By all means, revel in the mundane

Published: Apr 03, 2020, 04:14 IST | Rosalyn D'mello | Mumbai

Being trapped in a timeless bubble has its perks — I have more time than ever to focus on something as simple, and relevant, as self-care

I have been committing this time to learning crotchet as best as I can and on Thursday I made my first flower. PIC/Rosalyn D'mello
I have been committing this time to learning crotchet as best as I can and on Thursday I made my first flower. PIC/Rosalyn D'mello

picUntil a few minutes ago, I was sure it was a Wednesday. My partner and I were finishing lunch. I was reporting to him my feelings around a 'breakthrough' moment I had had in thinking about my book, and had begun to skirt around the subject of what compels me to write.

I mentioned that I dispatch my column because I know I have to. There's a missionary zeal that informs my fulfilling of this obligation. It was then that he asked if I had submitted this week's column. I wondered why I would send it in earlier than required. He then helped me realize it was Thursday already. He himself had only arrived at a recognition of what day of the week it was because my father had sent a Whatsapp forward. We have, indeed, been living in a timeless bubble.

Perhaps that is how we are coping with the enormous emotional toll extracted by these catastrophic times, with the magnitude of the lock-down. For the first time in years, I have been in a position to evolve a routine, because each day resembles the next, and there is little scope for variation.

We cannot commit to a social calendar because it would involve the physical presence of others. And we cannot make plans, or pack, or move. We have made our peace with the necessity of this standstill. Where at the beginning of March we would at least go and play badminton for an hour, now we're entirely home-bound, considering even the park has been sealed off. Our only outings are to purchase groceries and milk. Yet, strangely, I haven't experienced as much self-delight as I have of late. Especially over the past week.

A few days ago, for instance, I stood in front of the kitchen stove with the wax I'd made with melted sugar and lime heating on double-boil and strips of fabric from an old cotton shirt that once fit me. Over the span of an hour, I'd managed to wax myself. Not professionally, but to the point where my skin felt well exfoliated and I was left with a smooth, glossy surface.

It occurred to me that because I had, some months ago, decided to try to eliminate the need for 'products' as part of my self-care routine, I had now embraced an unusual set-up. For instance, I no longer use ready-made shampoo, and because I now had time, I had repurposed an old Body Shop bath gel dispenser and filled it with a mixture I made using the powder shampoo I'd purchased some months before. It's by a Chennai-based company, Sai Mohana Crafts, and is a mix of Shikakai, Soapnut, Vasambu, Tulsi, Maravu and Magudam Poo. I'm unsure what three of those plant-based ingredients are, but I love how my hair feels after I've washed it, even though I'm aware I'm essentially cleansing it with mud. It smells fragrant, but not in a chemical way.

Similarly, instead of using manufactured moisturiser, I'd begun using an intuitive composition of rose water and vegetable glycerin. I add the two into a bowl after I bathe and I dab the dense-ish liquid over the expanse of my body. I love the fresh essence of rose petals, and the glycerin tenderizes my dry skin. At night, instead of cream, I create a mix of essential rosehip oil and lavender oil, to which I add a few drops of rose water, glycerin, and a drop of avocado oil. I find the lavender scent especially soothing at night. It helps me relax.

We wake up by 7 am. Well, he wakes up and makes us coffee. Then we do a work-out together in the living room. He has been training me to do a range of Pilates, after which I put on my headphones, listen to something really spunky, and hula hoop. By 10 am, we've both showered and had breakfast. The day feels open-ended in an energetic way.

I've narrowed my focus onto just a few things, fully preparing for the curfew to be extended until the end of April. I'm committing this time to learning crotchet as best as I can (today I made my first flower), and to mastering the basics of German.

Yesterday, I finally felt like I was able to read again, and every day, I write a little bit. It's possible that I might finish a segment of the sequel to my first book, who knows? Someone I know who happened to be in LA and who did, in fact, contract Coronavirus, posted that you're potentially less likely to be a victim if you are happy. Anxiety is a disease-magnet. So I've begun to drift along with the tide. While I always enjoyed my solitude, I'm finally learning to really delight in my being. I now find deep, immeasurable pleasure in my administration of the mundane.

Deliberating on the life and times of Everywoman, Rosalyn D’Mello is a reputable art critic and the author of A Handbook For My Lover. She tweets @RosaParx
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