Blogadda WOW, LIFESTYLE, Musings, top post on indiblogger

This Pandemic Has Changed My Home

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As they say, home is where the heart is! I believe home is where the soul is. Home is the place where you unwind, at ease, comfortable and uninhibited. A place to dream and act freely !

If we go by definition, a home may be a constructed house, or some other kind of dwelling, lodging, or shelter. It’s a place  where you come back to. It’s a place where you pack your bag to travel and when you come back, you feel the most comfortable here .

Before the Covid pandemic, people used to spend half of their day out of homes thus giving space and privacy to all family members.

I belong to the retired people category so staying at home was a routine. We are four people of three generations living under one roof.

My 89 years old dad has not stepped out of home since last 3 years on his own. He spends most of his time in his room, though mobile and independent for his age. He keeps himself busy in his meditation , watching his favourite shows/ movies on TV and dozing off and on in between .

Me and RB had decided to be  out of the active work force since mid 2018. I was a freelancer content developer and RB was a practicing CA when we hanged our boots to live a more relaxed life.

Cooking Experiments by Son-Dad Duo

My software engineer son is doing consultancy with different companies in different countries and has been working from home for around three years before it became a covid forced norm last year.

So, even before the pandemic, all of us are used to of spending most of our time at home. The pandemic brought lockdowns and restrictions which curbed the freedom to go out or get food delivered at home or go out dining,  off line shopping, movies, plays, outings with friends and long drives etc.

My first Covid casualty was my early morning yoga class, which I used to love a lot as it was a perfect start of the day. The yoga class had since been started in online mode and I am finding it better than the offline class.

It also gave house helpers much needed paid breaks. It was tough at the onset as I have made myself too much dependent on her. But I am always eager to find ways to solve the issues rather than crib about them.

The maids were banned by society management as per the government guidlines. But three of us have shared the household work and taken the responsibilities / accountabilties of  specific household work. All SOPs were in place and thus daily running of house became well oiled .

Baked Rice- Rajmah

My kitchen had always been a gender free space since long time now as both my sons along with their dad RB makes a good cooking team. Cooking is a life skill and all three ( sons and RB) knows enough to fill their tummies when need be. My sons  had  studied abroad after their 12th class and are well versed in cooking and planning a meal. Cooking for them is a stress buster activity.

As pandemic started and with no kitchen help, it was too much for me to handle all the three meals. This leaves me with no time to do my kind of things. So we divided the work. Now, dinners are organised and cooked by son – dady duo. In my family, breakfast and dinners are major meals while lunch is mostly non cooking options of fruits and salads, leftovers or bread kind of assortments. I had the responsibility of laying a full breakfast on table. I am a morning person, so breakfast is my favourite meal and I enjoy cooking it too.

The routine cleaning is also done with every one’s help. Let me be very clear about it, with no helping hand, we could only manage to do the basics and all other household works have been on hold. My household help rejoined in May 2020 and it was a day to rejoice. She has again been asked to go on leave with the commencement of second wave.

I had started going out for late night walk with my son around 10 in the night as there were lesser number of people so less interactions and more distances. Yeh kahan aa gaye hum ….

I have added some gadgets to help me in managing the essential household jobs. I have a dishwasher since a decade and it has proved to be a great boon in these times. A robotic vaccum cleaner brooms the house and a smart spinning mop proved great help in mopping the whole household. Washing machine has also become the basic necessity now.

Dusting is something which I have not done since long time now but forced to do in the absence of dear Kokilaben, my helper. I will not tell lies— I avoid doing it many a times. 😛

I find atta kneading very boring so I had added an atta kneader . No one in the family knows this art. Thus, house hold jobs are taken care of with the help of gadgets and division of work.

Another addition to my gadget galore is foot and leg massager as it really helps to warm up calf and foot muscles which are underused. 🙂

Our small balcony garden !

Not going out and being at home 24×7 puts lots of mental pressures on every one. We have dealt with it by dividing our personal and family time. This freedom to be your own self helps in keeping mental peace. Keeping in touch with extended family and friends also helps. One of the family activity is gardening. Besides, we have a daily session of cards after dinner and a long session of scrabble on Sundays.

With time, every one in the family has set up a routine. Every one has found a favourite corner too to do his/ her things. Though there are times when it feels suffocating to be at home and we just go out for a drive when the sun is still shining. Since I live in the outskirts of the city, there are still many vast fields and green areas around. Driving through nature relieves tension and opens up mind.

I miss the human interactions, dressing up and a well kept home everything which we used to take for granted !

Who knows, when will the life will come back to normal? But hoping the next year will be like 2019… open, free and full of sunshine!

