The day was Monday, May 4, 2020. We were at Day 45 of self-isolation, at Day 48 of living without house help, and at Day 26 of being in a containment zone. Schools and colleges had been closed since mid-March. Despite it all, the view from my balcony of our 9th floor apartment made today seem like a beautiful day. There was a certain sense of relief as most major restrictions were supposed to be lifted tomorrow. Additionally, we were experiencing an incredibly pleasant weather than expected in the hot month of May. The sky was covered with dark clouds and cool winds made the areca palms in my balcony dance with joy.
I was chilling in my balcony and enjoying a new web series on my phone for about half an hour, when a sudden craving for a nice sandwich took over and became too tempting to resist. Next thing, I was standing in the kitchen fixing a sandwich that I’d treat myself with in the chair on the balcony. Walking in, I had seen my 9 year old daughter Ohanna exercising, and my 2 year old son looking at her in amazement for a while and eventually joining the fun and jumping all around. This is how I had seen them last and in my mind, everything was under control.
At 5:55 after 5 minutes of me being in the kitchen, our house bell rang, we were a little surprised, as we were not expecting any deliveries, or anyone visiting us during the lockdown. Nonetheless, quickly finishing up I went to open the main door to find our neighbour Mr. Bhutani from the 8th floor looking very tense, he blurted out aloud that “your stuff has been flying off your balcony for some time now”.
Before I tell you what happened I should tell you about my 2 year old son’s daily routine. Like clockwork, he goes all around the house checking doors every half hour to see who has been careless enough to leave them open for him. We have double locks on each door. Now, if he is in a good mood he would shout out and say the door is open and get one of us to rush in and secure the lock. At other times he would open half the door, enter the bathroom, grab any bottle he could lay his hands on and wait for someone to come looking for him. The minute he sees you he would vanish inside and throw something down the pot. And just to rub salt to the wound, he’d then very happily announce to the whole house about what he just did. This game of hide and seek goes on all day.
So coming back, I went into the balcony and my phone and power bank which I had left on the chair was missing along with my wife’s slippers, 3 footballs (yes we are football collectors), a couple of books, and drying clips. I looked down in horror hoping that none of the people passing under our building were hurt, and thankfully no one was. As I was about to turn back our neighbors from the floor above said my son has been up to this for the last 5 min, he started with your phone and then came out running to throw anything he could get his hands on.
My wife Amrita had picked up Jahan by now and everyone else was trying to locate the things that had gone missing. I grabbed a big bag, put on my mask, and quickly went to the Ground floor to pick up the remains of whatever was left. Stepping out of the lift I bumped into my friend Manik who stays on the 1st floor, he warned me to be careful and not step out in the open as someone had been throwing things down… Well, I lowered my head and replied in a soft tone, saying that it was the doings of my 2-year-old Devil, who apparently has had enough of this lockdown.
A few people had gathered by now to offer their condolences from a distance as I picked up my phone with a smashed screen. 1/4th of its display was gone, but miraculously there was only one small crack in the cover and to my surprise, it still worked somehow. The 20000MAh power bank which was only twisted but not broken was lying next to it. This is where I made a mental note to not plug anything in it, fearing that it would blow up. I filled up my bag quickly in low spirits. I gave a faint smile to everyone around and took the lift to the 9th floor.
Entering back into the house I was on the edge, I’ll have to buy a new phone and how will I lie on a bed for hours watching movies and playing games in rest of the lockdown period. My chain of thoughts was broken by Jahan asking me “did you find my green football”. I could not help but laugh, though it still did not lift my mood. So took my phone out of the bag and went into the study to assess the damage and simply to let off the steam.
The lockdown has taken a lot from us, our freedom, our material desire, our house helps, and the simple joy of hugging your loved ones without fearing at the back of our minds that the virus is closeby, and of course my phone. Well for whatever it has taken it has given me more, quality time with my wife and kids, my lost passion for cooking, spending hours reading books, and most important of all time to just think.
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf. Rabindranath TagoreTweet