Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID-19: Buying books like never before

A few days ago, my sister tasked me to buy school books for her kids, grade third and sixth. Easy? No! Its harder to buy books than it is to buy sanitizer these days. Since no book shops are open and its mandated by the government, hence visiting them is not an option.

After a few hours of calling and reaching out to my friends, I was able to get a number of a book salesperson, let’s call them Sherry. I called her and as per the protocol she verified my source and ensured I was the same person. Post which she asked for my order- simple: grade third and sixth books. After which she said she will call me back. She called back shortly, confirmed that some items of my list were short in market but rest would be available, bringing a total to PKR 10,000/-. She knew the supply-demand situation and the amount was not up for bargain. After agreeing on the amount, she said she will message me the details after completing whatever is available of my demand.

I, anxiously, waited to hear back from her. Online classes start soon, kids need to be prepared, time is crucial. My sister wasn’t happy with my progress already, given I am more social than she is. Finally, I got a message ‘Mar 31, 4:00 PM, outside baba jee kulfi’. I knew which ‘baba jee kulfi’ to be at. I was there at the given time, date and place. And I dropped Sherry a message, ‘here’. I saw from my peripheral vision a man walking towards a bookshop door, next to baba jee kulfi. The door was locked from outside and after a funky knock from inside, the door was opened. And I saw a woman walking out that door. That must be Sherry. I have never bought books (like this) before and I didn’t quite know what to expect and didn’t want to give the impression that I am an amateur book buyer.

It might as well could have been someone other than Sherry; she was wearing a mask that covered half her face, dark glasses that hid most of the other half, and had gloves meeting ends with the shirt, not showing an inch of skin. The rest of the body was covered in black loose clothing, only visible were short hair, it might even have been a guy.

Sherry, or whoever that was, proceeded towards my car. I had my cash ready. After reaching my front-door window, she said ‘yes?’. I remembered the code, I said ‘Mrs. Abc’. I remember, this was the name under which I had placed the order. After nodding, she placed the bags of books in the leg-space of the back seats. I handed her the cash, she looked around to check for officials governing lockdown, after ensuring they are not there, she collected the cash and went back inside.

This whole experience was so surreal. I drove fast to get away from the interaction, wore my mask to keep myself from corona/recognition and used sanitizer in attempt to kill any germs that might have been transferred. I was glad, I had the books and had a sense of pride for pulling this off during such restrictions.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Social distancing: 5 things I am grateful for & 3 things I discovered (today)

As the world we live in would have it, I am also practicing social distancing and it’s not coming easy. To top it up, my social circle is super moral on containing COVID-19 by religiously self-quarantining; I am partly proud of them and partly jealous of their high self-discipline. So, these circumstances resulted in finding innovative ways of making use of all the time I have. Just to remember, ‘Work from Home (WFH)’ is live in this scenario, where you end up working more than usual days; just like women at workplaces work harder to ‘fit in’, everyone works more to prove that they are ‘actually’ taking WFH seriously.

Still so much time!! So, among different productive ways to utilize my time one was reading. I have always liked reading and here I had the time to do some. I started reading a book my friend lend me called, “What I am sure of” by Oprah Winfery. It’s an easy read; compilation of short stories and learnings from her life. Half way through she writes that she has maintained a journal where she writes down five things, she is grateful for each day and that seemed like an interesting idea to pick on. And just to spice things up (another way of saying make more use of time), I will also write three things I discovered by staying home today.

Mar 23
Things I am grateful for

  1. I am grateful that I got to have lunch with my family members, who live in the same house, on the dining table at the same time on a weekday. We have a small dining table in the kitchen which has designed capacity to seat four individuals but seven of us found our place in the kitchen (albeit some on the kitchen cabinet) but it was a good evening.
  2. I am grateful that I could sleep in today as it was a public holiday and sleep some more in the afternoon.
  3. And I am grateful that my mom did not wake me and let me be grateful of preceding point.
  4. I am grateful there is lemon in fridge and chocolate on the side table.
  5. I am grateful that I enjoyed the cloudy patch in the sunny day by playing some badminton with my niece and nephew.

Things I discovered today

  1. Apparently, some guest had gifted us lemon in huge quantity and since it was winters back then and lemonade is a more popular summer drink. My elder sister had them squeezed and filled ice trays with them and froze them. And now just takes out one ice cube from the bag they are stored in and makes herself a lemonade to fight COVID-19. Since there are fresh lemon in house too, so no one has yet discovered her smartness.
  2. I discovered that the foundation brush eats up as much foundation as your face does, if not more. Greedy little expensive brush!
  3. I have discovered that my niece and nephew DO NOT sleep in the afternoon and are energy balls who don’t get tired. Maybe they do on school days?!