It is day 20 of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in India and I am jealous of the Bollywood stars who look fit and glamorous even when doing menial jobs at home.
It is totally unreal how good actress Katrina Kaif looks while doing the dishes and drying them. There’s sunlight in her hair, she is smiling and showing her pearly whites as she holds up a plate and wipes it with a towel, while wearing a stylish and colourful T-shirt.
(There are of course, other actors who are also fashionistas such as Sonam Kapoor, who do not know where the kitchen is in their homes, according to a satirist and mimic, but that’s another story).
During these past 20 days I have realised that one has to be rich to be able to survive and enjoy the lockdown and that the middle class (people like me) is suffering because there are no housemaids
The lockdown is definitely driving the celebrities crazy, because Neha Sharma, another Indian star, took up the T-shirt Challenge in her home, where you have to put on a T-shirt while doing a handstand, and she did it with a broken wrist.
Other actors have gone on Instagram showing off their workouts wearing gym pants that look like they are painted on to them.
Farah Khan, a film director, dancer and choreographer, and spoilsport, blasted these celebrities, saying that the world is suffering through a pandemic and “all you are worried about are your figures”.
Luckily, the Instagram videos have not stopped despite this telling off.
During these past 20 days I have realised that one has to be rich to be able to survive and enjoy the lockdown and that the middle class (people like me) is suffering because there are no housemaids.
I tried washing dishes and after 10 minutes it gave me lower back pain as the silly kitchen sink has been stylishly designed by a sadistic interior designer, to be at a low level where I have to bend down from my waist.
A week without a housemaid (for children it is even more depressing as they now have to deal with their parents rather than a companion that is fun) and our apartment looked like a movie set for Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s novel, ‘Heat and Dust’.
We did not know that the pervading thin layer of dust that blanketed everything in our home was giving us allergies.
Every time I sneezed, my wife gave me a dirty look and seemed ready to call the Pandemic Police, who I believe come to the house wearing masks and take you away and put you into a solitary room, stamp your hand and hack your smartphone so that you can be tracked wherever you go.
For the past 20 days every day seemed to me like it was Groundhog Day. If you recall, the movie was about a weatherman who goes to a town for an assignment. When he wakes up the next morning he realises he is reliving the same day again and again.
I was under the impression that my incarceration would end on the 21st day, and I was ironing my T-shirt waiting to go back to a life of mall crawling, when Indian Prime Minister Modi and the chief ministers held a video conference, all sitting in their various states and all wearing face masks like it was a satirical end-of-the-world disaster movie, and decided to keep me inside my home for another two weeks.
But they decided to be kind and gave me permission to go shopping (on foot) to the nearest store for bare necessities.
“Please get dish washing liquid and a new mop and don’t go wandering about,” warned my wife, handing me a shopping list. “I heard the policemen are wearing coronavirus helmets and scaring people.”