14.05.2020, 8.47 pm
I need to write this journal entry down to find the optimism I feel on most days, lockdown, or no lockdown. That’s the one thing that’s helping me get through these testing times. So, bear with me. This entry has a happy ending, I promise.
The other day, I dozed off in the middle of the afternoon. I was genuinely exhausted - my body gave up, and there I was lying in my bed with my clothes lying on one side and me on the other. Sunrays fell right into my eyes while I was trying to sleep but I didn’t have the energy to get up, take that one step, to shut the curtains. I closed my eyes, and it took all of two seconds to lie there in a deep sleep with the bright light of the sun in my eyes. I can’t forget that feeling. It felt like I hadn’t slept in days. I found it shocking because we’ve been locked inside our house for way too long for our bodies to feel so exhausted. And that’s when I realized what I had done. It wasn’t physical but mental exhaustion - something many of us are feeling right now, maybe I do still while I type this.
All of us are dealing with this feeling in different ways, and if you’re dealing with it my way, I feel you. I share the pain. But for a second, lift that weight off your shoulders and keep it on the ground. And breathe.
This journal entry is dedicated to you - you, who’s living every day like it’s your last during this lockdown. Because “Kya pata? Kal ho naa ho.” - that’s the feeling I started the lockdown with. It is tough. It is challenging because you’re trying to squeeze in all your lifetime of work and bucket list items in the few days you have during this lockdown. For some people, it may seem like a long time, for you, it’s a few days to do everything you’ll never get a chance to do in the future because you may never get this much time again.
Lockdown has been exhausting because some tasks got added to our everyday work. Then there’s us, people who hopelessly added many tasks to the already long list of things-to-do every day.
For me, two months of lockdown were exhausting enough, but the last 2 weeks got worse. My routine became - wake up, wash utensils, make warm water lemonade for my sister and me, work on the laptop and check off some to-do items from my post-its till 1 pm and then make tea and breakfast, eat while I work and maybe squeeze in a nap and yoga if I’m lucky to find time and energy, work and eat and work and think about work. Add alternate day dusting and mopping the house and floor, and you know what I mean. I have never thought about work as much as I have in the past couple of months. I cook breakfast voluntarily these days because I see it as break time from work - I had never thought I’d say this ever in my life.
I have successfully managed to disguise my feelings, emotions, fears about the new world we are stepping into and drowning myself in a never-ending loop of work. What’s better? It makes me happy. My never-ending work makes me happy until I fall one day in my bed, trying to figure out what the hell happened.
During the lockdown, as everyone ran out of things to do every day, I kept adding items to that list. As soon as the #JantaCurfew was announced, even though I had been self-quarantined, the pandemic became too real. The first thing that came to my mind was - how to make the most out of this lockdown. I may never get this ‘free’ time back. And another thing that came to my mind was, I should work on my finances - burn less, make more, save more, to get us through the times (expect the best but prepare for the worst) that are yet to come. This is why I could not relate to all the memes about how this lockdown is not a productivity contest. I just could not do it.
I run two companies (AkkarBakkar and YOSO Media). I’m an author hoping to write more books and scripts in the future. I don’t get time in my everyday life to experiment with things as an individual if things are not related to my companies. This lockdown helped me do or consider those things. While my companies are running, I still have to keep the boat sailing. I’m writing a web series, releasing episodes weekly on my brand new podcast, writing columns, editing stories, and appearing on virtual events as an ‘influencer’. When I find some time (if at all), I read or watch. And now that’s also getting tough.
While I’ve been living my life the way I’ve been living, with some great days and other really exhausted ones, I do see myself prepared for what’s to come. I can confidently say that if you’re managing to stay productive during this time with so much uncertainty, you are a survivor. You’ve got this.
The cherry on the cake is also that my company always worked in a WFH mode. While the biggest companies in the world are moving towards virtual workspaces, I feel confident about the future of companies in the gig economy.
So, I don’t know what part of the Rs. 20L crores people will receive (or how) in this country, and honestly, I’ve started to care less about. However, I firmly believe in the opportunity coronavirus has created for workforces and businesses of the world. Imagine a future where you can apply for your dream job in any country and be on their payroll without actually living there. That’s a future of work that seems plausible now.