5.30 am: I take in the hand-washed clothes that were put out to dry the previous night before my wife finds out I had forgotten to bring them in at midnight.
6.00 am: I open the windows, put the kettle on, go downstairs to fetch the newspapers, water the pots.
6.30 am: I drive to the colony gates to fetch milk. I make a pot of milk tea for my mother. I prepare a pot of green tea for my wife. I make coffee for Mary, our resident Cook #1. I leave a pan with masala tea for Murli, our resident Cook #2. I have a glass of water.
7.30 am: My daughter says I’m late with her cold coffee. My son asks why I haven’t figured out the right amount of sugar for his wife’s glass of milk. I discuss the breakfast menu with the help. Cook #2 says he doesn’t like my cooking. Cook #1 says she doesn’t mind — not much.
9.00 am: The fried eggs ran. My son’s toast burnt. My wife’s wasn’t crisp enough. I eat the leftovers and clear the table.
9.30 am: The washing machine is loaded. The kids are at work. I make their beds so they don’t look scruffy on their video chats — what would that say of their father’s housekeeping skills?
11.00 am: Cook #1 says she’s homesick. I offer her cookies and milk. My daughter asks for a drink. I prepare a platter of fruit for the kids to snack on but they prefer chips. The dog doesn’t mind the apples but isn’t keen on the grapes.
11.30 am: HR sends an email saying I absented myself from a Zoom conference and the boss is pissed. I take the clothes out of the washing machine.
1.00 pm: Cook #2 says my daughter-in-law wants Maggi for lunch. I put chicken and vegetables in a crockpot for the rest of us, then remember my mother is vegetarian.
2.00 pm: My daughter complains that lunch is late. The dog whines, so I take him for a walk while the rest of the family have their meal. By the time I return, the cooks have eaten. I make myself a sandwich.
3.30 pm: I put an office video-con on hold to fill the empty ice trays with water. The washed dishes haven’t been put back. By the time I return to the video call, everyone has dispersed. A colleague calls to say the boss is furious.
5.00 pm: Cold coffee for my daughter. Green tea for my son, green tea without honey for his wife, green tea with lemongrass for my wife. Instant coffee for my mother. My wife decides she wants my filter coffee instead.
6.00 pm: To the colony gate to pick up groceries and medicines.
6.30 pm: Walked the dog, switched on the TV for my mother, surveyed the fridge for supplies. My daughter says not to forget dessert.
8.00 pm: Scotch for my daughter-in-law, neat. Single malt for her husband, with two cubes of ice. My daughter agrees to a vodka because we’re out of gin. Her grandmother accepts cognac. My wife wants nothing. She frowns at my rum.
10.00 pm: A friend calls for a chat: “What do you do the whole day?” “Work from home,” I tell him, “I work at home.”