Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Life during and post Covid-19 Lockdown

Had a brief experience of a slow paced life. However, it didn’t last very long and the usual hectic lifestyle is back.

No more stocking up on Groceries :

All of us had started stocking up on Groceries the moment we learnt that a Lockdown would be imposed. Everyone stocked up for a couple of months ๐Ÿ™‚ After 6 months of Lockdown , we continue to have some non-perishable food items that are unused as we were able to buy fresh groceries very soon. Now that everything is almost back to normal , there is no need to stock up anymore. Finally , Glad to free up some space in the Pantry and that’s a relief.

Maids are back inside the homes :

In India , most Urban population employ housemaids for doing the day to day household chores. During the Lockdown and also for a long time after the lockdown was withdrawn , everyone were forced to do all the household chores by themselves and everyone in the family contributed. This was one of the best things to happen because of COVID :). However, this didn’t last very long. The maids are now back inside the homes with Masks. Even during the lockdown , I continued to pay my maids/driver some amount.

Home Services are growing faster :

We were hesitant to use the services of househelp, plumbers, electricians, etc during the lockdown and learnt to do everything ourselves and also postponed certain activities. Now , we have House cleaning , Repairs , Beauty treatments etc. being carried out by professional agencies with all Hygienic practices and precautions in place. Organizations like Urbancompany , Housejoy , Quickr etc are growing fast.

Hubby and Son called up ‘Urban Company’ to get a haircut at home after 3 months of No-haircut. They didn’t want to visit a salon.

We also engaged ‘Urban Company’ for deep cleaning the home and they did a great job. These services are the need of the hour.

Shopping is back to normal :

During the lockdown , we started ordering everything online and avoided going to the stores. Everything , including vegetables were ordered online. Numerous makeshift vegetable vendors mushroomed everywhere by the roadside. People preferred to buy from them as they were in the open, rather than going inside a Supermarket. Supermarkets are now providing sanitizer’s and disposable gloves and visits to Supermarkets have increased. The makeshift vegetable vendors are not seen anymore. Not just groceries , but all kinds of stores are back in business. Festival shopping too has picked up and all clothes stores are doing well.

However, Online Shopping has increased and is here to stay. The comfort and options available are definitely more convenient.

Local transport like Autos, Cabs, buses, Metro :

For several months there was no Public transport. Public transport was permitted much later. Autos and Cabs installed a Plastic Sheet between the Driver and Passenger seats. I too installed a plastic sheet in my car as I have a driver. Initially there were a handful of passengers in Buses and Metro was not operational. I now see Buses are almost 50% occupied and Metro too is operational.

Takeaways , Restaurants and Tea/Tiffin stalls :

Eating out was a No-No for a long time. Roadside stalls selling Tea/Snacks /Street food were the first to make a comeback. Restaurants were later given the nod and instructions given to operate at around 50% capacity. Takeaways were permitted. People who were used to eating out on a regular basis in Pre-Covid era, were tired of eating healthy homemade food and are now glad they can enjoy restaurant food ๐Ÿ™‚ .Street Food is something which people cannot resist ๐Ÿ™‚ . ‘Panipuri’ carts are also doing good business. Few care about health/hygiene or they are confident of their immunity .

Visits to Religious Places :

The familiar sounds from Temples/Mosques/Churches are back and visitors have also increased.

Noisy world is back :

Loved the peaceful atmosphere during the Lockdown. The only noises that were heard belonged to the birds or someone who was selling their wares , mostly veggies , in a pushcart or a 3 wheeler. Whenever a Vendor was heard , I used to rush outside to see what was being sold and if we needed that item. Not just me but all our neighbors too would be out of their homes to have a look at what was being sold. These Vendors were like a boon and I would look forward to them ๐Ÿ™‚ . There were hardly anyone on the street. All the peace has now disappeared and noisy days are back with a bang. Grrr…brrrr…honk honk…

The Sky is BLUE !! :

Finally got to see the original ‘Azure’ Sky. Unpolluted air gave a glimpse of the beautiful Blue sky.

Clicked this from our Balcony , one fine morning during the Lockdown ….

Don’t get this view anymore.

Not much to Spend :

Didn’t have to spend for clothes , fancy stuff , restaurants , outings , attending events . We did survive but at the cost of the economy . Daily wage workers struggled to cope up.

Vacations and Holidaying :

Tourism continues to be affected , however post-Covid travel has just begun and I know friends who have started vacationing with family after being stuck inside the home for several months. Hotels and Resorts are taking all the precautions and giving offers to attract tourists.

