The other day, my son turned away from the glowing screen to look at me. Teacher says “hi”, he smiled. My first reaction to my son was, “oops, sorry, I didn’t realize” and not “Hi back”. I later reflected on my appearance - disheveled hair and the nasty pajama. But, such are the times we live in.
In my defence, all I was trying to do was get those scrubby dirt marks off the floor. I was at it, so determinedly that I had inadvertently entered my son’s classroom.
Long after “bombing” the digital lesson, I was still squirming uneasily. “It won’t happen again”, I promised myself but the possibility of recurrence is admittedly many-fold.
For one, Life has become very strange in recent weeks and our little laptops have become our schools and offices. And two, I have been bombarded with chores that I had outsourced previously. As I scrub and clean, I am acutely aware of nooks and crannies that were previously non-existent.
I may not be able to post my mopping video or the techniques that involve the perfect angle and the brush stroke for that gleaming floor
The dark little dots that have morphed into maps are clear as a sky to my eyes and I dutifully find those magical home remedies to do them away.
My mopping - with dexterous strokes to get the perfect gleam off the floor is the latest in the list of accomplishments with respect to my mopping chronicles. But, that’s me - mopping is my thing. I revel in the sparkling floors that reflect my hazy self and I almost always take in a deep breath of satisfaction. But, most of my friends aren’t euphoric about mopping. They are doing other things.
Delicious sugary treats
In the last couple of weeks, I have been inundated with posts that make my mopping ritual seem rather dull and bleak. There are pictures of delicious sugary treats that glow beautifully in the camera lens that instantly set my salivary glands in motion.
Since my phone has not shown me a three digit number for the number of steps taken in the past two months, I grudgingly delete the post. Yet, those little images stay inside me and find a cozy little spot and pop in my mind whenever gloom settles in. Of course, there is no dearth of gloom.
If baked cookies and pastries are one thing, the next activity people are indulging in is singing. This one is a toughie. I understand the urge to sing. But, then, videos and audio files clog my WhatsApp group.
In those initial days, I listened to everyone’s singing prowess before I digitally clapped, said a few encouraging words or at one odd time, I even said, “keep them coming”.
Little did I know then, that, this whole “staying home”, would last longer than I thought and everyone would take my little encouragement very seriously and post more songs and videos.
Now I dread before hitting the play button. To be fair, it is important to put some cheer in this current world. So, I try to indulge in the act of doing the right thing.
But, it doesn’t stop there. “So, what have you started doing this lockdown?”, one of them asked, followed by a post that read, “if you don’t learn a new skill now, it is certainly not because you lack the time”. I hated it.
I may not be able to post my mopping video or the techniques that involve the perfect angle and the brush stroke for that gleaming floor.
But, I have to admit that mopping has given me many moments of being one with me and has helped me ruminate and chuckle because, hidden there is the possibility of a YA bestseller called The Mopping Chronicles.
Aside from that, mopping has given me many stories and funny little things to say to my friends. Most of all, mopping has handed me a dress code. Smart casuals. Because, you see, accidents can happen, any time, any day.
— Sudha Subramanian is an author and freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman