Malvika Trivedi wakes up early and, after her morning tea, heads for her home-based workout. She has set herself a 30-day challenge to build some muscle. Post breakfast, she gets ready for work as she would ordinarily do, even slipping into her sandals and never forgetting the lipstick. She then takes her two children, Adhrija and Darsh, downstairs to her office, where she sits down to work.
Work is not much these days, so the lawyer also surfs the internet or reads with her younger son, while her daughter attends her online classes. After lunch, they spend some time lounging together, and then she heads back to “work”. The evenings are spent watching Netflix with her husband, Saket, also a lawyer. “I am loving the lockdown phase, despite the heavy financial loss,” she says. “It has given me the time to be with my children, and remain stress-free, too.”
Trivedi realised that her motivation to work had come down to zero when the court closed, so she forced a schedule upon the family. “I tried my hand at cooking, but the maids were petrified with the results, so I stopped,” she says with a chuckle. “I haven’t got bored till now, let’s see what the future holds.’’
In the surreal existence that the country, and much of the world, is now living, life has turned on its head. Three am is the new midnight, as one youngster put it. India, locked into the confines of its home, is valiantly trying to adjust to the new reality, and the host of challenges it has thrown up. While India went into lockdown from March 25, many parts of the country had already slipped into a semi-lockdown by mid-March. Even in Kashmir, which is used to curfews, and has just emerged from the lockdown following the abrogation of Article 370, the present time is like nothing before. Muezzins appeal to the devout to worship from home, and the security personnel compare it with the situation just a few months ago, when they had to work hard at maintaining peace and order.
The going is in no way easy. The initial days of panic buying and stashing up on provisions may have eased a bit with supply chains slowly falling into a system. But stuff one took for granted earlier is precious commodity today, even as so many objects of desire of the past life—cars, jewellery and clothes—have little meaning. The breaking of a television remote is an event high on the calamity scale, as one family discovered. And God forbid if the mobile phone decides to die out right now. Where once mothers stressed over ensuring their children did not miss the school bus, the equivalent of that stress shows up when the FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) connection snaps in the middle of an online class.
Working from home (WFH) is part of the new normal, but while it is a novel experience for those who commuted to work daily, even among communities where the WFH culture was already established, the experience is different. “With the domestic staff in its own quarantine, it is not WFH, but also all the work at home,” says an exasperated software professional Shwetha Rao, who finds herself facing laundry, cooking, cleaning and an endless string of domestic chores, along with her professional commitments.
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SAFFRON ON RED
Can left veteran Ashok Bhattacharya overcome the BJP’s surge in Siliguri?
There is a pattern to the attack on Central forces in Bengal
Sunil Arora, who demitted office on April 12, chose THE WEEK for his last interview as chief election commissioner. He said he was anguished over the constant attacks the commission faced, especially from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He also said that the attacks on Central forces in West Bengal was worrying and had a pattern.
INDIA ON GUARD
THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 CAUGHT US LACKING AND SLACKING. REINING IN A RESURGENT VIRUS WOULD NEED BETTER ADHERENCE TO SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND A MORE NUANCED APPROACH TO VACCINATION
No value in vaccinating everyone at this stage
The second wave hit India despite the vaccine rollout. And, vaccinated people are now getting infected. The vaccine was never expected to stop any wave, second or otherwise. All the Covid-19 vaccines available in the world right now have this handicap, that they cannot stop transmission of the virus. This is unlike the vaccines for polio or smallpox, which can interrupt transmission and thereby eradicate the disease eventually.
Fit for the future
DRDO labs are being closed or merged to prevent duplication and to focus on futuristic technologies
BRINGING MANHAS HOME
THE WEEK brings you the inside story of how a nonagenarian social worker, a tribal leader and a group of local journalists secured the safe release of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA commando captured by the Maoists of Bastar
Fighting our people
CoBRA is burdened by law, which demands that it upholds the Constitutional and human rights of civilians. Naxals have no such burden
With K.T. Jaleel forced to step down as minister, the Pinarayi Vijayan government suffers a big blow at the fag end of its term
Due procedure followed in case against activists
THE 2020 DELHI riots, which claimed 53 lives, the farmers’ protest at the Red Fort and the arrest of activist Disha Ravi on sedition charges have all taken place during S.N. Shrivastava’s tenure as commissioner of Delhi Police. He spoke to THE WEEK about the status of investigations in these cases, monitoring social media and terror threats to the capital. Excerpts:
Picking up the pace of vaccinations is not only a health and welfare concern, but also key for India’s economic prospects
Dancing To Her Own Tune
Darshana Borkotoky is making a name for herself in the field of classical dance
WEALTH & WISDOM
London-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Darshita Gillies is using technology to connect impact investors with those doing good in the world
Teen At Wheel Of Speeding Merc Runs Over 55-Year-Old
VASANT VIHAR: Accused Flees From Spot, Arrested Later
Novel Ways To Make Internal Customers Happy
Ratnalaya Jewellers started fun activities to make sure that the new employees quickly fit into the organization and mesh with the existing team
INDIA'S FIRST EXCLUSIVE BUGATTI STORE New Delhi at Select Citywalk, Saket
Bugatti, one of the Europe’s leading shoe brands, has launched its first exclusive store in India.
Pilgrims irked over ‘rude' Tirumala staff
Inquiry To Be conducted Into Allegations
Dosas Vadas Dhal & Darshini
It’s known for being India’s tech capital, but Bengaluru is also arguably the country’s best city for vegetarians and vegans, with a truly vibrant meat-free dining scene.
No headway in Centre's talks with farmers, stir to continue
We invited representatives of farmers. The misconceptions being spread on agricultural laws were cleared. Discussion will continue — Narendra Singh Tomar, Agriculture Minister
STAIRWAY TO SUCCESS DARSHAN RAVAL
The lockdown may have meant different things to different people, but for Darshan Raval, it has been a time to take a deep dive into the ocean called music. “I have created the maximum number of songs during this lockdown. I have worked really hard and I’m trying to be a better version of myself,” reveals the musician with a smile. Post Asal Mein, which has garnered more than 100 million views on YouTube, the singer with the golden voice has regaled his fans with Bhula Dunga, Ek Tarfa and Ek Tarfa Reprise.
Returning To The Fold
It's always lovely to meet old friends, even if the circumstances are unprecedented. This writer has had a relationship with Impresario restaurants before brands like Mocha, Social and Smoke House Deli (SHD) conglomerated into Impresario restaurants, under the aegis of Riyaaz Amlani.