Travelling by Air :

Air travel has resumed. Contactless Entry at the Airport , contactless Boarding and other Contactless services are in place. Social distancing in the Terminal and inside the flight is also being ensured.

Nature doesn’t need us , we are dependent on Nature :

Human greed is never ending and we want to show our superiority all the time . COVID-19 and the Lockdown made us realize that Nature is more powerful than humanity. It is now obvious that Mother Earth doesn’t need us and Humanity is the virus that is plaguing the Earth.


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First COVID +ve case confirmed in my company followed by panic

The first COVID +ve case in my company was confirmed yesterday.Thousands of Employees and Non-Employees work in our company. The news spread like wildfire within minutes in all the different whatsapp groups. All the primary contacts of this person have been told to quarantine themselves at home.

Our HR department immediately convened a series a meetings and formed a few committees which will oversee such cases. Procedures to inform HR regarding sysmptoms, going for the test , quarantine for self and family , referrals to Panel hospitals etc were quickly decided and circulated on our Intranet.

Senior colleagues in my department met this morning to decide as to how we can restrict movement of others coming into our building. It was decided to put up a barricade at the Main door of the building and have the door manned so as to stop others from entering our building. The decision was implemented immediately and we heaved a sigh of relief. Glad that we have reduced the probability of the virus sneaking in.

I had always been wondering as to how people are get infected , in spite of taking all possible precautions. I got my answer today when I observerd a colleague taking of his mask while talking on the phone. I noticed that he touched his face several times during the conversation. After his talk ended , I told him my observations and he was surprised. I now have a clue as to how we are committing blunders …. purely by ignorance. Even the so called educated are not exempt from such blunders.

All my family and well wishers are worried for me and have been suggesting that I work from home . Unfortunately our HR doesnt permit WFH , as we are a manufacturing company. The maximum possible is to work in Shifts , so the workforce is staggered. But with thousands of people it is not practical.

The best we can do it to limit meeting coworkers , have very short conversations, not to remove the mask at any cost and keep sanitising the hands.

The Enemy has surrounded us. Have to be very cautious at every step. Quite possible that I might have touched the virus and then gave it a nice wash with the sanitizer ๐Ÿ™‚

Have to be overly cautious as I have comorbidities.

I still feel confident that I can defeat the enemy ๐Ÿ™‚


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Lock-Down Dairies – 7 June 20 : Rural India turning into hotspots for COVID, sowing seeds for the first time using cocopeat , Plastic shield in our car.

Migration and Reverse Migration of Migrants :

As the migrant workers move back to their villages from the cities, they are carrying the virus along with them. Having lost their jobs and clueless as to the future, they have begun going back to their roots.Hopefully they have the immunity to fight the virus and dont infect the locals there.

Almost 23 million migrants have left the cities. There is now a shortage of skilled workers in the construction businesses and the builders are flying back the migrants to the cities.Cost of labour and construction material has already gone up.

My First Date with Cocopeat :

For the first time I used cocopeat for preparing seedlings. Was nice to see the block of cocopeat that I bought online , soaking up all the water and turning into a soil like mixture. I added some sand and red soil and mixed everything well. I then sowed Brinjal and Tomato seeds. Looking forward to the seedlings ๐Ÿ™‚

Installation of Plastic Shield inside the Car :

I had ordered a plastic curtain online which I wanted to use as a plastic shield in our car. As I have a Driver to drive me to office , I wanted to be safe by fixing a Plastic sheet between the front seats and the passenger seats at the back. This was one important suggestion given by my Ayurveda Doctor when I asked for his advise whether I can go to Office once the lockdown was removed.

I have uploaded a very small video clip of the final installation. Here is the link :

~Sarve Janaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 5 June 20 : World Environment Day , my first Lodge cast iron pan , restaurants and Malls to be open soon

Usually every year on this day , a lot of activity takes place wrt planting of trees , rallies to spread awareness of sustainable Environment etc.

With COVID-19 , these activities have come to a standstill. No mention of these activities in any social media or the News. Just when we need to plant more trees , we are unable to do so ,which is very sad.

Traffic is back to normal and continues to pollute the atmosphere.

Only Nature can cure itself and COVID seems to be one such treatment.

My love for traditional utensils makes me want invest in these. Food cooked in such utensils is healthier and tastier.I had always wanted to buy a Lodge Cast iron pan and finally my wish materialised. I do have a few other cast iron stuff but never owned a Lodge ๐Ÿ™‚

There are times when I seriously think I should live a minimalistic life but at times I just cannot control My cravings :). My first Lodge pan was delivered today.

I also inaugurated it today by making potato fry. I wanted to buy a 10″ pan but inadvertently ordered the 12″ one.

