Our Masked and Unmasked Existences: #MondayMusings #PandemicDiaries2020
Who would have thought 2020 would be a year of masked and unmasked existences. Literally speaking, too.
We all set forth into a new decade with towering aspirations and renewed goals. We had steely hopes and flagging faith that 2020, with a new decade to boot would spearhead our dreams and aspirations, encompassed with it’s new goodness.
I sometimes wonder why do we pin our hopes on a new year? Bank on it to be our new dawn? I guess it’s a human thing to do; to help us hold on to sweet hope, to start afresh and re-create our new realities, going forward.
“Hope is the beginning”, someone said.
The pandemic arrived in India in March changing our lives, if not forever, but for a long time to come. Some of us embraced the ‘new normal” reluctantly, some with an open heart, and some without a choice. The world came to a grinding halt. Offices were shut, so were schools, market places, transportation, travel, entertainment, eating out, meetings and greetings.
The only thing that did not shut down was our outer world. Mother Nature continued to go about business as usual. While we continued to live in our homes, or confined spaces and adapt to the changes and responsibilities that had been entrusted upon us. The responsibilities of social distancing, of hygiene and hand-washing, of masking and protecting our inner well-being and of managing our homes and families on our own steam.
Covid 19 arrived with a purpose. A purpose to mask and unmask our existences.
The pandemic unmasked:
Existences which had been blurred by the break-neck scramble of our lives.
Existences which we had taken for granted and that which had been offered to us on a platter.
Existences which had lost touch with oneself and one another.
Existences which had succumbed to living a robotic and mechanical life.
For some people like me who are basically ambiverts, and have worked out of home on most occasion, this new existence did not feel earth shatteringly different. On the contrary it helped me unmask my being and connect with my true self.
To do the things that I had been meaning to do for a while. I In the recent past, had been tied for time. And I must say I’m grateful to this phase for helping me re-connect with myself, my surroundings and even my family and pets, in unique ways. I consider myself domesticated (a homebody so to speak), while being a free-spirt at the same time. And this phase has been a revelation of sorts.
The Journey Within: In the last 3 month, I’ve loved practising Yoga on my own everyday, going for solo cycle rides and walks. I was the kind-of person who liked going for classes or doing exercises as a group activity. I felt far more motivated in a group set-up, or with a friend or two. I’m glad I have learned to become more self reliant and connect with my body and soul independently. Grateful to the practise of Sivananda Yoga’s Ekagrata that helped me revive my long lost love for yoga and establish that deep calming sense of connection with the self. I was able to put to practise what I had learned their and the journey with yoga in my 20s.
I’ve also been treading on the path of healing, meditation and self discovery. Doing a Personal Energy management workshop with my dear friend, Sridhar of many years, equipped and helped me stay stay connected on this healing path.
I also have myself to thank for, as I so far I have continued this resolute resolve to keep growing, which has a larger purpose in my life’s scheme of things.
Gardening: I had wished to be invested in gardening for a long time and that wish was granted. My DH (Darling Husband) has company now, even if he likes it or not! He has been our official green thumb holder for years now. I’ve invested this time tending to and showering TLC to our plants, like never before. We have managed to create a haven of flowering and fruiting plants. I speak lovingly to my plants every day and thank them for their blessed presence.
Sustainable Living and Eating: I also have long drawn conversations with my girls on how we can give back to the planet. And they teach me some more every single day. And we put all of that to practise now by living more sustainably. I make face washes at home with dried orange peels, besan (gram flour) and turmeric, hair oils and hair packs too. We are composting like never before, running the tap slow, recycling water, cutting back on single use plastic, taking bucket baths, re-using and re-purposing containers, fabrics, and food and eating a more plant based diet. This is how you can prevent a pandemic of this scale when you switch to such diets says an article in Gaurdian.
My older daughter has turned vegan and gluten free. I have followed suit, but I do take my days off to sometimes enjoy the meals I used to like. Our meat consumption drastically dropped during these three months. Imagine a Bengali giving up on her fish. It could spell sacrilege in my community, but it feels good internally to eat plant based. Yes, occasionally this Bengali does relish her fish. We’ve been eating farm-to table mostly for a while now. Our terrace kitchen garden also yields a humble harvest which is a blessing.
We all grew up living sustainably, and continued to do some bits in the past too. But I believe somewhere it got lost to the blur of urbanisation and modernisation. I’m so glad we have brought sustainability back into our lives. Thank you Corona, for these lessons learned anew.
Thanking Nature: We’ve spent a lot of time sky gazing, and engaging in a communion with nature. Hugging trees, and observing the changing colours of nature. We’ve been thanking nature around us every single day, for it’s unconditional love. And for teaching us lessons aplenty.
Giving Back: We as a family have been doing this as an ongoing process and we hope to continue doing so. I wish not to speak about it, as it takes away from the act.
On the other hand, we now live in the sweet comfort of our masks. The other day while on my walk, I could not recognise a friend who drove past, waving at me. And then on another day an acquaintance who greeted me and who I recognised thanks to the voice.
