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For Bengaluru, India-based writer Anita Nair, working from home is not new. However, the present pandemic has meant she is without support staff to help her with home chores. The Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award winner is working on a Gowda novel that is scheduled for publication this year end but what Anita is most thrilled about now is her audio story titled Twin Beds narrated by Konkona Sen and Satyadeep Mishra. It is available on Storytel (storytel.com/in/en/books). Her second audio story, The Little Duck Girl, will be narrated by the actor Prakash Raj.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced working at home during this time?
I have been working from home for almost two decades now so I have had plenty of time to get used to it. However, the challenge now is to work in a home bustling with noise and activity and one that has no support staff. So I find myself having to eke time out of my writing to do my share of household chores.
How difficult has it been to adjust to this new reality?
The first ten days were a long haul. Now I think the Stockholm Syndrome has kicked in and I have a routine of sorts.
How are you and your family spending time? Favourite activities?
Since all of us have things on hand to finish, and add to it the household chores that require all of us to roll up our sleeves, I realised we are busy most of the day. So as a family, my husband, son and I get together for meals and to spend time with our dogs. Otherwise each one of us tend to live in our private islands of respite.
What are you and your family doing to manage the anxiety that is stemming from the pandemic?
I guess all of us pretend this is just another day and go on with whatever we need to do...
How do you plan to celebrate Vishu this year?
In this year of the lockdown, I am in my home in Bangalore with my husband and son who are both atheists and late risers [in all honesty, I don’t know which is worse with reference to Vishu] and so I intend to see my kanni in my library. Only this time there will be no konna-poo or kanni vellarrika, but there will be books and paintings, music and plants and everything that I hope my year will be blessed with. As any Malayali will tell you, we are the masters and mistresses of making do. And so it shall be.
What are some of the things you miss the most from your life when Covid-19 had still not affected us?
I lead a quiet life but I choose to do that. Right now what I miss is not having the freedom to choose even the simple things like whether to go out for a meal, hang out with a friend or go for a concert.
What will be the first thing you’d like to do once this scare of Covid-19 is over?
Get a pedicure.
What have you learnt about yourself during this trying time?
That I am a solitary being. I haven’t met anyone or stepped out beyond my gates for 22 days now.
What will be your favourite memory from this experience?
The quiet punctuated by birdsong.
One lesson you think the world should remember from this experience.
That nature has a way of retrieving and healing itself; and if we don’t respect nature, it will find a way to make human greed pay for how we abuse it with catastrophes ranging from floods to deadly viruses.
Any book(s) you are reading at this time?
Nine Rupees an Hour by Aparna Karthikeyan, The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup, Clair De Lune by Pierre La Mure.