Two Lockdown Stories: A Way In To And Out of Love

Falling out of love

Ramita Saxena*, 24, a saleswoman at an MNC in Gurgaon, suddenly lost four kilos over a week. It’s not Keto or some miracle diet or even a super strict workout regime.

The reason is love. Actually, the lack of it. Recently, her boyfriend of eight months dumped her.

Big deal? Yes, here’s why.

During her 24-year-long existence, this was the first time she was with someone. This someone – whom she had known for over four years – had been best friends with for three years and they had been living together with for over four months. For someone who kept the door to her heart bolted all her life, letting a guy in, falling head over heels for him, and eight months later finding herself weighing four kilos less and several pounds of stress more – this was exceptionally emotionally overwhelming.

Her so many firsts were with him. Her first and only international trip, to Turkey, was with him. Her only live-in relationship was with him. He had been introduced to a considerable number of friends and family.

Saxena clicked this picture on her trip to Turkey with her ex.

And then, for whatever reasons, it all ended.

Then came the lockdown. A few days before the national lockdown, she was asked to start work from home. Seeing that same face, living with the same man, till he found another place, was difficult. So, she left for home as soon as this opportunity to stay away (read: sane) presented itself.

“It’s good to have some distance right now… because if you’re living in the same house, it gets difficult to do ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I think it’s been two weeks already. This lockdown is helping me have the space I wanted and have some time with myself to reflect on things, to introspect… coping is easier when you are surrounded by your family, they keep you engaged… (when with them) you do not go in a zone. This time off is good, much needed,” she said.

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Her company has already extended work from home till May 4. For over a month, she is going to be with her family.

“I thought getting fired was the hardest thing that could happen to me,” Saxena said about a past experience. “Turns out this is even harder.”

In a way, this lockdown became her saviour. There was no other way to spend time at home for so long, she agrees. With her family, she feels loved and secure. In a time like this or even during regular days, a home-cooked meal with your loving family members is better than sitting at the breakfast table opposite a guy who broke up with you and who makes you wonder if you should drink some orange juice or splash it on his face.

Saxena at her home, after the break up, basking in the peace that only home can provide.

Falling in love

Monil Shetty*, 25, a journalist in Mumbai, recently started seeing someone at his workplace. A month into the pursuit and the coronavirus came heralding the nationwide lockdown.

The colleague-cum-girlfriend who was supposed to spend only a weekend at Shetty’s place ended up staying there during the lockdown. “Even though she has a better place than mine, she chose to stay. It made me feel secure and happy to know that she feels comfortable with me,” said Shetty.

Both work in different shifts. When Shetty works early, she makes him breakfast, and when she’s working late, he makes her dinner.

“My friend had trained me in making tea. So, I made some for her. She was impressed. It’s something because she is an expert,” chuckles Shetty.

Two cups of tea made by Shetty.

Having never lived with a partner like this, Shetty observes, “In the beginning, I put extra effort to display my hygiene. Gradually, I got more comfortable. Since I don’t need to go outside…I do not think about what to wear…she wears my clothes…I’m being myself…there’s no image that you have to put up for anyone, we’re just being our truest selves.”

Over the last weekend, the girlfriend took it upon herself to arrange his disorderly cupboard and now the cupboard’s chaotic days are over. It’s now well arranged. There’s a corner for perfumes, with books on a side, non-fiction in the middle. Everything is visible. She even lit it up with fairy lights.

Shetty’s cupboard lit and arranged by his girlfriend.

Shetty vouches that there was no way other than the lockdown for them to spend such time together. As colleagues they cannot talk much in the office and hanging out later is not same as living together. Shetty’s biggest takeaway from this is to realise that he can, indeed, live with someone. “It was a daunting idea to live together with someone earlier. I thought that I won’t get my own time…but I’m not scared now. I don’t find it that daunting now,” said Shetty.

While social distancing is the new norm for survival today, somewhere in an apartment in Mumbai, two hearts are fondly cutting that distance. In this case, distancing (by others) has indeed made the hearts grow fonder.

*Names are changed on request.

Vandita is 23-year-old and is fascinated by stories. She switches between writing articles, doodling and making movies on SDGs and other issues that affect people.

Featured image credit: Angel Saxena

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