Lockdown Luxuries – 2

Let’s face it. The corona virus has exposed us to a world we’d never have imagined. While a few people are using it an as excuse to avoid company they dislike (antisocial distancing), most of the human race is dying to wanting to be social again. We like going to work, even when there is none. We love hugging and kissing.Parsis especially. We want an interaction that validates our position in society. Suddenly, all that has been revoked and we are struggling to find new ways to remain relevant.

Work from home is the new mantra. It required a mammoth crisis to make people aware that all the time they wasted in office can just as easily be wasted from home. The extended lunch and coffee breaks, the eternal staring out of your desk window, the timeless gossip-mongering with colleagues, the browsing of work-unrelated sites is all exactly the same as it used to be – only the venue has changed. And probably the quantity of food and drink consumed in each of these breaks. By staying at home to “flatten” the curve, little do we realize that we are “fattening” it instead.

Nearly everyone is stuck on Zoom calls from morning to night, using them as an excuse to avoid doing any housework. My astute observation has been that most of these calls are used to play Housie and Pictionary with friends and family. And when these individuals are not on a call, they are attending a webinar. There is a webinar for almost everything and every age group. For children, there are webinars on how they can be of help to the adults during the lockdown, and for the grownups, there are webinars on how to deal with children during these unaccustomed times.
Cartoon Man Relaxing Stock Illustrations – 4,680 Cartoon Man ...There are psychiatrics opining on how to take control of your mental health. There are fitness gurus prescribing natural remedies to boot immunity and stay in shape. Whenever I get a message asking me join one of these “stay in shape” webinars, I reply to them that I am already in shape; round is the shape. Then, there are webinars by therapists and marriage counsellors on how to keep relationships afloat in sinking times. We also have sexologists preaching on how we can improve our sex lives in these troubled times. Last night there was a seminar on how to withhold orgasms. Nobody came.

With these revelations, it is becoming more and more evident that many professionals can work from home. Just when we thought that school was an essential service, my daughter,the one who goes to nursery, has an online virtual summer camp. All the children in that camp simply screech at the top of the voices so loudly that the people who run Google Hangouts can hear them in Silicon Valley. The kids are so excited to see their friends that even after you press mute on the computer their friends are still audible from the other end.

IT professionals, architects, designers, consultants, and banking people and charted accounts never really needed to go to work, except for once in a while. Only now are they realizing thatthe lakhs of rupees they spend every month on renting office space is a total waste of money. Authors, copywriters, and advertising gurus were born to work from home: everything that can be written, bought, and sold can be done online.Financial advisors are recommending on how this is the best time to invest, while online scams are trying to take away whatever little money is left in the bank account. All from home.

Doctors are coming to terms with tele-medicine and tele-health. While it may not yet be possible to ventilate someone online, people have begun performing robotic angioplasties sitting a few thousand miles away. However, most of life’s aches and pains can be dealt with over WhatsApp. I am a brain and spine surgeon. Minus the surgery, migraines, giddiness, and neck and back pains are a phone call away. Most phone calls are from wives complaining that the husbands are refusing to do housework sighting spine problems. These wives have been given the green signal to make their better halves toil as much as they need to.

A friend who practices dermatology is the biggest recipient of work from home consults. “Whenever there is a rash or pimple, patients send me a pic on WhatsApp and I have to opine,”he says, a practice he was familiar with way before the virus struck. It’s okay when the problem lies on an area of the body where someone can take a photo for you, I thought. “But what happens when it’s in a region you’d be embarrassed to have someone click a picture for you?” I inquired, my curiosity piqued. “Oh, my phone is full of those,” he said. “Unless they specify, it’s pretty hard to figure out what part of their anatomy they are trying to address. Then, sometimes it’s a zooming problem, other times it’s a focusing problem. Cracks and creases can confuse the hell out of you,” he concluded with a sigh.

While I have a few friends in this department,I don’t even want to risk asking obstetricians and gynaecologists how they are managing to work from home. I request you to stop imagining it as well and enjoy the rest of your time at home without catching “Quarantitis.”

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