COVID19: My Yoga classes have resumed and its such a relief

In India, the lockdown has been extended by 3 weeks more. It had to be, it was not a surprise to most of the people. Hopefully, it will help the country contain the number of infections and let us buy more time to strengthen the medical facilities. Extended lockdown means we need to be more careful of our well-being. We have to be more careful of what we eat, how healthy the lifestyle we are following and how much mentally prepared we are. If we are mentally healthy and calm, we can easily cope up with the difficulties we may face during the lockdown.

Towards the last days of lockdown phase-I, I was getting a lot anxious and very irritated. The daily household activities – preparing meals, cleaning the dishes, cleaning the floors etc was slowly getting on my nerves. I had settled my routine but one thing which was missing was regular Yoga and meditation. I am used to of going to a studio and attending Yoga sessions. I find myself more comfortable doing it that way. I find it difficult to do it myself watching some video online etc. The studios are closed for now and it’s been nearly 2 months I am away from yoga and meditation. Last weekend, I talked to one of the trainers to do a live session for me and thankfully she agreed. The sessions started this Monday, morning 7-8 am, and it’s the fourth day today. We are using Zoom app for it. The initial couple of days were kind of difficult as I was out of yoga and the flexibility was nearly gone but I thinks it’s getting back. Today’s session was really relaxing.

Person Performing Exercise

Yoga has helped me a lot through my bad times. It really is a powerful tool which if done regularly, can really do wonders. I have witnessed it myself. I will try to discuss this whole thing in some other post. But for now, I will tell you that the best thing it does is settle your lifestyle. It gives a person very disciplined approach to life. For example – since I started the online classes, I have been sleeping on time, getting up early in the morning, doing yoga, having breakfast on time. There is less distraction now and I am more relaxed – both mentally and physically. I am having my meals on time, I am taking care of my body and my mind. Overall, it also adds up to your productivity. This is what yoga does to you – in very simple words. It helps you lead a very balanced life which if you carry for a long time has to benefit you no matter what. I certainly recommend everyone to try out yoga and see the changes yourself. Yoga will really help you sail easily through these bad times and some tough times ahead.

Cabin In The Woods (Poem)


(Location – Patni Top, Jammu & Kashmir)

Amidst the woods, there lies the cabin
From where we watched the sunsets,
Listened to the rain for long long hours,
Took a nap on the porch when we were tired,
Counted the stars when it grew dark,
Woke up to the bright morning sun,
Meet me at my cabin, oh, I miss all the fun!

COVID19: How to be mentally strong during the lockdown

We humans are not programmed to stay inside for very long. Staying at home for long can be very very unsettling and with the given situation outside, it only makes it worse. Everyone you know is locked down. You cannot visit the market, cannot hangout with friends, cannot go outside for a run, cannot got out for lunch/dinner at your favourite joint. You are getting bad news from all around the world which worries you even more. There is a need to keep ourselves very calm and composed amidst these unwarranted sequence of events. I am too getting anxious about the whole situation sometime but I know I am strong enough to fight it. We have to be mentally strong for ourself, for our loved ones and for the good times to come. There are some ways in which we can try to prepare ourself and fight the traumatic situation.

1. Make some routine and be more disciplined.

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A disciplined routine is the best thing you can do to help yourself. If you are spending your time in an unmanaged way, it will make you bored, leave you less productive and add to anxiety. With a more disciplined approach you will have enough time with yourself to be relaxed. You will have a less burdened lifestyle. Try to fix a time – for waking up in the morning, having your meals, your exercises – essentially all the things which you are doing on a daily basis. Once these timings are in place and have been followed for few days you will realise how relaxed the daily life has become.

2. Exercise Regularly.

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Exercising is a great stress buster be it in any form. You can try some yoga, pushups, aerobics etc, anything can be really helpful . Now is a good time to add regular exercising in your routine. It will give a boost to the mental health and boost your confidence. Meditation and breathing exercises can destress a lot, so one must try them out. There are many online classes these days which I think can be really helpful.

3. Talk to your family, relatives and friends.

Red Corded Telephone on White Suraface

Last night I called 3 friends from my school on WhatsApp(video). We talked after a long long time and it was so fun. Remembering the things we used to do in the school brought back a lot of good memories. It felt so good. It’s a good time to connect to people and share the feelings and show love to them. It can really cheer you up. Browse your contact list and give a call to someone randomly. Simple!

