It's been a long six months. Six months since the last time I wrote here. Six months since I thought things had changed. They indeed have. The world is not what it used to be. I'm not what I used to be.
COVID-19 is here to stay. It has changed the world. It's been almost four months since lock-down was first imposed in India and in Mumbai. We are still working from home. Possibly forever in some way or the other. Walking around without a mask, commuting for leisure, going to the movies, performing and watching live music, dining out, and vacations/travel all seem so unattainable. Maybe we'll never go back to how things used to be. I don't think my plans to pursue higher education will ever materialize. I don't think I will be able to move out of Mumbai/India.
J has stayed over at my place most of these four months of lock-down. It started as a regular weekend stay over at my place. Then came the lock-downs. Initially, we both struggled to come to grip with sharing spaces with someone else, with both having lived by ourselves alone most of our adult lives. It took a while for us to settle into a routine. The routine itself was fun, sans the arguments and stress. We watched a lot of good stuff, the best among which was the sensational TV drama The Wire. He had so many wonderful meals. On most days, we had tea on the balcony with the backdrop of a cleaner, quieter, and greener Mumbai. During these months, J did help me put together a lot of things that have improved my workflow, both for editing/writing related work and for music.
Work-from-home just means more actual work hours than ever before. At work, I'm working on creating a course for junior editors. This means that I never feel I have done enough. This coupled with the fact that I am trying to put in a solid 3 to 4 hours of music or related work most days and have almost 2 hours of cleaning housekeeping to do every day, I am sleeping less and I'm more stressed and wound up than I have ever been before. Maybe it is the stress of having lived together with someone for so long after so long. No matter how much ever I seem to be doing better, I just seem to get more an more unhappy and unsatisfied with what I do. As my friend put it, I will never ever be happy. I'll always figure out more things to worry about and feel unhappy about.
I got back to some of the Berklee courses for music production that I have been meaning to finish. I have also invested in some good quality gear for my home studio. Finally, I am learning more (from better quality sources) regarding music writing and production. All of this means that I am writing better music than ever, and I'm getting better at production and mixing. Hell, I'm even getting better at singing. And yet there is no certainty in when I'll be able to release the music that I have been writing. Just before lock-down, things looked promising. My close friends who I write and perform with for a project had finalized on a producer/engineer, who was excited to be working with us. We were expecting to cut several EPs starting in May 2020. Considering the way things have turned out, nothing is certain. Maybe this is how things will be. Or maybe I need to figure out getting even better and release some music of my own. All-in-one and DIY.
It's been over a year since my Mom passed. Two years since my father did. I thought their passing would make things more straightforward in a very selfish kinda way. I won't have to worry about them falling ill or needing to reschedule things to be with them. That sounds so wrong, and yet so right. Even though I winced while I typed this in, I long for a clear path (the home run) to my immediate goals, and I thought not having the added responsibility of taking care of my ailing parents would make things easier. It might have but I don't feel it one bit. Life seems to be more challenging than it has ever been.
My sister started writing for fun. Not a book or a blog, but simply writing to express herself. It started with a piece that she was expected to write for a college reunion. She did the drafting and I did a substantive edit on it. It was fun for me to read her thoughts expressed in the way that only she could, especially because they were vivid memories from my childhood and adolescence back in Kerala. These days, I don't get to talk to her much, and the occasional communications that we have are around these micro-journal entries that she shares with me, often in Malayalam.
I have been working on text generated by two of my travel mates and close friends. Blummer is writing an autobiography, and the couple of chapters that I have had the pleasure to read were such windows to his remarkable life! Mickles3 has sought my help in putting together a chapter for a scholarly publication. Both of these, along with the experience that I had with my sister, make me want to start writing again. Maybe I need to aim higher than a blog. Maybe a book or two? Maybe.
Along with that...
- I have fallen in love with fountain pens all over again.
- I feel inspired to write Bowie/Depeche Mode type music.
- Blu(menthal) is just gorgeous but is an arsheole.
- I'm not young anymore.
- I want my sister/friends to know that I want a do-not-resuscitate order if I get severe COVID-19.
- I want to read books, but where do I find time?