#LifeInTheLockdown: Onir hopes gender roles will cease to exist soon

I went out running late when the closing was announced. My first thought was to my parents, and how I was going to keep them calm during these three weeks. Now, my typical day begins with planning meals for the day with Baba and Maa. My parents are 90 and 75 years old respectively, and it is very important to me to keep them actively involved in these days of confinement. Like many people their age, they are eager to hear the news, especially about deaths in their age group. Due to their increased vulnerability to infection, I have not left the house or allowed anyone in since closing. Permission has also been given to our domestic help.

The best way to keep them engaged is by doing the two things Bengalis like best: cooking and eating! The first two days, I prepared the dishes they liked. Soon, Baba started to get interested and cook with me. Now we all cook together. This has helped keep negativity at bay.

Onir's parents cooking

If Maa comes to the kitchen, she dresses well because she knows she would be making a video for social media. One day, when I prepared a meal in a hurry, she asked: Aaj ke video banachis na? (Aren't you going to make a video today?). It is also moving to see my parents take care of each other. One day my father made paayesh for Maa, which is a very tedious and time consuming process, just because there was no candy available. It is these precious moments that I had previously missed, that I now appreciate.

Besides cooking, the most important thing for me right now is to complete a script I've been working on. I have a self-imposed deadline to finish it before the block ends. It is a political thriller set in Mumbai, Delhi, and Kashmir. I'm also taking more time out for Hindustani classical music and doing riyaz. In addition to that, I am doing more yoga to be physically and mentally healthy.

Finishing up the script is one of the goals during this lockdown for Onir

The most important thing about this period is that I learned to value people more. All these days of being away from the people I used to meet every day have made me understand that I probably should have given them more time. I want everyone to come out of this with more love, care and understanding for each other, and hopefully gender roles will cease to exist as everyone learns to do all things for themselves.

Once the period of social distancing ends, the first person I would meet is my friend Sanjay Suri and have a good coffee with his family and my godchildren. I also can't wait to catch up with my niece Trisha to share my script, gossip, and chat.

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