4. Music, movies, games and TV shows.

One of the biggest stress buster for me. I spend a lot of time listening to songs, exploring new genres and artist and believe me if you are a music person it surely makes you happy if you have found a handful of new decent songs.

There is a lot to watch on TV as well. Netflix is reporting a spike in usage time by users. There are a lot of good shows on Netflix. I recently finished Money Heist(Season-4), did not like it much but that’s okay. There are many shows you must watch – Kingdom(Zombie), Altered Carbon, Marriane(Horror), Dark(SciFi) to name a few. I am watching new movies regularly as it keeps me really distracted.

I play PubG regularly. Little PubG break in the day and after dinner relieves me a lot. It’s good that they have set a limit of 3 hours, which I have never hit though. You can try some games these days.

5. Engage yourself in doing random things.

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How does your room setup look like? Do you think it would look better if you shift the bed to other corner? Well, try that out and see. Who does not like such changes. It surely gives a nice feeling. How about a dinner date setup? You can enjoy that as well. It’s a good time to engage in bit of gardening. Writing and reading can also help you relax. I am posting more often on my blog and I keep on exploring some blogs to read – it really helps me kill some time. Cooking can be a great thing to do these days. For me it’s a new thing so I am enjoying it a lot. A self-cooked meal can really make you happy even if it not very delicious.

I am trying to make a routine with all the activities I do with a time attached to it. I will try to share it on the blog. Meanwhile, the above mentioned things are really helping me a lot to kill my stress. If you guys have some other cool ideas, please let me know.

COVID19 Realisations – Cooking is fun but can someone do the dishes or chop the vegetables, please?

15th day into lockdown and I have realised cooking is fun and I am liking the kitchen more these days. But there are a lot of things that you need to take care of, which kills the fun somehow and makes it really difficult specially if you are not into habit of cooking. I had never spent a lot of time in the kitchen so this whole experience is a mixed ride – from fun to irritation to fun again, then to a point where I say chuck it I will grab some readymade stuff. I have spent more time in the kitchen in these 15 days than I had ever spent in my whole life. Cooking a good meal is an art and you have to spend a good amount of time to prepare a delicious meal. I never had that much time with me to try cooking.

I will briefly tell you my background. I stayed with my parents for the initial 16 years of my life. For the next 6-7 year I had to move out for higher studies. Then, I got my job in Gurgaon and have been staying here for last 9 years. I was never bothered about the food. There were tiffin services, cooks at different point of time so I never had to learn cooking. I have always a craving of eating good food but sadly I have mostly compromised on that. And now that I have to manage 3 meals a day, for last 15 days, it seems like I am spending the whole time in the kitchen. Cooking is really fun. For people who start learning, they can actually see the transition from shit to a very tasty food and that makes one so happy. But the whole arrangement of things, cleaning the dishes, cleaning the whole mess the new star chef has created make everything very tough. I think most of the newbies would agree on this. Cooking would really be fun when you have someone to help with your mess. Can someone do the dishes or chop the vegetables, please?

Black and White Remote Control on Table

Add to it the work from home scenario. Those update calls can really screw up the whole routine. You have to get your breakfast ready before the first morning call. Thankfully, the breakfast is easiest of the three meals. It does not take a lot of time and gives you a good start of the day. Then, there is a call around lunch time, mostly after the lunch. Lunch is really hectic. It takes nearly 1 hour to prepare my lunch – including the dishes, chopping, cooking and then some cleaning again. I finish eating my lunch mostly by 2-2:30pm in the afternoon and by this time I am very exhausted. The evening snacks is around 5.30pm. I like cooking dinner and I have been focusing more on having a delicious dinner everyday. To me cooking lunch sucks. Cooking lunch is such a drag for me and I just do it because it challenges my survival, but cooking dinner is really fun and I never complain about it. I really put my heart in it.

I got to try a lot of things in the kitchen in these 15 days. I have cooked a lot of things – half cooked rice to burnt rice to super oily and super spicy curry to very bland and tasteless curry. Slowly, I perfected few things, got some good idea about the measures and quantities which make me feel good now. I am sure many people around the world would be struggling in the kitchen. The fight for survival teaches you a lot of things and hopefully makes you stronger and wiser. Cooking is not really tough as I always assumed but it does demand you to pour your heart in and it asks for some patience as well. After all, nothing leaves you happier than having a self-cooked delicious meal.

