Gurugramwale: Days of her post-multiplex life
A woman shares details of her pandemic-era yearnings and memoriesUpdated: Aug 06, 2020 13:35 IST
The coronavirus pandemic has made theatre-going seem like a habit from some dead civilisation. So, spare a thought for those poor folks who consider the multiplex manager their “soulmate” because of his exclusive access to film tickets.
One such committed movie-goer Jyotika Bhaskar, who enjoys a great bonding with a multiplex manager, presides over the world from her 11th floor apartment overlooking Gurugram’s Golf Course Road. In her early 50s, she lives with her daughter and has a passion for pursuits that necessitates outings into the wider world outside—Ms Bhaskar loves hanging out with friends in multiplexes and malls. The pandemic has made all these things impossible.
Helping us prepare a part of Covid-era history’s first draft, Ms Bhaskar generously responds to a set of questions about ‘daily life these times’ we have been putting to people from diverse backgrounds. The pictures are taken through the mobile screen that connects her to this reporter.
Five outdoorsy things you’ll do after the pandemic is over.
1. I will visit Tina, my mother, in her Delhi home in Ishwar Nagar, and give her the tightest squeeze ever. This pandemic is making us do such strange, unnatural things, like seeking permission from our loved ones before greeting them the way we used to. Asking permission to hug your own mom??? Yeh kya baat hui? Cruel coronavirus.
2. I’ll go get a plate of gol gappas from the Harish Bakery in Sector 56. For me, his crunchy gol gappas, with the yummiest khatta meetha jal jeera paani, are pure magic. Not to forget the fact that my loyalty always makes the folks there give me two extra ones. Have tried chaat and gol gappas at many other places too, yes, but nothing beats these in the quaint market of (Sector) Chhappan.
3. I cannot wait to pack my stuff and head out with the loved ones to the hills in Himachal. I like to drive myself in the plains, but let my sister, Monisha, or brother-in-law, Sunil, take over the steering wheel once the hills begin. This journey to Manali, with a break in Kasauli for two days, is just the thing that invigorates my being. The mountain roads through which we pass are beautifully interspersed with furious looking white-water rivers. I always stop to dip my feet into the cold water. It’s thrilling.
4. I’ll go to my most favourite shopping place — Lajpat Nagar (Delhi). Being a proud Gurgaonwale, I do go to the malls but Lajpat Nagar is something I have missed a lot in these months. I’ve known some of the shops there since the time I was a child. Such as the pressure cooker repair man who never writes anything on paper but knows which cooker belongs to whom; the gota zari embroidery shop; the dry fruits shop and of course the momo lady! Kahaan gaye yeh sab? Are they still there or not? How are they coping these days?
5. My once-a-week movie watching has come to a halt because of this pandemic. While everyone has family members’ mobile numbers, doctor’s number, etc., saved on speed dial, I have the number of multiplex manager Prateek. For the past many years, I have been watching the latest releases in a nearby multiplex where I’m treated like a VVIP. Just have to send one message on phone and Prateek promptly books my ticket, and even keeps the popcorn and coffee ready for me. He also knows of my favourite seat in the theatre—J6! I’m sure that these days Prateek must be missing me as much as I am missing him. Once I couldn’t get the ticket and was crying openly in front of the box office when he approached me and said, “Ma’am, you never have to worry about the ticket, please don’t cry!” This happened some 8 years back and since then Prateek has been my soulmate!
The view outside your window at the moment.
A green garden, trees and lots of birds. At a little distance, a very sad lonely Rapid Metro bogie is standing by itself on the tracks.
What’s going on in your mind right now?
Was that it, or is this it? Was the life before corona? Or is the life this, during corona?
Objects in your house that give you solace in self-isolation.
My kitchen bartans (utensils). My utensils and my kitchen kept me sweaty and upbeat through these crazy, messy, emotional, up-and-down days. I cooked and cooked and cooked. My pressure cookers, kadhais, non-stick pans— all called out to me all the time. During these months my daughter, Mahima, and I decided that we would ourselves make all those dishes that we love to eat. Together we rustled out peach upside down cake, banana bread, kung pao chicken, fried rice, biryanis, and so many more dishes. I also pulled out old family recipes. Seriously grateful to my kitchen for keeping me sane in these tough days of self-isolation. Hope I live to see that much-awaited post-pandemic dawn.