As Indians, we grow up with a certain set of fixed ideologies that become so deep-rooted into our brains that it becomes hard to think outside that box. Our country has been under lockdown for three weeks now, meaning we’ve all had to do our own mopping, dusting, cleaning, organizing, and even doing the dishes. The concept of having people to do it for you – by people I mean the house help or the maid, to put it simply – has been prevalent in the country for years. And only with the imposition of a total lockdown, did people realize how important the house help was.
Did that bring a change in the average Indian mentality? No. We’re the generation that takes photos of ourselves in visibly blah clothes, clutching at a broom in one hand, phone in the other, in front of the full-length mirror and posting pictures on our Instagram stories, and captioning it – “My jhaadoo pocha outfit.” That’s the word for dusting and mopping. Collective. You miss Mira Didi, not because she gave you company, but because she’d come do the cooking. You miss Jyoti Ben because she’d come and do the mopping. And the sweeping. And the dusting. And the bathrooms and even the toilet bowl. And you still negotiated with them over their paltry salaries. And never said thank you, but blamed them for messing up your fancy fruit bowl or sometimes, breaking your favorite wine glass. You conveniently overlooked the fact that Jyoti might have cut her finger picking up the broken pieces. And you made her work with a cut finger which you only put a Band-Aid on. You overlooked the fact that the help came to your house to keep it clean despite being on her period, or even despite running a fever. You refused to give her a day off because you couldn’t manage the house – the big sprawling house when compared to her tiny shack – by yourself.
And I’ve got a problem with that.
Do you need someone else’s help cleaning up after you’ve taken a massive doody? No, right? Then why would you make it a big deal, and go posting about it as well, after you’ve cleaned your house by yourself? My, my. What a major achievement. What an accomplishment that you’ve managed to wipe the kitchen counter clean after burning the lentil soup you were attempting to cook. What a good thing to have finally learned how to boilan egg or make whipped coffee all by yourself. Like, seriously? Everyone in the rest of the world does their own chores. Only in this country do we lack the understandingand acceptance needed to grasp the importance of dignity of labor.
I just wish that it wasn’t such a big deal, you know? Cleaning and organizing. Things like that? All of this? All of this doesn’t need validation from the Internet if you think it’s such a pain being a “maid” for a while. Also, doing daily household chores actually helps to burn calories. You won’t realize how fit you’re going to be if you’re the one that’s cleaning on a daily basis. Imagine how much active movement you’re getting. Also, cooking is very therapeutic. And baking. NOT being dependent on someone else to do YOUR chores lets you plan your day around your routine and not on when Jyoti comes to clean.
Plus, with the center probably extending the lockdown by two more weeks, it’s about time you forget Mira and Jyoti and get comfortable with staying indoors. It’s hardly a big deal, honestly. Although many influencers will tell you that it is, consider how lucky we all are to have a roof over our heads and a few meals a day. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand dignity of labor. It starts with you, and one small change makes a big difference. On that note, I’m going to wipe the kitchen down while I listen to some Doja Cat. Good day, y’all.
Admit it: there have been a million times when you’ve complained that the gym was too crowded. Or that people had zero hygiene in there. And that you felt weird working out in front of other people. And you ended up not going in for your fitness sessions while that membership you bought died a slow, unmemorable death. Admit it.
And then the Corona Pandemic struck and you told your friends: I was supposed to start working out tomorrow, duuuuuuuude, but the stupid gym’s closed! And you went ahead, plonked your laptop on to your lap, put on your earphones and started binge watching FRIENDS all over again, while the bags of chips and soda bottles accumulated rather nastily on the floor. Admit it.
The thing is, you can’t blame a pesky virus for neglecting your fitness goals. Remember the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? I’ll go to the gym five days a week. I’ll eat quinoa and kale and snack on berries when I’m hungry. I’ll give up on alcohol and sugar and trans fat. Remember that? No, right? Everything has flown out of the window, and it didn’t even take a day of Coronavirus situation.
In order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, we’re all staying indoors. Some of us are panic-buying provisions. Some of us are eating too much at a go. Many people are drinking WAY too much and smoking joints and they seem to have forgotten that it’s just as bad to have lung cancer. I mean, YOLO, right? Wrong. Our lifestyle has gone from varying forms of active to one hundred percent sedentary. Which means that if you’re someone who, let’s say, is on a fifteen hundred calorie per day allowance with a three hundred calorie burn allowance, you’re actually just adding the whole calorie budget, AND THEN SOME, into your body since you’re not getting any exercise. That sentence was a mouthful but you need to know that I feel very strongly about this.