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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Blogchatter A2Z 2021, LIFESTYLE, top post on indiblogger

MY GARDENING WOES :(

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I had shifted to an apartment complex in this final phase of my life for security reasons. All my life, I had lived in banglows and maintained great gardens. Alas, there was no social media to flaunt the beautiful well manicured spaces. 😞

I was so confident with my green thumb that as soon as I had settled in this new home, I bought few cement pots as terracota pots need frequent replacement. As an old follower of the new anthem of “Vocal for Local”  I went to a nearby local plants nursery to buy some plants. There was a space of five pots and I bought 5 plants – Mogra, Bougainville and three crotons of multicolored leaves were  selected. I love colours. As we came back home with the plants, it hit me badly that I do not have any soil and manure with me. I had never ever imagined that I will be spending money to buy soil. 😦

Latest status.

Anyway, we went back to the nursary and bought a sack of readymade potting mix. This has doubled up my gardening expenditure. 😦 The local nurseries were asking  any price which comes to their mouthand thus  making  profits to the tune of 150 to 200 times. Anyway, without going into statistics, let us concentrate on potting the plants in my newly bought pots. Finally, after a hard work of almost one hour, I and RB finished the job. The balcony was looking so colourful. 

The plants were under constant supervision of RB. He wanted to persue gardening post retirement, so I had handed over this field to him. 😛 He was very regular with watering and adding manure and other energisers sold to us by nursery wala bhaiya. After flourishing for almost 5-6 months, suddenly  the plants started dying one by one. My green thumb confidence has got a great jolt. But as they say, failure should be critically analysed, we came to the conclusion that it might be due to the hot loo during peak summers. Since the balcony is east facing and sunlight remains there till around 11 am, we never had an idea that even this will be hot enough for plants to survive. 

Heart broken, we got the balcony curtained by those green curtains. Again ready for the next planting drive in coming monsoons. This time, we were very confident of having blooming lush green plants in our small space. With the first shower of the season, we headed to the plant nursary, this time to a new one. In the mean time, I have designed two pot stands in the balcony to have more pots. As the cement pots need regular painting , seeing plastic pots in other apartments, I have also replaced the cement pots and bought 15 plastic pots of different shapes and sizes as per the new additions. 

Again, we did the same exercise. The only additional investment was few more hours as number of pots have doubled. This time, we bought soil and compost along with plants. Wiser with earlier experience. The plants became our morning tea companions. I am an outdoor person and during monsoons, most of my time was spent amidst these new plants. They stayed with us for few months and started deserting by year end, again without any reason. One day, they were happy and healthy and suddenly they became sad and gone in few days. 😦 Within a span of a month, almost all the plants were dead. No pest no disease, just like that, they said good bye. 

Soil for plants is being prepared.

RB had devoted himself to upgrade his knowledge and skills through gardening experts on YOU TUBE. Let me share that I have been the gardner of the family since we became a family. I did this service till RB has taken retirement. I managed my job and home affairs with few helps ( an occassional gardener is one of them). From all these resources, he gathered that the plants from the government nurseries have better survival rate than those from private nurseries.

So we located one forest government nursery in Gandhi Nagar, almost 25 Km from our place. And we went their early morning using Google map only to find that forest nursery do not have plants for pots. Anyway, they guided us to another nursery run by Gujarat government which houses potting plants. next to this nursery was a vermicompost plant which sells it in 5 kg packs at Rs. 30 while the private nursery people were selling it for anything between 30 – 50 Rs per 500 gm. There were crotons, baouganvillea, spider plants, money plants, snake plants etc. but not the ornamental plants like Acacia palm etc. The price range varies between Rs.10 – Rs. 40 . While the private nurseries around our place were selling a humble moneyplant for Rs. 30 – 100. It felt like aladin ka chirag kind of feeling. We bought more than what we needed and came back home with few new tips from the attendents at the nursery.

Again the same drill for almost 4 hours. These plants crossed the whole winter season and were growing well. As they were growing beautifully, I was very excited to post pics of greenery and flaunt my green thumb again. I had planned a balcony makeover too and plan to put artificial grass. I was going through different decorated balconies which really looked beautiful, I fail to find any practical and  comfortable sit out for myself. I mean the kind of seating which I find relaxing and comfy. So I thought of creating my own comfort zone which will be of practical use. But it was not to be. For no apparent reason, again our green babies bade us good bye one after the other, barring few. 

This time was not so heart breaking. I have understood that this cycle will go on. Some plants will remain awhile most will be dead, so instead of mourning, it’s good to get new plants after few pots were empty. We have decided to stick with money plants only this time. 

This March end, after Holi, we again went to the same government nursery. We did plant shopping with a vengeance and came with 40 money plants. This time we thought of taking the help of a mali / gardner. The advantage of living in apartment buildings is that you have ready refernces of every services. We contacted one of them and he was at our place early next morning. He did not like our plants. I can see hatred in his eyes for my plants and huge love for his own plants. I immediately knew that he is not suitable for my plants. Finally, we did the job. Years of experience have come handy and we did the planting of 40 plants in less than four hours. It has been almost a fortnight and as of now all the plants are in good health. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping this time these plants may survive the summers and feel the rains on their leaves. This will rejuvenate them to live a longer life. Long live my plants!

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