body.

Yes, that’s how I have started feeling- people exude viruses. This is what social distancing has done to me- I imagine that cartoon character from comics I read at an impressionable age, who had to be presented with flies floating around its being just to denote the dirt and smell around him. That’s exactly the image I have of outsiders who make a visit to our home- the virus is spread around them like an aura. Of course, I haven’t found a spray that provides the guarantee for killing air borne viruses (the way soap and water have for the physical body) and UV still has enough research pending on efficacy. We will let them focus on that once they have figured some version of a vaccine. Hence, until then, I will only move around with a mask in the vicinity of the areas visited by the virus-exuding-stranger for a duration of at least two hours- coz the virus should hopefully have dropped/ fallen dead by then.

Anyways, long story short- I was very sure the little one would have sprung into action reaching the door much faster than the older male massaging the dishes. But then, I had for a split second forgotten that the younger one being my progeny probably would dash in the other direction at the sight of a visitor at the door. The question still remained- who dare come to my door unrequited when I had isolated our entire floor with strict instructions to staff -personal and society- to not venture without prior permission! Who dare disobey- maybe it was the authorities- on another mission I was able to fathom. Anything can be justified in a pandemic you see. Heart palpitating, I decided to focus on my meditation.

Yes all the above thought process did span during my precious meditating minutes. You see they say the brain is sharper with the practice. Acute may be the right word. Anyways, hoping for divine intervention, and keeping my ears cocked for sounds emanating from the living room, I decided to focus on the task at hand.

There it was again! The ding-dong… now what I haven’t mentioned is that this sound as I remembered from times prior to the “new normal” was of a mechanical door bell which (with the sharpness of the practice I was undertaking), it struck me was different from the electronic door bell we had. So now the question that bothered my mind (note that one can really sort it all out via this important practice- unperturbed as you are in a corner of the household) was on whether we had a mechanical door bell along with an electronic one? I mean it was not that long ago that I had experienced folks ringing the door bell unabashedly so how could I forget what we had.

It used to be like I was the protagonist of “for whom the bells toll”- though I must acknowledge other than learning it for the precious subject of GK (General Knowledge) in Books and Authors, I have not had the inclination to go beyond the preface of the novel. But the title seems so apt. I mean you should have heard the senior in the house talking about her experience when she had to single-handedly manage the household that employs a staff of six -to manage four- besides undertaking services of another five on a daily basis (a.k.a, newspaper vendor, car cleaner, milkman, etc. etc.).

The house to her seemed akin to a Hindu temple where the ringing of the bell – frequency and decibel being directly proportional to your faith in the divine. Of course, decibel was not a choice at our place- having electronically controlled it- but frequency was a matter of much irritation interrupting as it was in the daily routine especially with the expectation that the trigger happy had, of a sprightly individual at the doorstep the minute they had pressed the call button!

Anyways, so as the quest for figuring who it was and why, besides else, continued- it finally dawned on me- this was not my doorbell! It was emanating from that unmuted participant on the Zoom call I was on! Gosh, what an uncanny resemblance to real life it was- especially when one’s eyes are closed and visuals of a harried participant muting or showing strange visuals as they moved themselves to walk away (of course, to answer the door bell) were not available! It was my first, because you see much as I am inclined to – I do not, or let’s say, am unable to dose off on a Zoom call- even with the video off- so only hearing without seeing was not an experience I had thus far indulged in!

Clearly the participant in question was quite focused on the task at hand, else why would the door bell have rung twice- right? A matter of learning for me. Luckily for me, my mind decided to not pursue the matter to any great extent thereafter.

But it did remind me of the time when in the middle of a preparatory discussion on a Leadership talk, my friend’s seven year old daughter popped in with a Hi.. and if that was not enough with a view of her favourite toy, her doll, in the middle of the latter’s wardrobe malfunction routine as it seemed! Much as we couldn’t help smiling on the very dynamic screen presence, the nightmare of a similar incident occurring during the live telecast of the event, lingered on my mind!

Possibilities imagined, memories re-lived, agonizing complete- I decided to focus on the task at hand! Remember- I was in the middle of some very precious minutes of… like a wise teacher once told me, “the mind has a mind of its own”!