I know it’s hard to resist food during times like this. Specially when you’ve gone out of your way and hoarded everything, including other people’s share. You eventually end up stress-eating because WFH feels more like WTF and you legit. Cannot. Stop. Eating. And despite all my preaching *heh heh* I’m honestly no saint, either. At the same time, I don’t want to emerge from the quarantine looking like this:
NOT that it’s bad or gross to look like that, but I don’t want central obesity, heart attack and I know how terrible the hospital situation is, globally. So, issa no. I’m trying my best to stay fit without feeling the need to depend on outdoor or gym activities, and I’m not doing much, not really, but I feel like it’s the little things:
• Limiting calorie intake: It’s been a week since I’ve gone into complete self-isolation with the husband, and I’ve reduced my calorie intake by about one-third of my everyday calorie allowance. Do I feel good about myself? No, not really. But is my body working fine? Yes. No paunches reported.
• Home workouts: That yoga mat and Chloe Ting and lightweight dumbbells are coming in handy. Chloe posts a bunch of workout videos that are super easy to follow, while being super effective at the same time. Here’s the link to her two-week shredding programs – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAFs3kxY4h18ubPUONHriXCgo0YD4rmSW. She also posts meal plans that are super filling – I’ve tried a few of them, and they work.
When NOTHING works, you can actually walk around in your living room. It’s the little things, it’s always the little things.
• Doing my chores – This brings me to my last point. Mopping the floors and doing the dishes, doing the laundry and climbing up a bunch of stairs, actually sweeping the floor instead of asking your cleaning lady to do it, burns a crap ton of calories. Belly today, washboard tomorrow. Thanks to the pocha. Thanks to the Corona Pandemic, I’ve also been hydrating like a fish. Just water, I promise you, works wonders.
At this point I can’t even laugh at my own jokes anymore. I’m petrified of what’s happening. Staying in and doing chores and making sure I am not a reason for the spread has put a lot of thought into perspective. Human life is so fragile and the worst part is we ruin things by not following protocol. Or caring about things. It’s a pandemic of epic proportions and each one of us needs to be responsible. And you don’t need me to tell you this, but for YOUR sake, stay home and stay safe. On that note…
Before we get to the post, I’d quickly like to say that marital bliss is beautiful. And oh, the location of your new house is super important. Which is also one of the reasons why I’m currently sporting two-inch-long talons and using said talons as tools: for self-defense, as can-openers, you name it. Okay, before you get horrified – I’m actually obviously kidding.
I got my nails done for the first time on January 22nd, 2020.
• Before I went in, I was under the impression that the extensions last for at least three weeks before they start to look bad. Mine started to look bad right from day eight. Why? My nails grow crazy fast. And I didn’t know I would need a refill almost immediately after getting my first set done. So ten days went by, and my nails grew and they looked super tacky and I had to run back to my trusty nail bar to get them redone.
• Okay, let’s not beat about the bush – BUT nails are kinda pricey. In Indian currency, you’re going to be paying about INR 2400-3000 the first time and refills with color cost around INR 2200 where I get mine done. And like I said, my nails grow fast – and this means I end up paying around six grand per month on nails alone. Not a very smart move when you’re a new wife who’s settling into a brand new role as a multitasker too.
• Nails are addictive. No one tells you this, but I wish they would. It’s almost like getting a tattoo or eating a bag of Lay’s – once you’ve got a taste for it, you’re going to want to go back over and over again. I was never a nail person and here I am, typing furiously away on my laptop while obsessing over my next mani on Pinterest.
• You’ll get sucked in and get super confused about your options. Pretty much what Swiggy does to your belly and your wallet. Too much to pick from, too tight of a budget. Like, aaaaarrrrrggggghhh. So pick the one shape and design that’s the cutest – for me it would have to be the coffin shaped ones and a French base – and roll with it.
• Nails need a lot of TLC. You can’t be doing kitchen stuff all the time. You can’t be putting too much pressure on your nails or use them as tools. That’s a HUGE no-no. You have to get a dishwasher and multiple bits of cutlery. Acrylics also lift sometimes if not adhered well, and you have to get it redone. Nail glue doesn’t cut it. Speaking from experience.
• The last point I have to mention would be the fact that you have to keep your nails at a comfortable length. Don’t go “Billie Eilish at the Oscars” length because grabbing things becomes difficult, and so does cleaning your bum. And I’m sure you don’t want that.
And now with all that being said, I can’t wait for Friday afternoon to come around so I can go get my nails done. Again. Yay.