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27 April 2020

COVID-19 : Stepping out of the office

THERE ISN'T much movement to do these days, so I stepped out of my office . . . into my living room. Watch for those three furry officemates.

23 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown essentials #5

AT A corner of my study room—now my work-from-home office—is a second-hand console table holding a Keurig coffee machine given by my sister Kathleen three years ago.  To replicate the pantry in our Lenskart office, I've include a bone-china tea jug that I once found in the cellar of my brother's apartment building in Toronto.  Aluminum containers carry assorted tea sachets, while the table's drawers contain coffee packs and my daily medicines.

17 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown Essentials #4

THE KITCHEN has been my sanctuary of calm since the lockdown began. This is the place where I can take the focus away from the all-consuming anxieties of the pandemic. I prepare and have my meals at 11:30AM to 1:00PM (lunch) and 7:30PM to 9:00PM (dinner), a routine that has kept me grounded.

16 April 2020

COVID-19 : A walk in the park

WEARING A mask, I stepped out of the house in Garden Estate to pick up grocery delivered at the main gate. This was the first time I ventured out during the lockdown, and the experience was astonishing. I saw the bluest sky I've ever seen in Delhi, and heard choruses of birds seeming to outdo each other's chirps. Spring flowers were in a blaze of morning glory. The sun, normally hot this time of the year, was unusually warm—the wind was in fact rather breezy.

06 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown essentials #3

WHEN I lived in Israel nearly 20 years ago, the health services center always advised me to drink water as a preventive measure against general sickness. It did make sense, considering how Israel's dry weather could speed up the risk of dehydration. The Associated Press has reported that drinking water won't prevent contracting COVID-19. But there are ways that water can help in these perilous times. The body needs water to function, as it optimizes body processes and fortifies the immune system. Drinking water can also improve cognitive functions, allowing better judgement and wiser decision-making.

04 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown essentials #2

WITH RESTAURANTS closed and kitchen helpers banned from entering our housing society, dining at home during the lockdown means self-reliance. This became a challenge to a man like me who's living alone and strenuously balancing work and domestic chores. As it turned out, reawakening my culinary skills has become rather uplifting and unwinding. It's a task I now look forward to twice a day (lunch and dinner).

It's also gratifying when you concoct a meal from whatever ingredients are available in the fridge and pantry. Plus, all those cravings are now literally in the palm of your hand, ready to carve the dish in the exact way that you want it. My favorite home dish has always been spaghetti, since it's easy to prepare and creates a welcome break from the heavier Filipino dishes eaten with rice. I'm now exploring so many possibilities with pasta—impossible to do before the lockdown as I was mostly in the office.

I've started planning meals for each day of the week. The lockdown is truly making me take charge of myself. That's a good thing.

02 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown essentials #1

A HOT mug of Philippine cacao drink is a piece of bliss in times of uncertainty. To prepare:

  1. Boil one cup of milk.
  2. Add 2-3 cacao pellets. I use SaBroso, a pure cacao brand brought by my friend Conchita Velez during her India visit last February. Otherwise, use a one-inch block of dark baking chocolate.
  3. Whisk in the cacao or chocolate pellets until they liquefy into the milk.
  4. Turn the heat off as soon as the milk starts to rise.
  5. Add sugar, if you wish. (I don't.)
  6. Serve and indulge immediately.

01 April 2020

COVID-19 : Working from home

AS WE enter the fourth week of COVID-19's spread in India, Lenskart has taken the decisive call to support the larger cause of fighting the virus and to secure the well-being of its employees, partners, and customers. All our offices across India are now shut down. We are working from home to ensure that no operations are negatively impacted and the optical requirements of our customers are continously serviced.

The idea of working from home sounds delightful until you actually start working from home. I've quickly learned that it calls for solid self-discipline and full self-accountability. The familiarity of living rooms and bedrooms can tempt, and the hustle and bustle of domestic chores can distract. It's important to create a boundary between the space to work and the space to unwind.

The photo on the left is my makeshift but comfortable workstation. The glass coffee table in my library is now my desk. I never managed to bring home office stationery when we started the remote work arrangement, but I've kept what is needed to always keep the motivation running: a pot of air-purifying sansevieria, a water jug, a tea mug, and Barbra Streisand.

My heart goes out to everyone affected by COVID-19. Please stay safe.