I recently received a Whatsapp forward highlighting the difference between everyone’s experiences during this forced lockdown:
“I heard that we are all in the same boat,
but it’s not like that.
We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.”
There is tremendous variety in the reactions of people to this lockdown, which ties in with a recurring thought I’ve had over the last few weeks. I feel the varied circumstances that people are in, define their personal experience of this period.
One way to examine this hypothesis is through the numerous types of romantic relationships, which I’ll summarise here:
- NEW LOVERS:
My brother met his girlfriend seven months ago and they fell hard and fast in love. This forced lockdown came at the worst time for them and other couples in their position, who are still in the midst of the first flush. A forced separation during the best time of a relationship has the potential to wreak havoc, but they’re holding on because of their strong intent to do so. They speak to each other every day, play online games together, watch movies at the same time, and are planning to take an online course together; hence, being together in spirit, if not form.
My cousin, who currently lives in Ireland, has been dating her boyfriend for 9-10 months. Their story is different, because lockdown in the western countries is not like the one in India. We shudder to leave our homes even for groceries for fear of the virus and the authorities, but most other countries treat lockdown as a simple advisory to stay home. Public spaces, services and offices are closed but people are allowed to move out of their homes while exercising caution. Away from her family in Delhi, my cousin’s Irish boyfriend has become her family there. She sends us pictures of teaching him to cook chappatis, which make me happy to know she’s not alone at this time.
- REDISCOVERED LOVERS:
This category refers to couples that have been married for at least a few or many years. They have been settled in a regular life rhythm for years, but seem to have rediscovered/rekindled their initial passion during this forced containment.
For example, my husband and I are spending quality time with each other for the first time in months. And since it’s on a daily basis, it feels like a honeymoon of sorts! Don’t get me wrong, the love has always been there, but over the years our favoured habits as a couple got overlooked because of work, parenting and the general drudgery of life.
These days we exercise together, talk for hours on end, watch TV/movies together, sleep and wake up around the same time, eat every meal together, among other things…! There are days when we argue and bicker too, but we resolve these arguments quickly and easily, as we’re generally feeling happier and more romantic.
This is not just the case with me, other friends have told me they have begun to appreciate their husbands, as they’re chipping in with house work during this tough time, or connecting through more open and unhurried conversations.
- NEWLY-MARRIED LOVERS:
This category falls somewhere in the middle of the other two. I have a couple of friends who recently married their partners, after dating them for years. Their relationships don’t classify as new ones, but they’ve certainly entered a new phase of life. I think this scenario may play out in two different ways.
The lockdown could be an extended honeymoon with the couple discovering each other and learning to share their space and their lives, or they could be fighting a lot because they’re not used to sharing that space! The verdict’s out on this one for now.
- SEASONED LOVERS:
This category is for people of my parent’s generation, or older. They have lived together for years and years, which means their rhythms are already in sync, but now they must find a new mutual rhythm altered to their circumstances. They cook, clean, discover new TV shows, read and play cards together- perhaps a glimpse of retired life?
- SOMEWHERE-IN-THE-MIDDLE LOVERS:
This category consists of those that have been in relationships for years, but are not married yet. At first, having settled into a comfortable rhythm, they don’t feel the separation so dearly. However, a few weeks into lockdown, the urge to meet becomes earnest and strong. I recently learnt of a friend’s girlfriend who was brave enough to break lockdown to meet him one evening. I didn’t follow up on how that worked out, but I hope for their sake it went well!
- FRAUGHT-WITH-TENSION LOVERS:
As indicated by the million memes and funny videos doing social media rounds, all is definitely not well with married couples forced to spend time with each other in confined spaces! Most couples function on the basis of certain unsaid rules and allotments of space in their homes. When suddenly none of these rules apply, the forced confinement with one’s spouse may add to the tension!
- COVIDIAN LOVERS:
I would never have believed this category existed, but a dear friend of mine recently initiated a new relationship during lockdown! She began officially dating a guy she had been flirting with, in the last 10 days. Since they live in different cities, perhaps the adjustment was quite easy?! I’m sure there are others in a similar position, because the anxiety and loneliness brought on by lockdown can make people seek companionship, wherever possible.
It will certainly be interesting to see the fate of these covidian relationships once lockdown is over!
These categories are rough summations of things I’ve observed around me. Forgive me for the gross generalisations, but it’s meant to be a reflective and humorous post! I’d love to know if you identify with any of these 7 categories? If I’ve missed out on yours, do tell me.
Here’s my tip to beat lockdown blues today:
Hug someone. If you’re lucky enough to be living with someone during lockdown, give them a tight hug. If you’re alone, hug yourself or a pillow imagining a person you want to hug- after all, ‘jaadu ki jhappis’ bring instant smiles 🙂
My TV Show Recommendation is:
“Russian Doll” on Netflix is a dark comedy that explores existentialism, through a protagonist that keeps dying only to come alive and relive that moment again and again. Beautifully written and highly-addictive!
A book that I recommend is:
“The Room on the Roof” by Ruskin Bond. This was Bond’s first published novel and it captures his teenage years in Dehradun so well. It made me a lifelong fan of his writing, when I read it as a teen myself.
That’s all for today folks!
Please check out my daily update videos on Instagram Stories for #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer and follow me there to stay better connected. Also tell me your favourite TV Shows/ movies/ books/ bloggers with the letter R?
Rab rakha till tomorrow! (‘May god protect you’, a term for farewell in Punjabi)
This post has been written for the #AtoZChallenge 2020. My theme this year is #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer, where I’m journaling my thoughts during the coronavirus lockdown, and sharing numerous recommendations that will help keep your spirits up. Read my other posts here:
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