Of Garlic presses, Firestarters and the BBC
Starting with a cliche isn’t usually one of my proudest writing moments, but i’m employing the poetic/ prose license bestowed on all of us by these downright bizarre times. While it would seem almost counter-intuitive to wax eloquent on any kind of ‘home-boundedness’ at this juncture in our various mass lockdown and curfew situations, it is also a good time to cogitate on what makes the home so sweet. In fact, if i didn’t put some pixels behind the cause, i would probably undo a whole lot of the arduously achieved homestead allurement in a flash of claustrophobic bluster.
So here is my tribute to the delightfulness of my abode (albeit currently surrounding me unremittingly, endlessly, ceaselessly, 24 hours, non stop!)
My plants: The genial collection of flora in my balcony that brightens my day straight up. It’s like having some green friends over who have over time, set down roots at your place and have decided to stay for as long as you’ll have them. Some of the more enthusiastic boarders may encroach on your hospitality and bring along a few dozen other weedy friends to their fecund bedchambers off and on. Even so, the happy foliate assemblage outside my window never grows old. Bless them!
My Corridor: The 30 foot couloir (from the lounge to the kitchen) has saved me more than once, from enacting Stephen King’s Firestarter* routine. Every occasion i feel the cabin fever setting in and the heebie jeebies creeping up on me, i don my sneakers and kick-off on what i call my “20 Minute Corridor Constitutional”. The mental and emotional stress-release is phenomenal, not to mention the vast numbers I end up adding to my daily step count. There have been curfew-bound days when I’ve averaged 22,000 steps just from my corridor walkabouts. Needless to say, those were also the days I almost gnashed my teeth to the gums, uttered a lot of pandemic invective and played nervously with my well worn box of matches…..
(An affectionate cheer to my Dad here, who introduced me to these indoor perambulations as the salubrious aftermaths to a fulsome meal. Thank you Dad!)
My kitchen: The heretofore dubious capital investment in my home. I’ll put it out there: never had the inclination nor the interest to cook up a storm or even a mere waft of a breezy hours de oeuvre or 2. I have relied on the cooking graces of others – both at home and outside- to nourish me. So it is with a peculiar and rather hesitant delight that i have discovered the magic of the hob, the relish of shallow frying, the perfection of silicon egg poachers and the satisfying sharpness of a kitchen knife. No, no… halt that imagination forthwith if you please! The knife has gone straight for the heart of the vegetable or fruit I’m attacking, thank you. The macabre, keen-edged shenanigans i shall leave to the crime writers who are probably blowing off some dubious steam of their own! I quite like my kitchen now and have even added a garlic press to my list of things to buy post-pandemic; no store bought garlic paste for this kitchen adventurer! When in a pandemic, go the whole 9 yards. It’s a great lockdown time-batterer.
My 6 bottles of wine: I’m glad they were there when the psyche was engaged in a sanguinary battle with the curfew. They’re all gone now. ’nuff said.
My telly: Together with my first cup of tea of a pandemic morning, the caffeine hit is not quite complete without a dose of Doctor S. Gupta, David Eades and Christiane Amanpour, and of course a trademark Trump sound byte. The latter does much to alleviate the gravity of the situation with the copiously inherent comic relief. As I’ve been raising the bar on my Pandemic self actualisation scale, i have also begun to reduce my News addiction, and have actually watched a fair bit of Netflix. My profound cinematic conclusion: Stand-up comedy routines are chicken soup for the Curfew-bound soul!
Other digital media: My WhatsApp and blog spot connections with my near and dear ones have helped to keep the heart intact in all this mayhem. No matter where each one of us is, we know we’re just a meme, a joke, a💋 , a 🤗 and a 📞-call away from one another. Let’s keep rocking it my lovelies!
And so, it was on a Wednesday afternoon or was it a Thursday….. ? Which brings me to another realisation: There are no real days of the week in a pandemic, as one day seamlessly merges into the next. And so, it was on a Pandesday** that i sat back and took stock of my home and all the joy it still brings me when the world outside seems alien, blighted and frightening.
Home isn’t a place, it’s a Feeling – of security, comfort and serenity. And this is my homage to the whole gamut of protecting, sheltering homes and home-makers across the planet.
De Khudai pe aman.
*Firestarter: A 1980 Stephen King novel about a lass who was an accomplished arsonist in the tradition of most reviled, ostracised anti heroes
**Pandesday: any day in the course of the novel Corona pandemic