January 2020, the new decade brought a ’10-year photo challenge’ that took over our social media feed. I was setting new goals, making new-year resolutions and doing a decent job sticking to them. Life was gushing along like a stream fed by snowmelt – brimming and full of potential. I celebrated my birthday surrounded by friends and loved ones. There was an abundance of food, wine, cake, laughter, handshakes, and hugs.
February leaped in soon enough with an extra day in tow, like a generous examiner happy to give an additional 5 minutes so you can finish the exam. A leap day!
In March, CoronaVirus became that annoying relative at family gatherings, at first, you try to ignore, but as the day goes by they inevitably get drunk, act belligerent and bring the whole house down. This Pandemic continues to redefine our ‘normal’, even as humans across the globe struggle to make sense of the situation. Digging stats, refreshing feeds, clinging to hope that some random drug will be the answer, panic buying toilet paper, sanitizer and cleaning supplies, obsessively washing hands, wiping surfaces, sanitizing groceries to sheltering in place and practicing social distancing – is the new norm.
Wait, it’s April already? It was dad’s 60th birthday on the 7th. We had plans to fly to India and have a big celebration, instead, we settled for a zoom call. We’ve been staying in for what seems like ages. I couldn’t tell you what day it is without looking at my phone. Today, yesterday, this day, that day, the other day, you get the drift? The days have all merged into one – you know when you binge-watch multiple shows one after another to the point where all story nuances sort of blend together and are hard to distinguish? Yeah, something like that. The time before the lockdown seems like yesterday and a lifetime away, simultaneously. Now, if I try to focus on one particular day, I can barely taste a hint of the reminiscent flavor, much like the faint fruit sensation in La Croix. That’s how it feels to live in these times – endless wait and your mind playing tricks on you to escape the everyday drudgery.
We spend our time in a constant effort to replicate the normalcy before the lockdown, with hearts full of gratitude for being lucky enough to afford to stay in, have our groceries delivered, work from home and not have to worry about rent; and heavy with guilt for not doing nearly enough for the people who are not as lucky. I’m grateful, for friends and family that worry for us and for the essential crew – healthcare, grocery and delivery workers, law enforcement officers and so many heroes, who are risking it all, every day, lifting the world on their shoulders. I’m disappointed in our leadership. I suffer from bouts of despondency when I think of our loved ones in India with oceans between us, about the plight of millions who don’t share my privilege or when I see the worst of humanity surface. But then I read stories like this one about a doctor who got pulled over for speeding and instead of a ticket, the officer gave her masks and I cannot help but
think believe that we’re going to be okay.
I came here to write a post on a ‘no-recipe’ recipe for Dhokla using fermentation, but I digressed, royally. I’m guilty of rambling, but it’s the nth day of shelter in place. I blame a total lack of social engagement. In the absence of a volleyball, I’ve started addressing husband as Wilson, along with all the house plants, so bear with me and come back for the promised post on wonders of yeast, fermentation and sourdough starters.
I leave you with some pictures I took on a recent drive. San Fransisco Bay Area can be quite breathtaking, much like the coronavirus (too soon?).