Unmasking Ourselves: Sometimes I wonder the physical masks that we wear now, will they add another layer to the masks we were used to donning earlier? Going about our days, putting up a facade that all is well in our worlds, even when it isn’t. Sometimes it’s okay to be one with our brokenness, sometimes its okay to break away from our masked existences, and be vulnerable. And to reach out to our loves ones, or people we know who will genuinely have our back.
So, let not this new layer of mask that we wear now, force us lose touch with our real selves. May we continue to acknowledge the tough days, and the not so tough days. It’s sometimes brave to accept defeat. It’s brave to even smile, or communicate, or cry through those eyes that will now going forward do the speaking.
A Caring Heart:
How do your lives feel now without the warm embrace of parents who live miles away, and you haven’t seen them since the pandemic arrived? Or that tight, warm hug from a close friend, even if you would meet them after a few days? Or the silly evenings rallying with a bunch of friends, over mindless banter, huddled together in candid conversations?Let not this new layer of mask that we wear now, force us lose touch with our real selves. Click To Tweet
In this era of masked existence, let’s take time to hug and hold on tight to the loved ones who are by our side.
If you live alone, give yourself reassuring hugs everyday. Tell yourself you’ve got it, going. Don’t give up. Talk to your pet dog, cat, hamster or fish.
Talk to family you live with, reach out to them, and re-build your connections, especially when it gets busier than usual. You need them, as much as they need you now. Don’t let the days pass by.
We are blessed to have technology in this era of another pandemic. In 1918, when the Spanish Flu struck, people had nothing else to do, then stay confined to their four walls.
So pick up the phone, and yes; make a video call. Call all those who you have lost touch with, or even those who you are in touch with. You can light up a spark of hope to these lives with that short call. And to yours too. Or send a message telling them that they are loved, or an email if that works. Good old letter writing is fun too. And do get on to those video conferencing calls with your friends, and family over a weekend game night maybe. Believe you me, they are a boon in these times.
Check on your neighbours and the elderly in your neighbourhood or family. A kind word can make a world of difference. And don’t forget your ‘armour of wit’. It makes the tough days lighter.
Lend a hearing ear to someone you barely know, who you may meet at the market place when you are running errands. Everyone is struggling to stay afloat these days and every kind word counts.
And believe you me, when you make someone else smile, your heart glows with this fuzzy warmth.
Let’s together mask and unmask these existences, and spread the cheer. We know how much we all need it, as does the world at large.
Have you considered masking and unmasking yourself during this pandemic?
What is it that has kept you afloat?
‘THE PANDEMIC THAT CHANGED OUR LIFE UPSIDE DOWN’ is a blog train has been initiated by blogger Ila Varma to bring bloggers together to share numerous experiences of their #pandemiclockdown2020.
I’d like to thank Neha for introducing me and handing me the baton for the #pandemiclockdown2020 blog train where a bunch of bloggers have come together to share their quarantine experiences. You can read Neha’s post here – ‘Pandemics helped families adapt and evolve”
I now pass the baton to Sudha Krishnan. You can read her post at Sukris blog.
45 thoughts on “Our Masked and Unmasked Existences: #MondayMusings #PandemicDiaries2020”
The mask that clamped humans has unmasked nature to its true beauty. Isn’t it positive?
Yes, that’s the most reassuring and magical thing that has happened.
Thanks for visiting Lakshmi.
I agree with your thought that Covid 19 has arrived with a purpose. And it has accomplished what it wanted to achieve. This pandemic did help us to connect with our true selves. And yes I agree with you that we should not allow this new layer of the mask to force us to lose touch with our real selves. Loved reading your interesting take on the prompt, Natasha.
Thanks so much Neha. So glad it resonated.
Great post. Many things got masked and unmasked during this tough situation, Learned a lot many things during this pandemic. Much inspiring post overall. Loved reading it.
Oh yes well nobody likes to wear a mask but all do wear it. SOme visible and some invisible. But the new mask that we will wear after the lockdown should be towards a more sustainable living in tandem with nature/
Such a lovely and positive post and I really admire the title so much. It is unique..we had also done various creative activities to keep ourselves busy during this hard days. And yes technology also helped all of us a lot.
Jo hota hai acha ke liye hi hota hai. This lockdown was the best warning for us to stop taking things for granted. You have described your learnings really well.
Bilkul lach farmaya. So hota hai aches ka like, Hota hai, our manzoorey Khuda Hota hai. 🙂
Yes, we can now try and remember never to take life for granted.
Thanks for swinging by Paresh.
Having our family around, getting good food, having a roof on top-can we ask for more during this time when we see the entire world has experienced a major shift. It breaks my heart to see small children of migrant workers or pregnant women walking miles in search of livelihood but still holding a smile on their faces. This pandemic has taught us so much. On personal front, I keep telling myself that this time is not going to come again so make the best out of it.
Yes, so much to learn from the less- privileged.
Yes, you said it Alpana. Make the best of what we have, when we have it. 🙂
The pandemic has certainly unmasked the best and worst in people.
