The Silver Battle During COVID

Indeed, Coviditus has become a boring subject. The trajectory of change in a fast moving technologically advanced world has left us all impoverished both in terms of economy and health. The print media and the electronic media swell with information on spiralling cases and horror stories which are bone chilling. There is no one who can truthfully say that he or she is unaffected. Some of us, are lucky to have roti, kapda and makaan, while the underprivileged battle on bravely, with no light at the end of the tunnel.

My interaction with elders living with our family and growing up watching their age-related problems of mobility, and other health conditions prompted me along with dedicated volunteers to establish UDHAVI 7 years ago, to bring light into the lives of seniors. Unfortunately for the past three months and the various lockdowns, we are unable to function as before, so we have begun to call them regularly and connect them to services which makes them very happy.

Having worked with elders most of my adult life, I know that the lockdown brings in its wake feelings of diffidence, low self-esteem, and an inability to accept the claustrophobic containment, accentuated by the impatience of the younger members of the family. I find that many elders suffer from depression and ask us if they will ever live to see their grandchildren who have flown out of the country to seek greener pastures. The hardest hit are the elders who live alone, with no family within calling distance. Some elders are locked in with a live-in maid.

Outlining ways to bring cheer into a drab life ringing with ominous threats of infection, reaching out to them is bound to improve their outlook and clear their minds of the psychological impact that Covid 19 has brought into their lives. We assure them that as a service group we can connect them to facilities which we are aware of, and that we are only a phone call away should they need help.

Each of us, elders included, should address the new normal and accept it, as life is not going to be the same as it was. When we arise in the morning and we express our gratitude for all that we have been blessed with in this dangerous situation, your mood gets lighter. Bathing, and dressing pleasantly gives you a sense of self confidence when you look at yourself in the mirror. And if you have someone locked in with you that’s all the more reason why you should indulge in good grooming. Many of the women I know have given up the clothes that they normally wear for the comfort of loose nighties as they call them. Why not go in for some smart caftans if you want to wear them? The plaint is no one comes home anyways, what if I remain dowdy? Do we then, dress for others or for ourselves? I confess though I am a hard core saree person, I have given it up during this stressful season, for the simple reason, that I wear only cottons and have to bear with washing, starching and ironing sarees which compounds the load of housework which falls on me..

Even if it is family, proximity and being locked in with them for three months brings in its share of tension, and tempers are on the rise. It makes it worse to have to look at a woman or man with dishevelled overgrown hair or beard, unkempt, and wearing the shabbiest of clothes. I dress for myself, and for my maid! Ridiculous as it may sound, imagine if you were young in your thirties or forties, imprisoned with an elderly woman who looks like something the cat brought in! I wear my kurtas, yes ironed ones, only, I might give a miss to the salwars or churidars and wear lungis instead which are comfortable and smart. We might be setting the new Covid fashions. Never mind if you haven’t had a hair trim in three months, your hair has grown long enough for you to get your hairdresser to give you a new hairstyle once this wretched thing passes.... Oh, for the little hair accessories I used to wear, the protected rubber bands with beads, the ring combs and what not to fasten your fly away hair at the nape of your neck! Did I have to give them all away? How would you foresee that you would be marooned for months at a stretch?

And if you still have the energy to cook, I can tell you it is a wonderful therapy. Getting back to the kitchen after you have had someone to do your basic cooking is not easy, but once you get into the routine you will actually enjoy it. I have friends who are trying out new recipes and posting the pictures on our group. And what is more the men have started cooking! I try out dishes which I haven’t done in years, even if they are a trifle complicated. Since I live alone with a maid, I find I am cooking for her, since I eat very little. Vested interests! I need to pamper her as she is indispensable at this point of time. Her childlike appreciation of my cooking encourages me to do more.

I have accumulated plenty of milk, so my woman Jeeves hinted broadly that she loves kheer. And even if it means having to stand over the stove and boil the litre of milk till it thickens, I mean to do it in a day or two. And since I have an aversion for anything sweet, you know who is going to consume most of it... All for a good cause don’t you think.?