For the past two months, we interviewed parents and shared their experience of pandemic parenting. We will still continue to do so. We are now reaching out to working and non-parent people to share their journey with us to bring some new perspectives and minds to the pandemic table. We are thrilled to read these thoughts and experience as an individual about what do they think and feel about their parents? How do they feel about their work-life balance and how are they doing during these uncertain times.
In this week’s interview, we bring you the journey of Manas Mukul. Manas chose to be the Jack of trades like blogging, writing, traveling and acting while mastering his Art of Joking, being an aware and responsible human. After serving seven years as Business Consultant he went on to pursue his passion for Blogging/Writing and Theatre acting. In June 2021, he completed 11 years of his writing and blogging journey and is a published author now. He published his first poetry book, ‘You, Me & the Universe’ in Dec ’20. He owns a lifestyle blog, ‘The Contemplation of a Joker’, where he writes on various genres including book reviews, travel, fiction, poetry, and socio-political. In his free time, he mentors budding authors and bloggers to achieve their goals. He also beta-reads and edits manuscripts. He recently co-conceptualized and co-created an anthology ‘The Woman That I Am’ celebrating womanhood.
Q. How is your relationship with your parents/guardians during this crisis? What conflicts and friction, if any, have you had and how were they resolved?
I lost my father in August 2017, since then I have moved back to my hometown and have been staying with mom. I have a great relationship with her. We have our share of fun and fights. During this pandemic since most of the time we have been home, we have started cooking a lot together. I cook a lot and have learned almost everything from her. This makes our bond really special when we challenge ourselves and make wonderful dishes for each other.
When two people live together, friction is unavoidable. There comes an age when your relationship with your parents becomes tricky. As they age, you want to be extra patient and caring towards them, but at the same time the same age makes them a bit stubborn. So you have to tread that path carefully. The most challenging part for me was to convince her to follow all COVID protocols and take necessary precautions. Especially when buying things from door-to-door vendors. I can humorously mention now that every time the bell rings I swiftly get into action to make sure she doesn’t reach there first and even if she does, she is wearing a proper mask.
Q. What things have your parents understood rightly about your needs and challenges?
I won’t shy away from saying that I belong to a generation where it was the other way around. It was on us to understand their needs and wishes and then work to find a way to fulfill their desires and meet their expectations. But to be fair to them, of late I feel that they are beginning to understand the aspect that we do have a life of our own and we too are capable to carve out our own path. The path may not be as per their set benchmarks but still, if it gives us happiness, that is what should matter. She is supporting me wholeheartedly in my writing journey and that for me is being more than understandable.
Q. List down 3 qualities you like the most about your parents and would like to apply to yourself or your future child?
Mother – Honest, Compassionate, Very efficient.
Father – Hard-working, Never-say-die attitude, Risk-taking ability.
Q. If you have been working from home, how do you feel about it and would you prefer to continue doing so if you get such an option?
Yes, if given an option I would prefer to continue working from home as it gives a lot of flexibility. Now that my mom is alone and with the pandemic around and the restrictions it brings along with it, I would prefer to stay close to her so that she doesn’t have to venture out. Even the organisations are beginning to realise that the productivity of employees has gone up as well as it saves a lot of time that was getting wasted in toiling through the traffic.
Q. Do you have a healthy work and life balance when working from home?
Work from home is a good option with the only downside that your work-life balance goes for a toss.
Work from home is a good option with the only downside that your work-life balance goes for a toss. The managers expect the employees to be ready with their work round-the-clock, which becomes a little taxing at times. Other than that, I feel it also depends on the individual. Some people derive a lot of satisfaction and happiness from their work and to them, the work never appears like work. I definitely try to maintain a healthy work environment and try to judicially divide time. Priority is life.
Q. Do you look forward to returning to the office? If yes, Why or else why not?
It totally depends on where and how the pandemic shapes up from here. I would say going to the office once in a while is good as people are getting too comfortable with working from home. You get to meet people and sometimes that too becomes crucial to actually surviving. We are social animals and communicating with others forms our core.
Q. If you are returning to work, are you nervous about the threat of COVID-19 remains? Share your concerns.
Yes, that threat definitely remains. Mom and I contracted COVID-19 during the last week of April and it was not a pleasant experience. We are still suffering from the post COVID complications. So till the time, one doesn’t get the confidence of a safe environment, I feel more than focusing on work the focus would just be keeping oneself safe which might hamper the productivity.
Q. How frequently have you been doing things that mean something to you or your life?
After my father expired, the fragility of life kind of hit me hard and now I intentionally take out time to do things that are important and mean something to me. I write short stories and poetry, blog at my blog – The Contemplation Of a Joker, dance to my favorite tunes, and cook recipes that also help me curb the cravings of having outside food. I try to do one creative thing every day that feeds my soul. Everybody was cursing 2020 for the year it was. I wanted to make it special and hence went ahead and published my first poetry book – ‘You, Me & The Universe’, which is currently available on online platforms.
Q. What is your daily health and hygiene routine? What tips would you like to share with others regarding the socializing and safety protocols?
I am diligent with my daily health and hygiene routine. I watch what I consume whether it is eating or reading or simply watching.
I am diligent with my daily health and hygiene routine. I watch what I consume whether it is eating or reading or simply watching. I avoid processed food and sugar and have as many natural products as possible. Since currently, doctors have advised me not to do strenuous exercises, I take long walks without exerting too much.
Over the past one and a half years, a lot of tips around socializing and safety protocols have been shared. Not going to reiterate. People are aware of them by now but the callous approach towards it is worrying. We have seen the kind of permanent damage it can cause during the second wave and still people are not taking due care. Whenever I move out I am conscious of my surroundings and make sure I don’t end up near anyone. I regularly wash my hands, use sanitizers and most importantly never let my guard down by removing the mask. We have seen cases beginning to rise in the countries who even after doing vaccinations removed the protocols of using a mask. By now, we have become used to it and till the time this thing is taken care of please wear your mask. Please.
Q. Do you think that your own mental health and social life are significantly worse than they were pre-pandemic? If so, how do you plan to make it better?
I believe that we aren’t just fighting the battle against a virus. There is a mental health pandemic looming around within this pandemic. The human mind and body aren’t designed to endure so much grief and pain and then suffer in isolation. People are facing a lot of mental health issues and it is kind of unfair on kids who hardly understand what is going around.
For my mental health, as previously mentioned, I do things that make me happy and feed my soul. I write a lot, I write poetry almost daily, I cook food that brings me happiness, I make video calls with my loved ones, and read and watch some of the things I like. See, we can’t do anything about the uncontrollable part and hence it becomes even more important to take care of the controllable part with due diligence.
Stay safe people. Take precautions. Mask up.
Hope you liked reading the interview and Manas’s journey during the pandemic. We enjoyed reading it and loved interviewing him as well.