In between Dal Chawal and Life

Morning tea is a ritual I love. Waking up early in the AM and brewing a refreshing cup of tea, no sound except for chirping birds. There’s something about that silence. When the world sleeps and you’re awake; feels like you have all the time to be with your self; for yourself. I love this time. Through the myriad of thoughts, this quiet time helps me gain perspective. Gives me the opportunity to love myself before I give to the rest of the world. And it was during this morning ritual, I had a few revelations.

Coming back to what I wanted to say. The COVID pandemic has literally forced us to be in confined spaces. Spaces we’re not used to being in or not wanting to be in. The initial few days have been challenging for many of us and eventually we’ve ‘settled’ in. We’re adaptable that way; us humans have a strong sense of survival etched in our DNA – really helps in such times.

My situation isn’t different. As a person I reflect and introspect – it just comes naturally to me. It’s called over thinking. This confinement is giving me more time to over think than normal days, which is driving me toward becoming the next Plato or Socrates. At least thats what I’d like to believe. My family thinks I’m on my way to Sanyaas – LOL! Having said that, I still have to work from home, manage the kitchen and house chores (no maid situation) and live with the spouse which also means there is going to be friction! Don’t get me wrong, we love each other to bits. However, too much of everything… you know the rest.

Through all this mayhem inside the confined space, there are important lessons I’m learning. Lessons we may not even think about in the humdrum of our lives. While we’ve all wanted time to be at home and spend time with family – work, travel, meetings, etc. don’t give us much time to stop and breathe. Here is what my over thinking brought to light:

Routine

I’ve always disliked boundaries. Anything that has rules immediately sends my brain into flight mode. Which means, waking up on time, getting to work on time, being politically correct when you don’t want to, fulfilling a certain role you are in and the list goes on. As much as I’d like to say I don’t like rules – I still follow them and yes I still dislike them and I still do what it takes. But you get the point.

The current situation has made me realise the importance of a routine. The very rules I dislike, are the ones I’m sorely missing. In the initial 3 days of WFH since the lockdown and having to not travel across the city made me feel liberated. Fast forward 2 weeks, I want my routine back! Why? It helped me organise my day, gave me a chance to meet wonderful people and gave me a sense of achievement. What’s not to like about a routine? My dislike is slowly changing to respect here. And well if it gets mundane, use this time to create opportunities and shake it up a notch from time to time.

Needs and Wants

Oh boy! Here comes the philosophy lesson. It’s a topic you would have probably heard over and over again. On how to be content with what you need, rather than want all the time. I however, see this differently. I don’t disagree to focusing on the need. But wanting something gives you a goal – to achieve something be it materialistic or spiritual or somebody you want. Being content has never led to spectacular things. Be it the theory of gravity or discovering the light bulb – these inventions have been ground breaking and changed history.

Only focusing on needs can lead to complacency. Having said that, focusing on your want can motivate you to achieve something valuable. I sound like a go getter right? Wrong! I’ve always preferred to lead a laid back life. A life of being content because I believed I have everything I needed. Till I realised I’m just drifting…into oblivion! Then I started running the rat race because I wanted to make money, be popular, get a promotion.. what do you think happened? I was exhausted! All the time!.

What I have now realised (in these two weeks) – is my want contributing to my growth as a person both physically, mentally and financially? Or am I wanting because the world outside me says,’if you have this, you are an achiever’? No explanation needed here. I think you know where I’m going with is. Philosophy lesson? I don’t think so.

Prudence

This has been a big revelation for me. The actual usage of this word is usually related to matters of money. Prudence here for me, applies to my behaviour as well. We can be extravagant in so many ways. How we use water, electricity, food, siestas and so many things. Even our time for that matter.

Before the lockdown, when I would be home., I had no issues using almost ALL the vessels I have at home to cook. Why? The maid was around – thats why! And now? With no maid, my husband and I are pretty much confined to using probably one plate, one bowl, one pot for cooking and minimal use of cutlery. Revelation Alert – more usage equals more work! And then I began thinking, if I’m being prudent about usage of cutlery, why not apply this to other areas of my life? I am now a hands down Minimalist convert!

This has triggered a sense of appreciation for what I have and how not to waste it. Time to change, appreciate and wash less vessels!

And so! I’m off to making some dal chawal for lunch and then get back to a life I’m so grateful for, I hope you stay safe and healthy. There’s no better time to check if the salt is just right in your dal and if it is, invite me for lunch – when the lockdown is lifted.

Janet Sachdeva

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