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Ramadan has ended. We have lost all frills and fancies of our regular life. We have come to a bare minimum state of life. The positive way of looking at it is, this is all that was required. This was all that we needed. The rest of it were all wants, desires, and extravagances.

Life has been cut down to a bare minimum

We were running a race and for what? We have come to a standstill from the midst of a rat race we were busily running.

When coronavirus started its sickness wave around the world, the first thing that got cancelled after March 18 was the various board exams. March is usually the month of exams. There is an unusual sense of alarm in both the kids who appear for their boards and their parents. Then voila! All exams got cancelled in a blink. Suddenly governments and exam boards realised that all these assessments were not actually life-threatening and not very important in the larger scheme of things. The kids were surprised and very happy. Parents were relieved in bittersweet aftermaths.

Life at standstill

Next in line was our spending habits. While malls are open for shorter hours, only supermarkets are fully functional. Essentials like pharmacy were exempted from closure. Suddenly our need to buy stuff vanished. It’s been almost 2 months since we bought any clothes, or branded shoes or electronics for that matter. No new clothes, no new make-up items, no perfume shopping.

Then the restriction on movement started. House helps and cleaners could no longer reach our houses at stipulated times. So we let go of them. Safety concerns were listed. Suddenly our work from home became work 24 X 7. Office work beckoned you from 9am to 6pm and house chores filled your time from 6pm to 10pm.

No more binge-watching Netflix, no more luxury of time that was otherwise saved by venturing on work-related travel. Houses became cleaner than when certified cleaners cleaned. Food became more delicious as mum started cooking those outsourced meals. The whole family chipped in to the household chores. After a month of squabbling over who does the dishes or who swabs the floor, kids and spouse have settled into a calm routine of cleaning and cooking with mom.

No more cinemas

Novo Cinemas at weekends have become ‘No More’ cinemas. No window shopping, ‘No-More’ cinemas, no barbecue parties at airport park, no exams, no work commute, no traffic woes, no unnecessary meetings at the office, no small talk with people you actually don’t like. You don’t even have to smile an entire day if you don’t want to. No suits to the office. You can lounge all day in your track pants and yet get the next major update into the production server.

As we stumble into another week of work from home, we realise stress is bad, especially if it’s in ‘on-mode’ 24 x 7. So is your office laptop. Segregate work time, home time, chore time, and more importantly, your own downtime.

It’s OK even if you did not attend your online music classes. Cut yourself some slack. Some people have turned this unprecedented time too into a competition item. Learn a new language, make Dalgona coffee pudding, learn to play guitar, do a #dontrushchallenge, and produce an ode-video to your mum on mother’s day. It’s OK now. Slow down. Do nothing.

It’s perfectly all right to lie on your sofa in vacant or in pensive mood and remember your happiest days that flash upon your inward eye. Reboot your life, minus the frills and fancies.

— Feby Imthias is a freelance writer based in Abu Dhabi.