A list of terms I never want to hear or read again: Unprecedented times, unprecedented challenge, spike, steepest single-day spike; migrant, immigrant, inter-state worker, guest worker; new normal, lockdown, unlockdown; curfew, sanitiser, soap, infect, infection, disinfect, disinfectant, virus, coronavirus, covid, covid warriors; essential services, essential supplies; closed, temporarily closed, opened, partially opened; economic distress, financial meltdown, cutbacks, layoffs, furlough, letting-go, shutdown. Words that fill you with dread: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, fatigue, body-ache, headache, sore throat, loss of taste, loss of smell, nausea, diarrhoea. Also: Quarantine, home quarantine, containment, hospital, vaccine, thermal screening, immunity, herd-immunity, testing. And new office jargon: WFH, Zoom call, webinar, live conversation, audio conference, virtual session, virtual talk, virtual interview, virtual huddle — and the dreaded — virtual PTA.
A list of things I never want to eat again: Homemade bread, homemade dessert, homemade pizza, homemade pasta, homemade kadha — with or without honey.
A list of medicines I can do without: Vitamins, multivitamins, Vitamic C tablets, Vitamin D3, B complex, zinc boosters, immunity-enhancers; paracetamol, betadine for mouthwash, betadine for gargle. Gadgets: oxygen compacter, oximeter. Apps: Arogya Setu, hospital groups, hospital facilitators, family groups, neighbourhood groups, friends’ groups, school friends’ groups, college friends’ groups, office groups. The last may cost you your employment, so maybe you should keep that.
People I want back in my life: Cook, kabaadi wallah — I’ll pay anyone willing to take away the pile of newspapers and empties provided he agrees to also take out the garbage —every day. Anyone willing to walk the dog umpteen times a day, or five?
Cravings: Cappuccino takeaways, parties, (even) office parties, shaadis, friends (but not acquaintances), drinking with friends, drinking with acquaintances, conversation, dining out, lunch at the club, driving the car, being driven in the car, ironed clothes, wearing laundered clothes every day, haircuts, head massages, pedicures, bookshops, browsing in bookshops, buying books in bookshops, cash, spending cash, weekends out of town, weekends without the children, weekends without office work, weekends without domestic work.
Some things I don’t miss: Traffic jams, commuting, office, office meetings, office wear, office colleagues, after-office drinks, making presentations, attending presentations, writing memos, outstation day trips, writing outstation expense statements, exchanging the common cold, exchanging visiting cards, rushed lunches at the desk, getting curry on the keyboard, hastily wiping the keyboard, calling IT to complain about the keyboard, explaining how the keyboard stopped working, writing an office memo for a new keyboard, getting a new keyboard with a warning about eating at the desk, spilling takeaway cappuccino on the new keyboard…