Sharon, who is based in the US, wrote: “My partner never helped me in the kitchen nor household chores for the last 10 years. He was pampered, spoilt and completely unaware. Covid-19 quarantine has been a blessing. [With] work from home, he realized how much I do at home which was unnoticed. Now he is the one who does dishwashing, kitchen cleaning, laundry which has made it so easy for me to cook and manage the house better. He only makes coffee and fried egg. You need passion to cook, and I don’t think he has it or will try to cook. My husband is not proud of himself for not helping me all these years. Better late than never.”
What has really really shook me is the kind of death and devastation that is happening across India. What is going to be the impact of such loss? People who lost their loved ones due to Covid, or more so because timely treatment wasn't available to them - can you imagine the scars they would carry for life? The kind of grief and guilt they would encounter. Who will tend to their grief and loss?
When I visit my mother in India, I try all the remedies of my childhood. The flame of the forest flowers aren’t available as easily as they used to be, so I simply fill two buckets of water when it’s still early morning and keep them aside for my two showers of the day. I try different kinds of ittar. I revel in the mulberries, how beautiful their stains appear on my fingers, and how lush they feel on my lips. I eat all the mangoes I can. I grate the muskmelon to thin, long shreds and dust it with powdered sugar and let it chill in the refrigerator. I read the books of my youth, The Bridges of Madison County, The Bridge Across Forever, with the hope that they would lull me into romantic dreams filled sleep.
Summer in India meant the terrace being taken over for pickle and papad making, of waiting for dusk to fall, of afternoons of unbearable heat made kinder by attar infused water splashed all around the house, by the curtains who fought a war against the sun, and the hour long comforting siesta as the afternoon roared and raged outside. Summer in Europe sometimes meant a Facebook wall being filled with 'We are in Malta' or 'Spain is lovely' or 'Greece - you are such a beauty.' Of photographs of cobbled streets and maddeningly blue beaches, of sunsets the colour of a rainbow, of vineyards and country roads. Of picnics and barbecues, and trips to the beach , of long queues on the M25, of longer ques at the parking, of the aroma of roasted corn on the cob, beef and chicken patties, of hot dogs being worked upon on little barbecue stoves.