It is one of those days when you feel you’re on top of things. It may well be too early to celebrate but perhaps my Corona Regimen is actually working. And before dark thoughts and the persistent, surreal feeling of being in a bad dystopian novel surface again as I absolutely expect them to, let us share what I desperately hope is the secret behind the rare uplifted spirits.

So, first things first – the TV is the enemy. You don’t get any real news anyway and Netflix is the death of all discipline and hope. The days and even the nights have to be strictly structured sans the telly or you might find yourself eating crap at 3 in the morning. I’ve done it even when there was the office to rush to. But now that we’re working from home, the danger of 3 am-turning-7 am is far more pronounced. And let us always be alive to the excruciating lethargy/exhaustion/drained feeling post binge-watching, only because it tends to somehow evaporate when one settles down and grabs the remote.

There was a whole series (‘Gone Girls’ although I shouldn’t tell if anyone here is as hopelessly addicted as I am to ‘Trapped’, “Shetland’, ‘Happy Valley’, ‘The Fall’ and such like) that I was settling before the PM settled for the 8 PM slot. A friend thought she might actually have Covid that evening. As it turned out, it was just a case of having had too much of the good Vodka. “We’re all going to die,” was the text from another. And I was near hysteria over the few dishes that I was having to wash.

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This wouldn’t do, I thought. All the I-Ching/Zen Buddhism/Jiddu/Alan Watts et al that I have devoured over the year of failed romances and dimming career prospects have to amount to something in these dire times. And so I dusted out the Sisters – Susan Brownmiller, Kate Millet and Germaine Greer – for strength and inner silence because Jiddu isn’t cutting it anymore. I needed real steel and found it in “The Madwoman’s Underclothes” (Greer, she’s sharp, edgy, gritty and very inspiring). I was going to go through all this and come out better – five kilos less, minus all the toxins I consume and inhale and stronger than I was before Covid and 8 pm.

So the TV has been off for three days except to eat dinner with Amma as she watches an old film at night with Meena Kumari in it. That’s as sure a shot at safe-distancing from binge-watching as you can get.

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The next part of the Regimen is exercise, yoga in my case but it could be walking around the compound twice a day. At least for an-hour-and-half in the morning as there’s no office to go to. The best way to keep it going is to get up, make your bed, wash up and get to it. If you don’t do it then and lounge with tea/coffee, it just doesn’t get done. Make breakfast, finish bathing, get to office work, make lunch, wash up and then some more work. An evening walk is the more preferred option than making that drink and sitting around. I tend to bathe just before I head for the bed but that’s entirely optional. And read before sleeping as opposed to watching TV. Writing this diary in the evening is also another way of staying sane.

If all of this sounds excruciatingly clean and pious, I understand. But the option is to let this extraordinary event overwhelm and exhaust you. Being active, mentally and physically is just a way of staying sane.

At least that is the state that has thankfully persisted for Day 3. There’s no saying where it will be tomorrow.

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