COVID19: The world was not prepared for a pandemic

The world was not prepared for a pandemic. Countries were not equipped with enough resources to identify the risk, deal with it and minimise the damage. They were busy pouring funds in everything but not in something which could combat this unforeseeable pandemic. No one could imagine the economic implications the pandemic could cause, trillions of dollars washed off the market. Coronavirus hit the world in January 2020 and in three months the world has crumbled down and there is no clear escape. It showed the world how unprepared it was. The wealthiest and the most equipped countries could not do much but to face the wrath of this deadly virus. The economy is tumbling down at an unexpected rate. Too much efforts have been put in by the governments across the world. Too much resources have been deployed, a lot of money has been sanctioned for the fight against the virus but no one seems to be a clear winner. Everyone is just thinking to minimise the damage and no one seems prepared for the future.

Coronavirus is more than a pandemic. This situation is no less than a war. It has left us with very few choices. We are already witnessing a lot of changes. Social distancing is the new way of living. Countries have sealed their borders. The airlines sector has gone for a toss and tourism completely slaughtered. The world around us is completely shut at least for some good 3-4 months. No hangouts, no parties, no strolling down the streets, no gathering, no movies, no shopping – everything that we were used to of doing is not normal any more. Lock yourselves down is what the situation demands. If you are a little casual about the virus situation that’s an alarm right there. You have to be very very careful of what you do, where you go, whom you meet. There are just too many restrictions this pandemic has put on us. The virus can even hit us harder if we are not much careful about it.

The aftereffects this virus is going to have on the whole world is unimaginable. There is a big uncertainty that is ahead of us. We are living in a world of uncertainty and there is much more to come. The world around is on a long pause and a resume seems very far fetched. We cannot expect the virus to just vanish some day and our lives become easy. It would take a lot of time and effort to find a vaccine that works and beyond that making it available to the whole world would be some task. No one is sure how long this pandemic will keep disrupting the normal life around the world. The economic disaster which the pandemic has already propelled will make many lives very miserable. We are riding a wave of uncertainty with almost no hope of the wave hitting the shore any time soon and even if hits the shore, who knows about the damage already done.

COVID19: The air is too fresh to breathe. We need smaller lockdowns regularly.

After the first few days of 21 days lockdown in India, the air started to get better. With almost the entire population locked in their houses, no vehicles to move on the roads, major industries closed down – there was a major change in the pollution level in the country. I am living in Gurgaon, one of the most polluted cities in the country (Delhi is even worse). During Diwali (Nov. 2019) the air was quite dangerous to breathe. I remember I started using air-purifier and even bought a lot of flower pots for the indoor air to be clean. It was not much of a relief. The air outdoors was filled with smoke and dirt. The air around was hazy and there was a low visibility than usual, seemed like it were cloudy outside for many days. I had developed a severe allergy because of the bad quality of air. Here is a brief of the Diwali 2019 situation.

Now, the most surprising part was people not realising it. The government did its job by asking people to use less vehicle and more of public transport but that did not help much. People would still use their private vehicles, the industries would still run and it took nearly a month or so for the air to be become breathable – which was still in a bad category on AQI index. The problem is no one cares much about the air they breathe. They do not even think it is affecting their lives. I mean, they will complain now and then but no one does his/her bit. I am even careless many a times. I do not shut down my car’s engine on the red light very often. Caring the environment is not in our character. We are knowingly/unknowingly destroying it minute by minute and we do not even think about it.

Come to think of the current situation. We are under lockdown and it just took 4 days for the AQI index of Gurgaon to drop to as low as 25, which I do not think is ever possible in normal scenario given our attitudes. My question is – should not we try for it? Even if we keep it under 100 on a regular basis, imagine the impact it is going to have. Imagine the younger generation breathing a fresher air and growing healthier. Have we ever thought about it? Now that the governments across the world have taken drastic measures to fight Coronavirus situation, we should and we must try some extreme measures for keeping the environment clean. Why not regular lockdowns, something like every fortnight. After all it is for everyone’s benefit. The main question is – do we really care?

The lockdown started on 25th March. Here are couple of screenshots showing the pollution level in city on 27th March and 29th March.