This time is nothing like one could ever imagine. When you will be sharing the stories to the next generation about how a virus created havoc around the world and people were lockdown in their houses, I am sure they will not relate to it much. This situation is really depressing but the life has to go one, so whatever keeps you happy, motivated and engaged you must try. More than ever, and many would agree, this pandemic has reminded us how powerful music can be and how much solace can some good songs provide. And when we are talking about music, which is the most talked about band in the history – The Beatles. I am listening to them more than ever and can’t get enough of them.
I was not an avid Beatles fan earlier and never had heard the albums in entirety. Thanks to the movie Yesterday (2019), I was introduced to a lot of Beatles songs. The movie is so beautiful that I watched it multiple time and that was when the Beatles grew all over me. I started exploring the band properly, reading a lot about how it was formed and what was it like to produce such great music and how they grew over the years. The more I explore, the more I listen, the more interested I get into the band and it’s Beatles all over my mind these days. Their catalogue is so wide, diverse and so relatable that there is something for every mood, every situation. The lyrics is easy and simple to remember, the music is melodic and very rhythmic and not to forget very experimental. They have in a way influenced most of the band on the planet, influenced bands which influenced other band and so on.
There is no best Beatles song
The other day I was browsing the internet and found few websites which rank Beatles songs, for ex – RollingStone, Vultureetc. As per RollingStone, the song Hello, Goodbye, which appears on the album Magical Mystery Tour(1967),is the last song in the list. Can you even digest that? I love this song a lot. It’s on my every Beatles playlist and RollingStone says it is the 100th best song according to them. There is a way to look at it – the Beatles have such a super sexy catalog that there are 99 songs better than this great song. Similarly, the Vulture ranks When I’m Sixty Four from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) at 103, which is again pointless. So, one thing is clear that it is really pointless to rank the Beatles songs. To me, there are no best Beatles songs, all of the Beatles catalog is amazing and one should try to listen to all of the songs.
There is no best Beatles
The band was perfect in many sense. You can love Lennon for his voice and the kind of music he wrote, you can love Paul for his discipline, for his great sense of melody, but when you look at the Beatles as a band, you do not identify them from these individual people, rather everyone is as great as others. The songs which Harrison wrote were no less great than any of the Paul’s and Lennon’s songs. Frank Sinatra was particularly impressed with Something, from the album, Abbey Road (1969), calling it “the greatest love song of the past 50 years”. Then there are other songs from George as While My Guitar Gently Weeps,Here Comes the Sun which are no less great than any other Beatles song. Ringo’s drumming, no doubt, was way ahead of its time. He was incredible behind the drums, a totally fulfilling fourth member of the band.
The Beatles are still so relevant
One thing about Beatles which make them great is that they experimented a lot. In a small span of 8 years, they did so much. They took time to rethink the methods which were failing for them. They stopped their live performances and started focusing on creating amazing music and thankfully it resulted in more awesome Beatles songs and as a result we have the greatest albums of all times. Their lyrics are so relatable as they touch upon different aspects of life – love and romance, hardships of life, politics, spiritual and many more. They are loved by different generations alike, the old folks love them, the young folks love them, everyone loves them. It’s no wonder why they are the most influential band of all time and why they are still so so relevant even after 60 years. When you listen to the song Lovely Rita, from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band(1967) you will notice that Tame Impala, one of the modern successful psychedelic pop bands, is inspired from the Beatles a lot. I am not sure they have ever mentioned it or not, but we know a little bit of Beatles is everywhere.
A good movie helps you break the monotony. Movies can be one of the good weapons to fight this depressing time. With so much time with myself during the lockdown, I have been watching a lot of movies. Here are some of the good movies that I watched.
This is a story about a black musician in the days when the blacks had a hard time in the USA. He has to travel across the country for various concerts for which he hires a white Italian guy. The movie is about the chemistry between these two and how they become friends over the whole journey. Vey simple and humble movie.
