Thursday, April 2, 2020

Life in Lockdown - Day 9 of 21, April 2, 2020

The rhythm has slowed down even more. Now I am not even curious to find out what's happening on the outside. There's a bit of activity. The birds chirping etc which everyone including me went gaga over the first few days has now become the new normal. I think it has finally settled in - that life could be like this for a bit.
Pic Courtesy - Satish N

The fact that I cut news out helps a lot, the odd headline here and there pops up or someone over the phone gives me an update about how bad it's out there etc. The days are beginning later than normal - its been a long time since I woke up this late. But then I head right into the journal, catch up on a few calls and its time for breakfast, washing, dishes etc. I ventured out today to the grocer who has now turned into my new hero - the chap is so well organised and stocked that I hardly need to go anywhere for a whole year if he continues like this. I can stay within my colony and live my life.

I am glad the kirana store wall has come back into my life. If I had gone to Ratnadeep or any other supermarket I would have had to wait for 30-45 minutes outside. My grocer does it in 10. I also realised these fellows are at grave risk too - the number of people they are meeting every day - all of them touching stuff, giving them currency etc. Big prayers sent out to my grocer, and all other grocers who are a huge part in keeping the country going, without panic. As frontline as any I would say else by now we'd have panicked and god knows what would have happened. So Srinivas, my krana store man who calls me 'Doctor garu for some reason, deserves to be on the list. (I told him I was not a doctor today - he was surprised - I said I was a writer and he looked rather bemused.)

Sad news was heard that Andhra Bank now no longer remains as AB. This bank has been my only bank all my life - my account was started by my mother when I was barely ten or eleven and it still goes Hari Mohan c/o P.V. Savithri. I never had the need to change it, nor add any new accounts in any other banks. It plodded along in its own way. Andhra Bank at SR Nagar always had the nicest people and I always felt represented the kind of people who showed up in Rajendra Prasad kind of middle-class comedies I grew up on. Maybe I even fantasised a nice nondescript life as a bank employee. Padma, Sampath, Bhaskar Ramamurthy, Ganesh were a few of the employees I knew. Years and years and years of banking with them and I hear they have merged with some other bank. (No notification from the bank yet though!)

Calls were made out to Ramaraju, Timothy, Gautam TV, Suresh, Tharian, Mony, Achyut, Kalpak, Pooja, Vinod, Niveshan, Dr. Sivaraju and a few more and reports from one and all were favourable. I finally finished reading 'Being You' and I must say I liked it and its simple philosophies. The afternoon went into watching a Telugu thriller called 'HIT' which was fairly watchable though I have a problem with the logic. Identified 'Rocket Man' as my late-night show.

Summers in definitely. My measure - I can drink a whole bottle down at one go.

Call from Dr. Sivaraju who said we could begin online classes for the students of the Art Management class. Hmm. Zoom classes coming up soon.

Question for the Day - Who Would I Most Like to Meet After?
Considering that the lockdown will end sometime and we do get to some level of normalcy, I wondered who it was that I would like to meet right up front. Hmmm. I think I would like to meet someone, anyone I don't even know included, who would be completely non-judgmental of me. Zero pressure. If I find no one, I'd like me to be that for myself.

I'd like to be like that to myself and to those I meet - be completely non-judgmental to every facet of theirs. That would be a huge improvement on myself during this period. For lack of names, I would love to meet someone who has Anjali's energy - she doesn't judge me at all.

Sillu Karupatti - Movie

A lovely anthology of romantic stories - four in all. Watch! It's on Netflix.
One of the rare movies I would not mind watching again.

Village Rock Stars - Movie

2017. Assamese national award-winning movie about a young girl who dreams of having a rock band of her own, more importantly, her own guitar. Now these kids in the village live in dire circumstances and the one band that is playing, plays with cardboard cut out instruments. The young girl lives with her single mother and brother, and tries to save money to buy a guitar, thanks to some encouragement by an old man who tells her she can get anything she sets her mind to. Flood happens, puberty happens, she reorganises her priorities.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lessons Others Taught Me 1 - Kumar 'Results or Excuses'

Kumar was my boss at ITW Signode where I worked in the capacity of a Sales Executive in the early 90s. The day I met him, Kumar, an IIM, Ahmedabad graduate and a classmate of my brother Ram, told me just one thing.

