Lockdown began … and I couldn’t be more elated… - Happy HO

In fact I couldn’t understand (and maybe still don’t) what was so depressing for everyone…  yes it did take some effort to get used to not being able to leave your floor (thankfully we had the whole floor to ourselves with a lovely balcony and also a terrace garden!)

People were wondering how they would manage living without leaving their homes. Other than the above concessions, I wondered why it was so difficult. Firstly there was so much to do at home ourselves … secondly, it was the amazing opportunity (though a forced one) to not be bothered about people entering and exiting your house and being around just when you wanted some peace of mind. Nothing that you left at a place would move unless you moved it.. you could cook what you wanted and how you wanted and when you wanted! You could do what you wanted, when you wanted and how you wanted- and that including everything from day time naps to dressing to décor (which otherwise had to be explained for it to remain the way you envisaged and not something the maid thought looked prettier!

I do understand there was a flip side- that meant that things would be exactly where they were left, much as you desired for someone to put it back (not everybody seems to be bothered by a place for everything and everything in its place), the beds would need to be done, the dust need to be wiped, etc. etc.. On cooking- it meant one had to wash and chop oneself for all the pleasures of being a chef.. But so what.. it was all worth it. Almost like an exciting new journey.. an adventure. One would discover what one was capable of and not necessarily dependent on others for!

4 months into it… it no longer seems so enlightening… unless planned the day before and washed and chopped … I am hamstrung on how much one needs to cook… well, more than that.. it’s the time it takes… leaving very little for much else. Or perhaps, it always took this much time, but the novelty of making a new dish everytime started wearing off and slowly descended into ensuring the right nutrition for the family now that I had the opportunity to cook for them- low salt, low oil, right balance, variety… yes, I could make all that happen.. so between ensuring different grains, colors of vegetables, cold pressed oils… phew! it’s been quite a task. But I surely got the value of a stay-at-home mom/ grahani (as my husband would call me- I have been off work – full time work- from before the lockdown). There is so much one can ensure and make happen and not have to depend upon the home grown (or shall I say village grown) cooks I have had to deal with.

What used to be an enthusiastic mopping of the house on my haunches (yes- I dreamt of finally having flat abs!) very soon descended into crackling knees that reminded me of my Hypermobility syndrome.. there drained my visions of those thus elusive flat abs. So here arrived the standing mop. Much to my disdain, I had to make do with it, though I told myself I would rest my knees most of the time and maybe weekly once still get on my haunches. The mop turned out to be a bad bai… leaving corners, hitting against walls (And potentially blackening them..) and have hair and all sorts of condiments stick to it only to be pulled out on days my OCD pushed me to clean it despite not being able to see most of these foreign particles on its lush white hair without my specs. Of course, I had the option of washing the mop-head in the machine… but who would clean the machine if all this dirt got stuck inside and what if the machine gave up one day… the nightmare of again sitting on my haunches- this time with a pile of clothes and a bucket with running water from the tap – bothered me enough to not experience the luxury of washing the mop heads in the machine.

But Stage 2 of standing wet mopping was short lived.

What I forgot to mention was that my daughter was happy to mop the floor with this standing mop. She did it diligently exactly per the process laid out by me and ensured everything went back into its place just as it was found by her. So on one of these days, as she embarked on her adventure, she sought help from my husband on changing the mop-head – coz while she had to clean the indoors, the mop head on the stick was the one for outdoors (yes, we have that segregation). So here was my husband – the one who had assembled the Amazon delivered product for me to use- at it to exchange the mop head… Alas, it didn’t survive the onslaught- and that was the last we used the mop.. head and body missed the neck in between.. no more capable of being used in any way.. or in a way which was worth my time.

Refusing to go in for another one of these mops that kept collecting condiments, I mop(ed) around nursing my crackling knees. Of course, by this time the vision of flat abs was no longer alive and neither was the spotless and reflective shiny floor.

After several google searches and some whatsapp exchanges, I finally zero-ed in on recommending a robot to clean the house. Now this was so unlike me- you see I had refused a vacuum cleaner and was going to go straight for the robot!  This was the beginning of month 4 post lockdown… the virus nowhere close to extinction and hence the arrival of a daily/ weekly maid nowhere in sight.

So here we are with an investment made such that as the novelty (and vision) of the initial days wore off, we had something to look forward to- a robotic toy (our glee at seeing it move would have you feel thus) moving around the house cleaning it. And mark my words- it has not disappointed – unless its been creating it, the amount of dust/ garbage it seems to be collecting is appalling or let’s say satisfying.

Now the next is a vacuum cleaner… you see coz the window frames and the nets on them need to look as clean as the floor 😊 the search is about to begin as the household braces for a few months or may be more of not having unrestricted access to everyone whom we have employed. I haven’t done the ROI on these investments, but it seems they maybe worth it coz our maid/ housekeeper is also ageing and as good employers, we want to make life easier for her.. yeah right is what the hubby would say!