My life hasn’t really changed much actually as I have always been a homebody. But not being able to see my aged parents for more than 3 months was worrisome!
I did find my zen garden in the kitchen during lockdown and my repertoire of recipes has certainly widened!
Beautiful post as always, Natasha!
Oh! I know what you mean Veronica. Miss my dad and in-laws so much. Almost decided to drive down 9 hours to see my Dad this week, but chose not to after weighing the pros and cons. We are currently the hot bed of the pandemic and can’t risk my 80 year old father.
I’m so happy to hear about your zen garden. Would love to see some interesting pictures and recipes. This #WW?
Always a pleasure to chat with you. Big hugs.
A very well-written and candid post on your personal reflections during this lockdown. I have seen a huge personal growth during this period, so I guess the unmasking has been fruitful for me.
Guess we are on the same boat. Yes, some day are really hard, but then no sunshine without a cloud. 🙂
Thanks for swinging by.
Corona mask that we wear is a physical mask. To show the real us, we must tear off the perinneal mask of hypocrisy we wear all the time. The mask of being unselfish while hoping inside that what is there for me. As Sri Rama Krishan said convergence of mouth and mind is the greatest task of this age. We need to remove the mask.
Thanks you for sharing Sri Ramkrishna’s quote. I’ve grown up to his teaching and admirable life.
Yes, we need to be true to ourselves and also the world at large.
Thank you for reading.
This quarantine time has taught us many things and value what we have.
True Ghazala. How are you?
Your post made me feel grateful for the lockdown. Come to think of it there really are a hundred reasons to be grateful for. Life slowed down for a bit and I think all of us needed that as did Mother Nature.
I’m glad the posted added a dose of optimism.
How have you been? How are the twins?
Take care and be safe.
I can see your creativity through the easter bunny mask. Well written Natasha, though pandemic made us met with the toughest phase of our lives but also given us lessons learned for a lifetime.
Yes, Archana 🙂
Thanks for visiting.
Wow, such a lovely post, and the pic of bunny and tree hugger in you is awesome.
We actually felt thankful for what we had in our hands during this lockdown and masked our life to stay safe.
Sustainable living is something I had been following for years now and so happy that everyone is realizing its importance when they stayed inside in lockdown and thoughts were diverted to heal our nature.
Mask is an essential garment and something we can’t leave our house without. Guess what I had kept a sanitizer and mask in each of my bags and car so I won’t forget it ever.
Stay blessed and shower gratitude.
Of course our masks are a body part now. And we need to stay safe.
What we need to tear off is the mask of disguise that we often end up wearing.
Easier said than done! But doable with some inner work.
Thanks Pragun, for writing in.
Oh that Easter bunny with a mask on is so cute. I spent most of my time on this post looking at it…! 🙂
Ha! Ha! He was to be my feature image, then I thought he might as well sit pretty amongst the other pictures. 😉
You did an extraordinary resume of your life during this period. I am convinced that everything is happening has a strong reason. Could be personal, but also a global reason. The planet was suffering,
due to many causes, human causes. So She needed surely a pause. She needed to heal. Honestly, I am not convinced that this lesson was understood correctly by those responsible. But many people learned a lot from this period. You discovered amazing possibilities of becoming strong inside you. Thank you for sharing those interesting links from your discoveries.
And when you smile is good for you, for those around you and for the Universe!
So lets smile, dear friend, whatever we feel inside us! All the best! Be safe and think smart! 🙂
Ah! My friend you are so kind and liberal with your words. Yes, we need to hold on to these lessons. And not forget them when things go back to “normal”.
I’ll remember to smile, Suzana 🙂 Thank you.
Being an ambivert myself, and working from home, I too didn’t feel anything different when the lockdown was announced. But, yes, I do miss hugging my mom and dad, meeting my friend and talking nineteen to the dozen with her.
How life has changed, na? There are some good things that have happened in our life despite the crisis, and there are some that we would rather not think about.
Gratitude for everything, that’s all I say to myself as I put on my mask before leaving for the market place, every once a week.
Love your candid expressions like always dear Shilpa. Thank you for sharing.
I’m missing my Dad so much that I feel like boarding a flight or driving down to Lucknow to see him now. He has been all alone for the last 3-1/2 months.
Such a nice write up, Natasha. I am thankful for this phase as I am together with my family. There are many times when I feel irritated but when I see my kids playing and laughing together, I stop for a while and feel blessed.
I know that feeling Geethica.
Thank you for visiting.
Even my start learning gardening with my hubby. Everything is good in bad thing too,I learn that in covid-19
Thank you for reading Gurjeet. And writing in.
Very well penned and soulful thoughts. Felt good reading your post.
Thanks a lot Sudha. That was the idea. To make all of us feel good.
The reason I write these optimistic posts is to inspire myself as well as others.
Thank you for dropping a comment.
A nice write up. I have noticed huge development in my emotional status these days. And what’s good I have found in me that the cook and
the gardener in me have been crawling out.
That’s lovely Shreemayee. 🙂 Enjoy the journey. Thank you for visiting.