10″ would have been a little small. Very happy with the product. However, maintaining these cast iron stuff is not an easy task.

The SOPs for opening restaurants and Malls is out. Restaurants can permit only 50% capacity to be occupied and have to ensure proper sanitisation of the place and cooks and waiters etc. The cinema halls in the Malls are not permitted to Operate. The food courts in Malls to should permit only 50% capacity for dine-in.

I am not going to any Restaurant or Mall in the near future.

~Stay safe~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 2 June 20 : Covid-19 and 6 feet distance inside a car with car driver , separate plastic shield and A/C vent for every seat in the car, received my package with a plastic curtain today

I have been going to work since last 15 days. I have a car driver who drives our car. One important precaution to take during the current COVID situation is to wear a mask and also maintain 6 feet physical distance. How is this possible inside a car.

As of now , the windows of the car are lowered and we wear masks and also a face shield. This arrangement is not easy during summer ,as it is very hot and suffocating.ย  With the windows open ,the car interiors would get dirty too.

But I have no choice.

I am now thinking as to how I should manage during the coming monsoons when it would be difficult to open the windows.

I had ordered a plastic curtain online and received the package today.

I will be setting up this sheet as a shield inside the car. Surely the whole setup is going to spoil the car interiorsย  with all the sticking that is mandatory.ย 

This arrangement would be suffocating too, when it rains and the windows have to be closed. Our car doesn’t have A/C vents at the back seat and I am going to have a tough time during the monsoons too.

Hopefully ,all the cars in the future would mandatorily be designed and manufactured with a shield for every seat. Just like the curtains in the ICU for each bed in a hospital.

Not just a shield, but also a separateย  A/C vent for each seat.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 29 May 2020 : COVID Hospital Bills, Rail Adukku Pathiram-Travel kit

Came across a photograph of a Bill/check belonging to a COVID +ve patient. The duration of the treatment is 14 days and half the amount is for the Room/bed charges. Rest of the amount is for the tests, medication, doctor consultation and care. The bill is running to almost Rs3 lakhs which is a lot of money by any standards. This bill is from a private hospital. Dont really know how much is billed by a government hospital.

I am fond of traditional Cookware and this Travel Kit called ‘ Rail Adukku Pathiram’ is going viral in social media. It is attracting almost everyone.

14 different utensils of different shapes and sizes fit into one big Utensil. This was carried when people went on pilgrimages more than 150 years ago. They cooked food in these vessels as there were no restaurants.

It will be very interesting to see variants of this kit coming up soon in various other metals.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 27 May 20 : Update on lockdown in India , my first taste of Himayat Mangoes

While the number of C19 Cases stand at 1.5 lakh and fatalities at almost 4300 , the economy has opened up to a large extent. Hardly any signs of a Lockdown. Almost all stores have opened shop. Tailors, dry cleaners, jewellery stores, stationery stores, plasticware selling stores etc all are now open.

Dining in Restaurants, schools and colleges , public transportation like buses and Metro , big malls are yet to be operational. Few autos and cabs are seen.

Trains for migrants and domestic flights are being operated between the states.

We may soon see a big spike in the cases soon with all the Migrants moving from cities to the villages.

Also, with the monsoons coming up ,don’t really know what is in store …another actual lockdown perhaps.

My first taste of Himayat Mango :

Ordered this box on Farmizen. Great packing and delivery.

One box is 3kgs and has 7 Himayat Mangoes.

I did not know anything about this variety of Mango untill after I tasted it.

While eating I was judging the shape, the smell, the amount of pulp,the sweetness, fibre content in the pulp, the thickness of the skin and the taste of the skin etc

Shape: bit longer compared to the width

Smell: did not have any sweet smell

Quantity of pulp: quite a lot

Size of seed: thin

Sweetness: though it was not ๐Ÿ’ฏ% ripe, it was very sweet and mildly tangy.

Fibre content: no fibre

Thickness of the skin: very thin

Taste of the skin: edible

Feel of the pulp: very soft and smooth consistency

Enjoyed the fruit. Will wait for a couple of days to taste the next one.

~ Sarve janaaha sukhino bhavanthu ~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 21 May 20 : Missing Mom n Dad , ripening raw Mangoes naturally using a jute bag

Missing my parents :

For the first time in my life ,I haven’t seen my parents for four months. Missing them a lot. They were supposed to come back to the city just before the lockdown but were unable to. Listening to the news on the Television about how bad the virus is affecting senior citizens in the cities , Dad decided to stay back.

They seem to be doing well , and assure us that everything is going well at their end and that they are happy in the village.

