Lockdown special: A day in the life of a working couple

A lockdown special meme: A mother is on a video call giving cookery lessons to her daughter . It is  a delightful video in which the mom is shown giving detailed instructions ” yeh karo , aise karo , kam dalo, …,” telling what and how to do. Amusing is the way she moves her head in disapproval when her directions are not properly complied with. The best is the glee on the face of  the mother  as she is seen enjoying her moments of glory.

Of all the memes that have popped up recently, I find this one to be the most amusing, and also relatable as I see myself in place of the mother giving cooking instructions to the children. Ever since the lockdown, I, too, have started feeling important, regaining some lost ground in the life of children who have been feeling lost in the absence of domestic help. I get a sense of importance  as I give them tips on issues ranging from simple kitchen queries to sharing secret ‘maa ki’ recipes on phone. A big boost to my ego!

Lockdown has brought an upheaval in the life of everyone including the children–my son and daughter-in-law , who had earlier been dependent upon their didi, the maid for cooking and other household tasks. For the working couple now it is ‘work from home’ combined with ‘work at home’. After the lock-down was announced, the young couple began managing the household responsibilities enthusiastically without the domestic help. As a mother I felt proud, and also impressed with the way the two of them were jointly carrying out the domestic chores.

Well, initial enthusiasm of the couple to keep the house spic and span waned within a week. Eagerness to try out new recipes started declining. They were fed up cleaning utensils. Grimy pressure cooker, oily pots and pans, dirty dishes, spoons and ladles that came in all shapes and sizes kept piling up in the sink, hence the conclusion- lesser the cooking, lower the utensil load. They learnt the magic shown in the ads of sparkling utensils with dish cleansing bars and liquids does not hold true in the real world. Utensils need thorough scrubbing.

A week through the lockdown, my son sent me an amusing drawing ‘The Quarantine Circle’ depicting their exhausting daily routine. The first  graphic depicts a couple, a boy and a girl-cooking, then an arrow points to the next figure in which one is sweeping and  the other is mopping the floor. The third pointer takes to the next picture of the duo washing utensils. The funniest is the last one in which the two are shown lying down completely exhausted. And the last arrow points towards the first sketch with the caption ‘repeat’. Oh my God! It really is a never ending work circle- cooking, cleaning, washing dishes and back again.

Learning the hard way how tiring, stressful and monotonous the household work tends to be!

(Published in Momspresso on 30 May 2020)

23 Replies to “Lockdown special: A day in the life of a working couple”

  1. Indeed! Life has come a full circle. Back to basics of roti , Makkan aur kaam. It is existential but it is all that we need for survival. A stark reminder that everything is “non essential “ and there was male belief that it was all and the “essential “ part just happened smoothly with the help of silent helping hands. It also brought about a realisation that this “essential “ work is not an unskilled work and I hope now we will pay and treat our helping hands better and at par with ourselves. Yes, it has been a eye openers, besides the frustration of doing mundane work repeatedly along with the social aspect the helps offer us is invaluable. This is also “ seva” of its kind and no less important than whatever else we do to make multiple times more money . Indeed all that came under “non essential “ is I may say so. I can write endlessly on this . Thank Rama for initiating it. Vasundhara

    1. Thanks Vasundhara for your in-depth analysis of the situation. You have given a new perspective , putting across your view so beautifully. Only an elevated soul can think about our help with a sense of gratitude as to how we are able to ‘make multiple times more money’ because of them.

  2. Unfortunately, in families like ours, kids are gifted with the basic help for all routines which was probably missing in our times. We, in our fifties, are the members of generation, who managed home along with profession. So, for us, what seems normal household, becomes pile of work for our young generation.

    1. Thanks Madhuri for your comments .
      I feel it is not easy to manage all the household work with challenging jobs. If children are earning well, can afford , I think there is no harm in getting domestic help.

  3. Really rama it was actually the circle of khao pio rest and again ready for work…..but everyone was sailing on the same boat except people with full time helpers….so many of us enjoyed the period of lockdown also though it was all time tiring routine….by the way yr well written article is my another favourite article..

    1. Thanks Meenu.I like the way you expressed”khao pio rest and again ready for work.” Yes, tiring routine, but was different and enjoyable too.

  4. Rama again very well written article related to current phase of lockdown.Well whatever you have written especially about cooking part can’t be generalised for all working couples who rely more on You Tube Recepies rather than traditional mother’s recepie s Even senior citizens at our age enjoyed trying new cooking skills although managing sweeping mopping cleaning washing was more tiring at our age but we still managed Necessity makes a man perfect So this Lockdown was a learning experience for all of us Enjoyed your write up Keep it up dear

    1. Thanks a ton Neena. Definitely u-tube has emerged as the best source, not just for the younger generation but we, the seniors are also exploring new recipes on the food channels. However, with our experience we are able to pass on useful tips and also share our time-tested recipes.
      It is a light piece …

  5. It is a true picture of a working couple.They are too much dependent on maids and outside food. Rama ji in a light hearted has presented truth..The young and old all will enjoy reading it.zHats off to uou Rama

  6. Rama it was a wonderful write-up on the situation that happened bcoz of Lockdown.
    We realise the importance of a person in his/her absence.
    This present generation in India is so much dependant on maids/servants (which is not the case in developed countries where labour is not easily available) that in their absence their whole world seems to crumble down…
    I loved your graphic depicting cooking-sweeping/mopping-dish washing-tired /exhausted-repeat ….
    But this lockdown has made us realise that our requirements are minimum and we should continue to do away with extravaganza…

    1. Thanks Suman for taking your tie off not just to read post your comments. Thanks a lot.
      True, scenario in India is quite different in the developed world, they manage everything on their own.here in India life turned topsy-turvy in the absence of help.

  7. It’s very sweet, ma’am. Your children are managing work from home and domestic jobs both,without any helper.W.F.H. seems very easy and comfortable, but it is not so.
    I appreciate your children.
    God bless……. .
    My best wishes

    1. Thank you so much Garima. You are right work from home seems comfortable-no travel time , no traffic hassles but it has its own issues especially when you are managing without help. However, I wrote the piece in a lighter vein …

  8. While I was going through your another ‘lockdown Special ‘article All the time I was wondering that my children must be facing the same problem. To my surprise I found that they have learnt bakery along with Samosas & chutney. I found their home spic & span . It was such a pleasant surprise to find your children becoming responsible & smart to face any challenge You can say this is Pandemic Smile for all the mothers

    1. Mrs Chopra, I like the expression’Pandemic Smile’. Indeed gratifying for a mother to see the children managing well. Sometimes I feel er keep worrying unnecessarily , they are really smart. If they can handle their high pressure jobs, learning household work is not difficult for them .

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