Lockdowns have their rewards too…

For the last few months everyone has been complaining about the lockdowns. But I think there is a nicer aspect to them as well. This despite the fact that last month my wife and I became grandparents when my elder son’s wife gave birth to a boy and our happiness has been hugely tempered by the knowledge that we will not be able to see him for several months. But all such annoying things about this terrible virus aside, I must say it has its funny and pleasant moments too.

One of these, which I cherish most, is that at long last my wife has begun to feel sorry for me. I honestly don’t know why but all of a sudden, she has become  solicitous and kind. She even cooks things I like these days. That’s been a real bonus because she is a top class cook. I keep telling her she missed her vocation. Instead of being a professor, she should have been a chef. Back before the virus this would have led to a fight but not anymore. She just smiles and makes another dish.

At long last my wife has begun to feel sorry for me. I honestly don’t know why but all of a sudden, she has become more kind. She even cooks things I like these days.

Then there’s the courier, aah, the courier. There was a time when we both hated the fellows because they had a habit of ringing the doorbell between 3.30 and 4.30 pm, smack in the middle of the siesta. Not anymore. The packages are delivered at the entrance gate of our complex and are sent across to everyone in the evening or morning. So now we look forward to whatever is coming, from mundane things like brinjals and various gourds to books and even sweets — which I am not allowed even to look at. Still, the courier today is like the postman of yore. The pleasure is in the waiting for the letter or the package.

The other nice thing is the discovery of Indian language films on Netflix and other platforms. Until this lockdown thing happened, I wouldn’t even have thought of watching anything that wasn’t in Hindi or English. But now I watch films even in Korean and Japanese, as also Assamese, Oriya, Tamil, Malayalam and ­Bengali. Ninety per cent of these films are rubbish but I don’t mind: if I don’t like it, I just switch to something else. This was impossible to do in theatres where one sat through terrible films because one had paid so much for the ticket, not to mention the popcorn. In fact, if I happened to doze off while watching a film in a cinema hall, my wife would get quite irritated. But no longer. She even wakes me up with a cup of coffee saying “drink this, you old fool”. But this sort of considerate behaviour can be a shade excessive when you wake up to find she has paused the film and is now insisting that you watch the whole thing.

Most of all, though, what I really like about this lockdown is the absence of people. I go for an hour-long walk every morning between 4.30–5, just as the birds are waking up. The first half hour was always wonderful because there was no one walking. But as dawn broke others would come out and I hated talking to them at that hour. I am very antisocial without good filter coffee inside me. But it’s great now because of both the mask and social distancing. I stay 15 feet away.

All in all, I think I am reacting exactly as a grandfather should: meanly, selfishly and focused entirely on the baby. I know it will be sometime before he is able to come calling. But if I can look forward to a courier, surely I am entitled to look forward to my first grandchild.

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