We do a whatsapp video call whenever they go to the outskirts of the village where the mobile signal is good.

In fact, folks in the villages are extra careful and watchful when such situations occur. Many villages barricade their main roads. They keep a watch on who is coming back to the village from other towns or cities and inform the police.

So far so good. The villages are safe as on date and that is a good sign.

However, the same is not happening in the cities. C19 +veCases are rising day by day while the lockdown is more like an eyewash.

Mangoes ripening under the jute bag :

There are several ways to naturally ripening raw Mangoes. Dry hay from paddy is one of the most prevalent method to ripen a lot of mangoes.

Here are my mangoes

At home people usually place the mangoes inside rice bags full of rice or inside an empty jute bag. The mangoes should not be completed closed and suffocated but there should be some air circulation otherwise they would rot.

These mangoes are from my neighbours Mango tree, some of the branches have encroached into our area :). Organically grown and naturally ripened.

Continue to stay safe !


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Lock-Down Dairies – 17 May 20 : My Face Shield , Lock-Down lunch with extended family, games we played during our childhood.

I will be going to work from tomorrow..end of Lockdown for me.

One vendor of my company had sent pictures of PPEs a while ago. One of them was the Face shield. When I had enquired he said he was supplying to Hospitals. Since I am dependent on my driver to take me to work in my car ,I thought it would be good if I can get a few of them. Luckily he agreed to give me and he promptly delivered today.

Face shield

Very light and comfortable to wear.

My brother and sisters families had decided last week to have a potluck lunch in our stilt floor today.

I made ‘Mirchi ka salan’ and ‘raita’.

Rangoli Raita ๐Ÿ™‚

I shared this photo with my classmates from college and everyone loved the design and the appearance :). One of them even named it ‘ Rangoli Raita ‘ … sounds apt isn’t it !?.

Other items in the Menu were Biryani, fruit salad and Double ka meeta.

Enjoyed teaching and demonstrating a lot of games that we played during our childhood ,to the kids.

Pittu / Seven stones / Langocha game

Pittu/Seven stones/Langocha , 4 pillars, chain, thokkudu billa, kaccha kaayalu (5 stones) , Veeri Veeri gummadi pandu etc were some of the games that were played without buying any stuff. All are team games which we played everyday for a couple of hours after school ๐Ÿ™‚

Kids were interested in learning and playing these games.

We started of by maintaining some distance but very soon forgot all about it. A few neighbours too were curiously peeping on hearing the laughter and noises. I had to keep telling everyone to maintain silence which was very difficult.

We all had a video call too with our parents for a while.

~ Let go and be free ~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 14 Mar 20 : Hubby is back to work , Vegetables to be sown in May, Plastic shields inside cabs

Hubby is back to work today after almost 50 days of social distancing. While getting ready to go to work and wearing socks and shoes he said , ‘I feel like a school kid going to school after Summer vacation’ ๐Ÿ™‚ .

I have a few emply containers now and ready to sow some seeds. I googled to find out which seeds are best sown in May and found that Parwal , colocasia, ginger, turmeric, onion, capsicum, okra, brinjal, chilli, coriander are to be sown now.

I had planted 4 colocasia roots in the beginning of May unknowingly and two of them are growing.

Colocasia

I sowed chilli seeds last month and transplanted them around the last week of April. They are growing too. I have capsicum seeds and sowed them today.

I too have to start going to work from 18 May onwards. I called my Ayurveda Doctor to ask him for his advise, as I depend on a Driver. He asked me questions like , where does he stay , whether he stays in a slum or a proper house, whether he has a separate bath/toilet . Said I should give him Tinaspora cordifolia and zincovit . That I should keep the car windows open , if possible use a full face cover , to use a plastic shield between the front and back seat of the car, to spray sanitizer on this cover frequently.

I know one vendor who is supplying Face shields and I am checking if he can give me a few. He is usually supplying to Hospitals and Health workers.

The plastic shield in the car is something that I was hearing for the first time.I assumed that a lot of people in Mumbai are already using these as the number of C19 cases in Mumbai is very high. Doctor lives in Mumbai. I looked up on the Internet to check for some pictures as to how these plastic shields are fixed and came across very few videos that too only from China. These are being widely used by Cab drivers.

A thick plastic sheet fixed between the front seats and back seats

Got an idea as to how to fix these shields . I now have to get hold of a two sided tape and a big thick plastic sheet. Seems like a big project. But I like the idea. Very useful for people like me who are dependant on a driver to move around. Surely the Drivers too would prefer to be safe and this is a great way.

Hopefully these plastic shields will soon be available in the market.

Anything and everything to be safe.

Take Care folks !!