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 πŸ™‚ 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 During the Lockdown and also for a long time after the lockdown was withdrawn , everyone were forced to do all the household chores by themselves and everyone in the family contributed.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 πŸ™‚ .Street Food is something which people cannot resist πŸ™‚ . ‘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 πŸ™‚ . 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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Father’s Day 21 June 2020 , World Yoga Day and Solar Eclipse

India celebrates a lot of festivals which are more religious or connected with Nature , Seasons or Harvest.

With all the communication happening all over the world and people travelling all over, we too have incorporated some of the special days being celebrated in other countries. Father’s Day is one such day.

Father’s play a very important role in Indian society. They are the bread earners in majority of the families and take care of the children till they are grown up and begin to earn. There are several families where the parents and son continue to live together even after the son is married. A lot of respect is given to parents.

Everyday is a Father’s Day in such families.

However, this specific day which is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June every year since 1910 is definitely special. This day gives us the opportunity to recall all the guidance and support given by our Dad’s during our growing years. It is an opportunity to stop and think about Dad’s who have made a lot of sacrifices to provide for the children. An occasion to celebrate the day with some special moments with our Dad’s and to show our love and affection.

Today is ‘World Yoga Day’ too. If Father’s Day is imported into India , Yoga Day is being exported to the World. This is exactly what the world now requires. To imbibe the best from all over the world and evolve into better human beings. Hubby wanted me to click a few pics while he does a puts Yoga poses. It was fun directing and clicking. These pics were then sent to their HR team asproof of doing Yoga πŸ™‚

In this part of the country the Solar eclipes today was partial. All of us at home decided to do some cleaning of the house during the eclipse. Most Indians follow the tradition of not cooking or eating during this period and we followed suit. Had lunch very late in the afternoon and had grilled fruits , vegetables and Paneer (Cottage cheese) for dinner πŸ™‚

This time we used skewers which we ordered online and it definitely made grilling much simpler and faster. I was a little apprehensive about an Electric grill but it is very convenient and we are enjoying the time spent during the grilling process.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 4 June 20 : Random musings

Feeling very happy today.

My first Bhendi’s are here. Several buds were drying up and falling off and I didn’t know what to do.

Finally these have stayed on. Feeling very happy seeing these  πŸ™‚ . This plant is growing in a container.

Another reason for being happy is because my son has made scrambled egg on his own , without any help from me.

Every mom is very happy whenever the child does anything on their own for the first time and this too is a memorable event.

My son loves to make omlettes and was using a non-stick pan all these days. I ordered a steel pan online today for making omlettes only and will gift this to my son :). Am sure he will love the gift.


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Lock-Down Dairies 30 May 20 : Restaurants , Religious places , hotels and shopping malls to be open, my first Bhendi / Ladies finger ,Β  organic seeds online, unboxing a Jet water spray gun

New Lockdown guidelines in India:

All Restaurants ,Religious places, hotels and shopping malls to be open from 8 June onwards.

Opening of Schools, colleges, congregations ,intra state and interstate movement , international travel, cinema halls will be decided in the next phase.

Got to wait and watch whatΒ  is in store for the population in India ,now that the monsoons are also arriving.

My first Bhendi :

After several buds drying and falling off ,my first Bhendi successfully survived :).

It is very exciting to see the life cycle of a growing plant, especially something that we have personally tended to.

Organic seeds online :

I had a few vegetable seeds at home but they were not sprouting . I didn’t know where to get good ones and googled. Decided to buy online. I ordered a packet with 15 varieties of seeds and received them today. These are the seeds that I received.

Will be sowing a few of these soon.

Jet water spray gun :

A few weeks ago , we had a lockdown party with my brother’s and sisters families in our cellar/stilt floor. Since it is open and dirty ,we decided to wash the whole place. It took almost one hour for the three of us to wash the whole place . It was then that I decided to buy a jet spray gun . Received the package today and unboxed it.

However, we found that the hose pipe we had at home didn’t fit into the gun. A clamp is required to fit the pipe to the gun. We are hunting for a clamp. I am looking forward to do some good cleaning of the windows on the first floor too, which has been difficult.

Will review once I start using it.

~ Swasthirasthu~


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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 – 28 May 20 : my weight loss, Global swarming , jet water spray gun.

It is back to full days at work and I am finding it a bit difficult to do all the cooking and packing in the morning. I get a lot of help from hubby ,in spite of it I am finding it very strenous. My food is very different from what hubby and my son eat and this is making things even more difficult. I have lost 10kgs in 4 months since I started following ‘Natural Lifestyle’. The consultants at the helpdesk of ‘Natural Lifestyle’ say that the body will stabilise at a particular weight and what is important is to be healthy. Yes, I do feel good other than the weight.

Read the news that Locusts swarms are wreaking havoc on the vegetation in many states in the country. They had arrived from Pakistan to Rajasthan and then moved to Gujarat and Maharashtra. They supposedly move with the flow of the wind and don’t know where they are headed next. A lot of food crops have been lost and this is very dangerous for the future supply of food.

A couple of weeks ago , we had a lockdown potluck lunch with my Sister and Brothers family. The lunch venue was out stilt floor which is more of a garage with lot of space. We washed the whole area using a normal water pipe and found it very difficult to clean the whole place. It was then that I wanted something that would help on washing floors faster.No sooner i came across this product on Seniority.in and immediately ordered it.

Will unbox the package ,use it and will write a review of the product this weekend . Yes, I am very excited about this item :).


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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 πŸ’―% 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 – 16 May 20: Video editing softwares , photography skills using a Smartphone ,Gimbal ,

I have been creating , editing and uploading a few videos during the Lockdown. I have used free apps on Android and found them easy to work with for quickly editing a video. However, I feel that the presentation is an important aspect that helps to retain the audience attention. To achieve this it is very important to use a good video editing software. I was beginning to find it difficult to edit on the phone and so switched to my laptop. Another reason for doing this is that there is little storage space on my phone and am finding it difficult to shoot more videos :). I can now copy the videos to the laptop and do all my editing. I downloaded a freeware today and working on my next video.

I also strongly feel that a good video is shot differently and makes an impact on the audience to want to see more. Looked up a few other videos on youtube to help me learn a few new ways to record videos. I have to start practicing too.

I was talking to my brother this morning about a video he sent . It is about capturing the rotation of the Earth using a camera. Was curious to know how the position of the camera changes while the Earth rotates . During the conversation he mentioned a ‘Gimbal’ . Heard about it for the first time and I found it to be a very useful device to record videos without much vibration.

Not really sure if I will have sufficient time to record more videos once I go back to office and resume work.

Almost 84,000 C19 positive cases in India and death toll is close to 3000 , recovery rate is 32% and government thinks that the fatality rate is low and the economy is slowly opening up. Can’t really imagine what the future has in store for the country.