o now we are all on a forced vacation– at least I can call mine that! (Karo…na is a parodied version of Corona, in Hindi which means, do it not). But since the government has put us under this forced vacation, it has indeed put us there!
Because I recently got over with the writing of the doctoral thesis, so it is a much needed break…utter break that I am taking after July 2016. I never took such a break, or any real break– there was always so much to do academically (while there is still more to do now as well). So I was hoping to go around, meet friends, be with my parents, eat out a bit, drive around Delhi- Noida etc, meet a few neighbours that I had been promising to before plunging another time into the deep end of writing, more writing and riyaaz (and more in music research).
Yet, one good thing happened last year- that I watched a lot of gardening videos (in my last blog post my friend Vishu said I may be taking another degree in gardening as well, alas! this much is enough. But thank you the idea is interesting Vishu) strange as it may sound, while I was writing the thesis, I was also learning about growing vegetables, about cooking food (I am a reasonably good cook, but learning more things) and more gardening videos, not to mention all about politics (globally). Have been reading a lot of research in social sciences and medical sciences for several years…so the mental activity has been humongous. And I was really looking forward to applying my gardening ideas to the garden, where else. It was planning to grow vegetables… been planning from last year August how to expand the gardening space. Naturally one can only do so much when it comes to horizontal space, which means going vertical. So I also watched myriad options of how to create that vertical space- over months and budgeting for it, slowly adding one little thing at a time.
Anyways, the long and short of it is that now that the time came to implement those ideas has arrived…it seems I really have to implement them with my own hands! The gardener has stopped coming; he is anyways always too happy not to! And here I am saddled with all the seeds, manure, coco peat and whatnot
…and of course the space, which is asking for lot of work because the plants are overgrown with weeds and asking for work, beds are asking to be cleared among other things. I was just outside clicking a few pictures for this post and I saw a huge amount of tomatoes growing, and I have only recently learned the mistakes I have made with growing tomatoes, for not having put the support they require. Nevertheless one always learns from mistakes and so am I. Especially when your gardener is not proud of his farming roots and he wants to do the little dainty flower gardens and not hard core vegetable patches then one is left to one’s own means to figure it out.
Among the gardening videos there are several channels I follow. One of them is this person who speaks in a very funny manner but his ideas are very good and at least a couple of them have been tested by me. And as one outcome I have got these results exactly by the method he told me
If I take you on a tour of the garden just for a moment, you would know how much work is needed here!
After these issues there is more work, I mean planting more seeds, or make seedlings first and then planting them. there are scores of things here in packets and let me first get them up and going before talking about them. Already some seeds have sprouted, as I showed above- bottle gourd and now these- amaranth (chaulai- very rich source of iron etc). Right now these seedlings are very small and they are at the seedling stage only. But since this photo is taken from a height it is not easy to make that out.
But this is not all that is required to be done in this house, manned by one academic- musician, but also two dogs, and cockateils, fish etc
There is a huge amount of work just to keep this house in order, and working. I cannot claim I can do so much work- which includes cleaning, cooking, dusting, the plants, the birds, the fish, the yard, which I am just about to show here-
This is the amount of work required, and this does not include the basement which I will keep closed and the guest room ditto, until the household staff returns. In addition to keeping this space reasonably clean on a priority basis, the first being the kitchen and the dining area
This above photo is from the time when Ginger was still with us…so this is a nutshell of the space that needs to be kept clean in addition to the washrooms!
So while there may be people who are wondering what to do in this staycation, I have no dearth of work thanks to the 360 degree life I live! So these areas are as follows, just by way of summing up
Minimum daily work-
- Bath, exercise and riyaaz (first thing in the morning)
- Kitchen- cooking for self and dogs (separate meals obviously), this also means the two outside dogs, + doing the dishes and organizing in their separate locations, which are many and cleaning the kitchen!
2. Birds– cleaning the bird cage and giving them fresh food/water- both the inside birds and outside birds. Also putting the birds out in the morning and bring them back when it warms up
3. Fish– food twice a day and aquarium cleaning once a week
4. Watering all sides of the garden- three sides
5. Cleaning the front yard– I mean by washing it and drying with wiper
This is the minimum work required to be done daily, whether or not I can do anything after that.
- Cleaning bathroom/s
- Teaching music classes online- every student twice a week online (two students in-person)
- Learning music – once/twice a week with my own teachers
- Going to the market for grocery shopping since there is nobody getting milk etc for me!
- Washing my clothes and doggy linen
Optional work that needs to be done as per discretion/requirement
Planting new seeds/plants
Removing old plants and reworking the soil for next season
Writing (research) articles
Working on the next project
Reading research- in mental health and now Covid-19!
New musical compositions for teaching
Bathing dogs as per schedule
Counseling clients as and when they take appointments, usually online
As anyone who reads this can comprehend, this leaves little time to watch TV or anything else. So at most I may watch news on the phone and of course also turn on the TV occasionally. There is hardly any time for the phone, barring sporadic messages- which are more often than not work related. And after this if any time left check social media (facebook, linkedin, quora etc).
I can do with longer days or more energy
Oh! I forgot walking the dogs and now Rhythm just came to nudge me to remind me that I have missed it, just in case! (also time to take them out). It is a 20-30 minutes walk at least.
Now that my whole day is in front of everyone who is curious how I am spending my quarantine period, I think you have a clear picture how much there is to do here! So if I am unable to come online and answer some queries, you would understand.
OMG! this is really a lot of work, let me not read it again lest it overwhelm me 🙂
Another addendum: in all likelihood my ‘home-manager’ is likely to report tomorrow because she is also bored sitting at home. So let us keep the fingers crossed. Possibly I would be able to focus on my whole specialized tasks than managing the chores as well, god bless her!