This is a typical Guy Ritchie movie – fast paced, stylish, fascinating characters. The movie has a perfect combination of crime and comedy and with such a good caste you will be guaranteed a lot of entertainment. More than everything else, the movie has been written in a unique style – it’s more of a storytelling, which you will surely love. And it is really really funny.
Man, this is such a difficult watch. This one is story about a couple with a kid going through the horrible pains of divorce. They had a very great relationship but there were some differences which leads to a disintegration. The movie is difficult to watch because you see both the sides, you see how great their relationship used to be and how miserable the divorce process is. Adam Driver is one hell of an actor, very underrated, but I do not think he is anymore underrated. He has some other great movies in his name – Paterson, BlacKkKlansman etc. Well, I did not mention Star Wars because I think they grossly undermined the gem of an actor he is.
Clint Eastwood’s movies are generally great watch, so is this one. This one is a story of a security guard Richard Jewell who discovers a suspicious backpack under a bench in Centennial Park in the USA. He is hailed as a hero who saved many lives, but later the FBI names him the prime suspect in the bombing. It is really scary to such thing happening to a great saviour and how media and the authorities devastated his life. The lead actor is fabulous in the movie and so is Sam Rockwell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
We are under a 21 days lockdown in India. This essentially means if you are a sane person you would not move out of your house unless there is an utter emergency. A 21 days lockdown can teach you a lot of things. One of the things is how much of luxury are the domestic helps and how much dependency do they have in our lives. In India we can hire them for a very very affordable price. They help you with literally everything – dishes, cooking, laundry, cleaning the house, helping in the garden etc. You can go beyond that also – there is no limit. A domestic help who can do these things can be hired in a range of Rs 10,000 (about $150). And now I realise that it is nothing.
The maids usually visit in the morning, wrap things up in less than couple of hours. Even before you are having your breakfast, like a genie, your entire mess has been cleared up. You are not bothered at all. You find the kitchen is super fresh, the floors are shining, the clean windows letting in the fresh breeze of air. In the lockdown these domestic helpers are not allowed to move, so we have to take care of all the things. The kitchen does get very dirty, the sink gets flooded with utensils and blocked water, the floor looks gloomy with dust, peels of fruits and vegetables coming out of the garbage bin – is what the initial few days’ scene looked like. We are now getting a hang of the household activities and trying to minimise all the clutter we were careless about before.
Slowly, I have come to realise these domestic helpers are nothing sort of angels in our super busy lifestyles. They take all the pains to make your days shiny and nights relaxed. We need to recognise them for their efforts. We have to give them more respect, they deserve a lot of that. Less of that haggling when they ask for money and more of love and care is what they need.
Well, I have to get in a habit of writing more and more. There is a complete lockdown of 21 days here in India. I have been working from home. Work part is not much disturbed. Being a software person, home and office are one and the same. It’s all about the laptop, internet and some music. Work is home and home is work.
There has been a lot of realisations in these lockdown days and there are still 9 more days to go. Even after that one may not be as mobile as they were earlier. This virus has killed everything – social life, personal life, economy, travels, weddings, celebrations. The world is not the same, at least for next few months. People are caged in their houses, streets deserted, malls closed, public transportation halted, no more morning walks in the parks, not hanging out with friends. The world has come to a still, and the places which are not are paying heavily for the carelessness.
There are so many challenges for a person under lockdown the first being he has never been programmed to be this situation. And that is why it is more haunting. Well, couple of initial days were not so bad, to be honest, but 21 days is really hard and one has to slowly and gradually make him stronger for that.
बाहर डर का माहौल है । There is a sense of fear when you step outside. A crowd in a grocery store is a big alarm. The coughing person on the cash counter at the grocery store is a big alarm. They are really a lot exposed as they have to deal with so many different people daily. It’s scary sometime to go to the grocery store. Till this virus takes a little breather we really do not have any option at hand. Nevertheless, life has to go on and it goes on irrespective of all the uncertainties. Hopefully we will come out as a winner from this pandemic.
I intend to write a lot more and I hope that will help me kill some time. Take care you guys, stay safe and sound.