Happy Birthday in 2020!!

The Silsila of birthday in Corona started in May with my husband’s birthday.  There was a lockdown.  I was at my highest level of anxiety and did not order cake, nor did I order any gifts for him. I made a cake in a karahi. I sincerely believed then that parcels carried potential risk. Neither did we meet anyone.  What I did instead was organize an online party for him from both his side of the family and mine.  Little did I know that it would be the first of the many online parties that would follow in 2020…. November was distant then, and I had thought things would be better by then…

My birthday was on Diwali this year so it was very special. I had a nice day with our families.  Before I complain about how I could not go out to a restaurant, or invite people over I should remember that 2020 has been about surviving.   I am grateful to be alive,  healthy and happy that I have not got the dreaded illness. It has been a weird year, and with the loss and despair that it has brought,  it has probably made us value little nothings more than ever.

How was it different from other birthdays?

I have become a little chilled out now. So yes there were two cakes,  a bouquet and lots of gifts and treats sent by close family.  For our anniversary in June, my husband wanted to get flowers for me but he was afraid I will kill them with sanitizers!

Being Diwali it was automatically vibrant and festive. I watched a woman take her little daughter to play with fire crackers. The girl was scared and her mother was asking her to at least try a phuljhadi. The daughter kept saying, ‘Dar lagta hai’. The mother told her that this happens every year. She feels scared at first, then she starts enjoying it and refuses to leave!

I thought this exactly described me from my childhood! As a kid, I always wanted to dress up in something pretty like lehenga for Diwali. But my mother dressed me up in Jeans, T shirt, Denim jacket, and fully closed shoes. She thought I should be safely dressed for fire crackers and not in some dupatta. I would always start out being scared, then excited and finally found jumping near phirki!  I distinctly remember a Diwali when I had upgraded from phuljhari to Anar, although the bum was still off limits. Something that always fascinated me was the rocket. I always wondered if it would fly into someone’s home! And then there was the gharonda which was a project we loved…

I feel that so many children from this generation may not be familiar with the beauty of Diwali…

New clothes, new makeup but stuck at home!

I received a lot of gifts. Now I am waiting for an occasion to actually wear the new clothes!  I have been complaining to my husband that we should go on a short holiday. I see people post pictures, and I feel like I am the only one stuck at home!  However,  I have not even started going to restaurants or supermarket or visiting anyone.

I spent a lot of time thinking about nearby places I could visit by car for a short tw0-three day trip. The journey should be short enough to not use a restroom on way, and the resort should be ‘isolated’ and ‘not crowded’ and ‘following covid protocol’.  Such a place probably does not exist!  I even imagine carrying my own bedsheets and pillow cases! My husband says this vacation is just a fancy thought in my head, and I will never be able to go through with it. Last couple of times I have stepped out to a store, I have returned to the car because people have not been wearing a mask.

My husband has a feeling I will make him drive to some place, then get irritated at people not wearing a mask, ask him to yell at them, hate everyone and then make him drive us back home!  Even for my birthday, we did not go out to any restaurant, just to our parents’ place. I especially get irritated looking at people whose mask is below their nose. The nostrils is not an attractive part of the face, and there is something very annoying about a mask that highlights the nose instead of covering it!

My Goals for this year

I read my blog from last birthday. Seems I was quite positive and was giving gyaan on Zindagi milegi na dobara and taking risks!  Taking risks has a whole new meaning in 2020 so I would not say that anymore.  I guess the only thing I did this year worth talking about was writing books.   Towards the mid of the year, I was very focused on being productive, making the most of work from home but now I seem quite content with being lazy and sleeping more!  I guess I underestimated the joy of getting up  minutes before logging in and having nowhere to report to! Of course I would love to go out,  but I don’t miss the traffic of the daily office commute.

I have also realized that I simply cannot watch Netflix etc. for long. I have never been a binge watcher and I assumed that was because I would rather go out than stay home and watch TV.  Now I know that even when I am home for months,  there is only a limited amount of shows I can watch. I have also realized I cannot read a lot of books.   I have a low attention span. Surprisingly, I like to waste time reading random things on the internet!

I don’t have much goals for 2021.   In fact, I can’t even think of anything! All I can think of is when will I go on my next vacation, when will work from home end and office will resume, when will I wear nice clothes, when will I order lenses next?

And yet a part of me is enjoying being in pajamas all day, taking a nap during work hours, and taking a shower at 6 pm!

But since it has always been a birthday tradition, let me list down some goals:

Stop being so finicky

I have mentioned about my obsessiveness with germs even pre corona in my blog. Now when I look back, I feel why was I always like this? Was I preparing for corona all my life!  My aim is to relax a little once corona is over.  There is also a possibility that I will only get worse post corona. Only time will tell…

Write more articles

I had made a conscious decision to focus more on books this year than blogs. But I ended up writing very little on my blog.   Some people have messaged me saying I should continue the articles and that they really enjoyed it.  I have that in my to-do.  Facebook reach of posts has declined a lot, which becomes demotivating for a writer.   But I guess, I should not think about that and just continue to write, the way I did when I started out.

Karam kiye ja. Phal ki chinta mat kar!

  • Get a dishwasher

I really want to stop the dependency on household helps.   I started calling my maid only recently and even though I cannot do all the work by myself, I think the dishes should definitely get a solution. This may not  happen soon but let’s see…

  • Visit cousins / friends more

I realized that this year just got over and I did not meet people enough . Will do that more next year.

  • Compile my non-fiction blogs into a book

Or maybe write a non-fiction book from scratch . I think after this year, I have become less scared of getting ugly criticism  or bad reviews.  I have realized that I am not famous enough to be hated, so the worst thing that can happen to writers like me is that people don’t read enough, for which we have to keep figuring out ways to improve the reach. At least the fear  is gone now!

  • Go to a cold place in India with my husband
    A vacation in the hills. Simla, Manali or Nainital or maybe Sikkim… Momos and pahad wali Maggie.

My husband went to college in Simla and some of our relatives are there currently, so this is likely to happen, of course covid willing! I also want to go to a beach in foreign and wear a swim suit.  I always wear shorts at a beach, I have not worn anything less than that as I feel too conscious. But yes, I do want to do that once in my lifetime!  Beaches remind me that I also want to go to Goa! Ever since I have got married my husband and I talk in terms of visiting places that we have visited before separately ‘but saath mein nahi gaye hain!’

Become something else!

I watched an IPS officer win KBC recently. I was very inspired and I told my husband I want to be an IPS officer too! I do this a lot. When I watched Dexter, I wanted to be a homicide detective, when I watched Homeland I wanted to be a spy, when I watch anything I want to be in that profession! My husband joked that I could still get the forms and study hard and become an IPS officer.  I told him I must have crossed the age limit.  I checked online and I had  crossed it indeed! Even though this was just for fun, I really wish we had more time to choose our career.  Deciding Arts, Science and Commerce at 15, and limiting ourselves for the rest of our life before we know what we want is harsh!

So I guess this one should be added to next life goals instead!

Bas itna sa khwab hai!!

So this is it for now. Everybody please stay safe. Covid has not ended yet.   Take care.

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