'Hari, whatever you do, you will find what you look for. You either look for results or for excuses. And you will find whatever you are looking for. So be clear what you are looking for.'

Such a powerful lesson. In so few words. I used this lesson in my book '50 Not Out' as well. As sportsmen, we also realise that there are times we are looking for results and there are times we are looking for excuses. And we end up finding what we are looking for.
Pic courtesy - Satish Nargundkar
When I speak to others, or when others speak to me, I realise that those who look for results don't bother giving excuses, or justifying themselves. They take it on the chin and go about it. When someone starts justifying, giving an excuse, you know where it will end.

Thanks Kumar. Big one.

And thanks Abhinay for pushing me to do this series. It will be a good one to share.

Life in Lockdown - Day 8 of 21, April 1, 2020

Day 8. April Fools Day. No one's laughing though. The joke's on us.

Also turns out to be my late father's birthday so I spent some time tinkering with a blog I wrote about him a few years ago. I'll knock it into a proper shape soon. Right now I am adding some detail here and there as I get information about him and his life. Ever since I saw Coco the movie, I have become rather conscious of the departed souls feeling good when they are remembered. (It would have been difficult to keep him homebound in times such as these I think.)
Pic courtesy - Satish Nargundkar
Friend of mine called from the US and gave me her update. She reckons that what happens in the US will happen in two weeks in India. To her credit, her advise to stock up a bit when the shelves were cleaned out in the US two weeks before our shelves went empty did come true. People are still flying about, partying, bars are open..she said... Or things to that effect. She was very appreciative of  PM Modi's decision to lockdown and how everyone out there was appreciating his move as well. Currently, her main concern was the exponential rise in cases in her city - from 1 to 37000 or something like that - and her advice was that it could happen here too. Hmm. Let's cross that bridge when it comes and thanks for the input.
I've decided not to look at numbers.

Cleaning, Calling 
Today was - cleaning, calling reading, eating, watching a movie, meditation, cleaning, calling day and had little time for anything else. I did watch a National Award winning Assamese movie from 2017 'Village Rock Stars' which was very different. Nothing like your regular movie but I loved it. Caution, it won a national award so be prepared for an art movie.

Anjali's online classes are getting longer - today was an hour and a half. Tomorrow its 2 hours. She seems quite happy by herself. I spoke to Ranjan, Keerti, Gautam, Kiran, Abhinay, Miskil, Peddakka, Nalini, Dr Savithri, Joel, Don, Chandran and a couple of others. Choudary called me early in the morning with a strange request - why don't you stroll across the road to the mental hospital and check out the scene he said. I wondered why.

Alcohol Addicts Having a Tough Time
So Choudary put me on to a local farmer who lives near his house at Shamshabad. Balraj told me that his mother was addicted to drinking toddy everyday and she spent a good part of the government pension on her daily tipple. Ever since the lockdown, she has been having withdrawal symptoms - no eating, no sleeping, hallucinating, talking to herself etc. Worried for her mental and physical well being Balraj somehow secured some toddy and kept it at home. Apparently, the bootleggers are in business and are selling some stuff for these desperate cases.

Kerala had had 8 alcohol withdrawal-related suicides since the lockdown as compared to the 2 deaths from the virus.

Choudary apparently saw a news item about many addicts now queuing up at the mental hospital for admission to handle their withdrawal symptoms. Hmm.

Uneasy Calm
The panic has faded and a sense of calm has settled in. I am looking to pick another good movie to round off the day. 'Sillu Karupatti' comes recommended. Netflix.

I asked myself what I was missing the most in these lockdown days. I cannot really put my finger on anything - am fine without going out, not craving for outside food, not craving to meet people, not craving to watch movies in theatres or anything, no craving for alcohol. What could I do with more of? I felt I could talk some more to people over phone..that's the one thing. Maybe, I will organise my time better tomorrow. Anyway, let's see, things may change in a few days.

The Meyerowitz Stories - Movie

Dysfunctional families at their best. Aged patriarch, ex sculptor who did not get as famous as some others, married four times, with children from different marriages showing up with their own back stories. Big star cast - Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler. If you like dysfunctional family films, go for it.