Guest blog – By Sheelu Puri as shared on her facebook page

The last three weeks of lockdown in particular have brought out different emotions at different times . So here are some thoughts on our euphoric reactions , emotions , concerns , difficulties , helplessness , inhuman suffering and more written one each week progressively :

Week one

No dust on the leaves, the sky is blue
No noise on the road
No fights on the street
No Hindu Muslim… sab hain bhai bhai .

Board games are out on the mat
Laughter at the drop of the dice
Breathing and clapping are recommended exercises
The other exercise is sweeping the floor not stretching in the gym kind.

Eating together garam garam roti sabzi
And khichadi, kadi chawal are the ultimate delight
Gardening, bird watching, reading ….
Ahhh… idyllic pursuits for the mind.

The worry is in the idiot box
And the little instrument by your side
Will we survive to see this forever and a day
Or get back to what we earlier called life ?

Week two

They didn’t come :
(Written with mixed feelings of our dependence on them, theirs on us and of their sorry plight)

The maid didn’t come
Oh how I missed her
For cleaning the dishes and the floor
For making the beds and wiping the dust on the doors
For tidying up and putting away our shoes
She didn’t herself wear slippers, were they outside?

The garbage collector didn’t come
Oh how I missed him
For picking the trash and sweeping the road
For segregating the rubbish and the empty gift packs
Did he go home then, that hole which is his, not made of cement and brick?

The cook did not come
Oh how I missed her
For cooking the veggies and the hot rotis while we did eat,
For cleaning the utensils and clearing the table after the meal
She would take the leftovers, will I now have to eat ?

The plumber didn’t come
Oh how I missed him
For cleaning the blocked drain and plugging the leaking faucet
For fixing the AC pipe where I dine
I wonder, did he learn all this by design ?

The gardener didn’t come
Oh how I missed him
For collecting the leaves from the lawn and piling them in a pit, cutting the hedge now quite high
For planting the summer organics I could enjoy
Does he know these pleasures, as he lives in a jhuggi and sleeps on the floor?

The newspaper vendor didn’t come
Oh how I missed him
For I got up late and couldn’t have my tea without a newspaper to smell and snippets to read
For I knew the news , it was in my hand held device
But the newspaper man, is he even alive?

The car cleaner didn’t come
Oh I didn’t miss him
For the car is standing but there is nowhere to go, the malls are empty, no office no factory
For there are no parties to attend, no shopping to do
He has gone to the village to stay…, but will I still have to pay?

Week Three

We are happy at home, we are safe.
Working from home . working at home,
We play and watch movies, exercise, cook and eat some more.

No traffic on the streets, no road accidents I am sure,
Air and rail traffic at an all time low, the sky is blue,
The stars are visible and there is some romance too.

In the balconies we meet,
Clap our hands and say hello,
And then light a lamp and pray some more.

No Malls, no Weddings, no prayer meetings,
But we Zoom in and laugh,
We are social animals ( from a distance) after all !

But are some elderly safe ?
Cooking and cleaning by themselves, keeping afloat
Home alone, maybe lonely, though still brave !

Where are the street children,
Who is feeding them at least once today?
Under the flyover or wherever they stay.

The Cabbies on the streets. are banned!
Some had white, some yellow and black
Will their prized cars go as they have no fare?

The factories are shut, machines have grinded to a halt,
No procurement no production even though blue collars will be paid,
But next month the job may not stay!

Are the village folk spared ? No I say,
They are milking the cows only to throw,
Today’s unsold milk, and then graze the cows for some more !

The fruits on the trees are turning yellow and limp,
They are picking the vegetables and then leaving them to rot.
The harvesting season is here but the harvestors are not!

The Spring Flowers had come and are almost gone,
No flowers are reaching homes at home or abroad.
Exotic flowers for fancy hotels and birthday wishes, are they useless after all ?

The Carpenters and Masons are resting, but not after a hard day’s work.
The casual labour is back to the village, their feet are sore,
Where is their next meal coming from, they are not sure !

The Barbers know just one profession, now no salary no tips.
The locksmith, the blacksmith, the potters et al ,
Where do they stand with no coffers at all ?

The situation is complex to say the least !
We are saving some but are we losing more,
So that we may not lose some more to Corona, no ?

Contributed by Sheelu Puri