By Purba Ray Mar. 18, 2020
Thanks to the million and a half articles I have read about flattening the coronavirus curve, I am imposing self-quarantine. My apartment is now overflowing with cleaning supplies, groceries, and medicines that I will probably not need, but will last me for the next five years. The only respite is antakshari on the balcony with my neighbours.
Is there anybody more annoying than the WHO?! Couldn’t they find a better time to declare the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic, like in September when literally no one vacations? I had to cancel my villa booking at Lake Como and now have a stack of carefully curated airport looks and nowhere to go.Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what the word pandemic meant. But now, thanks to the million and a half articles I have read about flattening the curve, making social distancing work, the history and geography of coronaviruses, my god we are fucked and it is upto me to save the world with my newly discovered paranoia.
My paranoia has given my smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom forehead a few lines and my always happening life a new-found sense of purpose.
My purpose had a grand launch. It was inaugurated with much fanfare at the supermarkets and pharmacies in my hood. It was not easy battling all the ladies to strip the shelves clean of their stocks and making sure I leave nothing for others. My apartment is now overflowing with cleaning supplies, groceries, and medicines that I will probably not need, but will last me for the next five years.
This is day 6 and 11 hours into saving the world by locking myself at home with my beloved maids and wretched family. I am happy to report it has been a fruitful week. I’ve had so much amla and oranges to boost my immunity, even the words that come out of my mouth are acidic. The good news is, my six-year-old son has finally started calling me “mommy” and our aayah “aunty”. It took over two dozen Kinder Joy surprise eggs, cajoling, and finally, staring menacingly at him – although I have come to the painful realisation that I don’t actually like my only child very much. I guess when you spend every fucking hour of your life at home, you come to the conclusion he looked much cuter when he was asleep and silent.
Pinky, my cleaning lady, has been sneezing a lot lately and giving me sleepless nights.
Pinky, my cleaning lady, has been sneezing a lot lately and giving me sleepless nights. I think she’s doing it out of spite for making her polish all the silver in the house including the one inside my cavity. All these hours inside the house with all work and no play is making me hyper. The other evening when I got exhausted from chilling for 10 minutes, I decided to disinfect our pantry and found the jar of pasta sauce that I had bought in 1995. Since I didn’t want an Italian in the house, I let it walk out.
My only respite are the balcony antakshari sessions. If the Sicilians can sing duets on their balconies, so can we. I am now standing on our balcony and waiting for LuciferLuvs69 to come out. Maybe I’ll invite Khakra123 and HaiJunglee5 to join in. Thing is, I only know my neighbours by their WiFi names.
My husband maintains a 100-metre distance from me like I were infected. He hasn’t shaved in days and keeps mumbling under his breath and it’s usually in verse. Is it because of the copious quantities of alcohol I have been adding to the curries to disinfect, or is he turning into Rupi Kaur? The other day I swear I heard him mumble – Go Corona Go Go. Just wake me up, before you go oh. Don’t leave me hanging like a bozo.
These men! A few days of the world around us mutating into an unknown scary place and they start to crumble like stale cheese. Why can’t he be like me, for fuck’s sake? I have ventured to places where no human has gone before – like my Yahoo mail inbox and deleted over 3,000 emails without even reading them. But no, he will continue to mope and expect me to understand!
If the Sicilians can sing duets on their balconies, so can we.
I have fears too, you know, and they are huge. So huge they give me sleepless nights. What if one of my maids announces that she wants to work from home! If she leaves, who will mop our marble flooring, clean our dirty linen, scrub the dishes? But I certainly don’t intend to die of housework. Maybe I will ask her to join me on the balcony to play antakshari. Do hand sanitiser shots with her. Give her my Victoria Secret lingerie which I haven’t worn in years because it’s so damn uncomfortable.
But I hope this doesn’t go on for much longer. What will I do if I can’t get pissed drunk at my favourite pub while I bitch about my nasty besties? If I can’t put up gym selfies in my skimpies? It isn’t even safe for ISIS terrorists out there.
Which probably means one thing.
I think I should take a walk tonight. Like the cattle class. I’ve heard women are finally feeling safe because even men are keeping a safe distance from them.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.