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Time feels like an alien concept when you have nowhere else to be…but home. Differences between days get muddled when every day feels the same. You have a routine, but at the same time it feels as if you don’t, because there’s no one but yourself enforcing discipline. Meeting deadlines, completing an agenda, ticking off a to-do list, all seem inconsequential when the entire world is grappling with an extended period of uncertainty.

Most of us have been confined within the walls of our homes, physically cut off from our social and professional connections since the country went into lockdown last week. It’s been an unnatural experience, and in some ways, it almost feels like a social experiment. Like as if the pandemic is testing more than just our immunity.

In an effort to find something to do that takes my mind off the constant barrage of corona-related news, I’ve tried to document what life has been like in these trying times. It has been a helpful exercise and one that I continue to carry on as we head into another week of lockdown.

Everyone’s home. I can’t remember the last time I saw so much of my siblings or spent so much of my time with them. It would probably have been years ago, when we were all in school, and had long vacations together.

Having an agenda each day has greatly helped me maintain a semblance of normality in these uncertain times. I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to work from home. Since the lockdown came into effect, I’ve been trying to divide my time between office work, house chores and down time. It’s not easy but I think I am getting the hang of it.

One downside to working from home is just how easily you can leave your desk for a midday snack and end up in bed. I’ve never been disciplined about my eating habits and they’ve become worse this lockdown.

Lemons. Today a neighbor told my aunt that lemons are one of the best immunity boosters and fight colds like nothing else. Minutes later, she was back from a trip to the kirana pasal (grocery store) with bags full of these citrusey-goods. I am not complaining.

Even during lockdown, when all of us are together at home, we end up eating our meals separately because everyone has a different routine (or rather a lack of it). But on this day we all decided to skip breakfast since we knew we were making ting-mo (steamed buns) for lunch. And hence, a full table.

Post lunch, the inevitable lounging. My uncle is on his bed with his iPad, watching endless videos from Indian news channels; my sister is usually on the couch, playing TikTok videos, and my brother, when he’s not cooking, has been trying to learn how to play ukulele. Despite the limited space within our walls, I think we have all realized how privileged we are to be able to claim, even within our home, some corners as our own. 

I have always enjoyed solitary activities: reading, writing, photography. And I plan to do all of these as much as I can for who knows how long this period of uncertainty will last. 

Seri, nearly eight now, is one of our two dogs. She was just a puppy when my sister, then in the fourth grade, brought her home without informing my parents, an act that announced her rebellious streak. In the past I used to feel guilty for not spending enough time with my dogs. But now, I think even he’s bored of having us around, all the time.

A view of my neighborhood.

A volunteer sprays disinfectant in the neighborhood. During times of crisis, you get to witness the worst and best of human nature. And so far, people in my neighborhood have been cooperative, as in the days after the 2015 earthquake. 

My self-care routine includes applying a face mask, getting a hot oil hair massage and taking care of my sinuses. Low maintenance, I’d like to believe.

I have chronic sinusitis, which means my nose is always blocked. On this night, I used my sinugator which helps clean the nasal passage. Because I didn’t care to use distilled water with the cleansing solution, I ended up burning my nostrils. I don’t think I want to try it again.

In an era where we spent so much of our time glued to screens, it feels special to have everyone fully present during conversations.