Nahi Udaas Nahi…

वाक़िये इतने अनगिनत हैं इस ज़िंदगी के…साहिब.!!

समझ नहीं आ रहा…किताब लिखूँ या हिसाब लिखूँ…!!!

The First Lockdown was declared across India on 23rd March. We received the news in shocked surprise, as neither Corporate India, nor  families were prepared. Shopkeepers big or small, offices, factories, even e-commerce sites all went into shutdown. Individuals were scrambling to organize daily requirements like milk and veggies, while large organizations were busy providing their employees IT support so that they could work from home seamlessly. In the starting days of lockdown, I wrote a blog : A Crisis too Precious to Waste ( ). In my early enthusiasm, I actually listed out 9 positive outcomes that we can all gather/learn from the lockdown. Even in my title, unknowingly I had echoed great men of yore e.g.  Winston Churchill, ” Never let a good crisis go to waste”.

Today is 27th June. We are in Lockdown 5.0. From 23rd March, it is 96 days most of us have been at home. A small number of us, from essential services, health care, pharma, policing or other security outfits have been working  through these nearly 100 days. And possibly working even harder, with more stress than before. Another group started going to work more recently in the last 8/10 days. Uncertain, scared what the exposure to external environment would do to our risk profile, leading to a doubt whether you should have risked going back to office at all!! An even larger majority is still at home. Some in conducive industries like  Technology, BFSI & IT/ITES are practicing the new norm of Working from Home,  for varying lengths of time. An even larger number, in Educational institutions, Retail industry, Transportation, Hospitality just waits for the next diktat … uncertain whether it will be extension of the Lockdown or lifting of it.


Meanwhile, number of cases testing positive continues to soar. Slowly,  surely.  We now know of cases in our friends’ circle, or in our Society, or even in our building who have tested positive. Buildings/Floors are being sealed and cordoned off by the municipal authorities. If the data shared on the many webinars I attend daily is anything to go by, there is an increase in the cases of depression, anxiety and, of course, stress in the populace.  Uncertainty of when all this will end is not helpful.  Mental Health is always a good indicator of overall satisfaction and happiness within the system. And so this is worrisome. There are some “hidden talents” in each one of us and hidden opportunities in the circumstances. Unfortunately, to paraphrase a comedian in recent times,” I do have many hidden talents. But it is hidden so well, that I can’t find it myself!!” That will not help. We need to plumb our depths and find them.

Against this backdrop, while I was walking yesterday (yes I am allowed to go down to walk in the open within Society’s premises) an old song popped into my head…

“नहीं उदास नहीं

बस एक चुप सी लगी है

नहीं उदास नहीं

कही पे सांस रुकी है”

Literally the world, & those of us affected by this lockdown await with bated breath to see how this whole scenario will play out. The frustration, at least for me, is the sheer lack of clarity on how this will end. Despite Lockdown for nearly 100 days, the no of cases keep increasing day by day. While I do not track numbers, as they are a depressive scoreboard to watch, nor do I watch the news, the SM does creep into your psyche and inform you the latest.  So is it all negative? Bad? Hopeless?


Again the song plays in my head:

कोई अनोखी नहीं ऐसी जिंदगी लेकिन

खुब न हो

मिली जो

खूब मिली है

नहीं उदास नहीं बस एक चुप सी लगी है

You may be wondering whether I have fallen into the Stockholm Syndrome type of thinking where I am now falling in love with my social isolation, physical distancing, not stirring out of my home? “लज़्ज़ते_ए_आशिकी अब इस से बढ कर क्या होगी… रिहाई का वक्त आया तो, पिंजरे से मुहब्बत हो गयी !” Have I forgotten the joy of freedom, roaming aimlessly, going to malls & restaurants, shopping live, meeting friends & relatives, long drives?

No, I sit to write to you, and aver to myself…नहीं उदास नहीं. Rather, I thank the powers that be (China??) that made this happen. I am grateful that I got a radically different experience, compared to my earlier 64 years. I feel good that I got to stay home for 100 days, breaking the vicious cycle of my constant work-related travel, for the first time since I began working in 1980. I got a chance to do things I have never done.  Whether it was sweeping and swabbing the house, or washing utensils at one end of the spectrum to catching up on a lot of reading, getting on to Netflix for the first time (using my daughter’s account) and doing binge watching of serials and movies; which concept, I had only heard of. Why, we even celebrated birthdays & anniversaries on Zoom! And  had surprise treats for Fathers’ Day and delicious meals shared with family who live in same complex.  I actually learnt to have & enjoy long conversations with my daughter on phone, sharing daily tribulations and tensions of her life. Got close to my extended family on zoom platform, settling down into a rhythm of  weekly calls with the entire gang…..enjoying impromptu performances by grandchildren, hearing about cooking from my nieces, family politics & frustrations from cousins, and in other ways enjoying the “we” time. Getting on  more comfortable terms with my wife of 4o years, because suddenly we were shorn of all paraphernalia of activities & friends, relatives & maids… and rediscovering our joy of being together & doing things for one another after a longish gap.

सुनी हिकायतें हस्ती तो दरमियान से सुनी

ना इब्तिदा की ख़बर है ना इन्तेहां मालूम।

{ हिकायतें= stories; हस्ती = life, world; दरमियान= during; इब्तिदा= Beginning, origin, commencement; इन्तेहां utmost limit, end; extremity. }

Wayne Dyer tells us,” Accept life as it is or take the responsibility to change it!”. Yes, there are no paid consultancy assignments as even the clients are locked down. But that gave me an opportunity to learn new developments & the latest thinking in HR by attending & addressing a number of webinars & online meetings.  I fib you not… to take notes, I opened a fresh, new 2020 diary…one of those Demi sized ones with one page to a date. Given the amount of notes I have made….I am already on the Sept 29th page in that diary!! Listening to so many webinars and calls has kept me on track for my original dream….to be a constant learner.


So, truly, I have enjoyed the 100 days. Would I be willing & ready to get into another lock down ? Yes and No. NO since we can’t call Rashmi over from Gurugram (where she is working at present) & spend time with her together without agenda…which I miss badly. That is the only NO reason. But for YES, there are so many. My family, first and foremost. My new learning. My improved relationships. My me time

I look back on what I wrote in the beginning of lockdown, and the suggestions I made on how to give a positive twist to this quirk of lockdown, home-locked fate. And I am proud that I have implemented most of the suggestions I made! The Dr has indeed tasted  his own medicine!! During these 96 days I have practiced frugality & learning to do with less; developed a feeling of gratitude for all that we have; sensed a closer bonding with immediate family, and extended family equally; grown closer and re-established contact with friends; done much better time management; sharpened my ability to adjust/compromise; imbibed  new skills; created a “stop doing” list for greater effectiveness to which I keep adding; and finally am leveraging & enjoying solitude. जीने को और क्या चाहिए!!!

Been there, Done it all. If & when the lockdown is lifted, I am sure you all will see a better version of me!!!

I end with this beautiful poem a friend shared, excerpted from The Weighing by Jane Hirshfield:

So few grains of happiness

measured against all the dark

and still the scales balance.
The world asks of us

only the strength we have and we give it.

Then it asks more, and we give it.

mother end

Stay Safe; Stay Together; Stay Happy: vikibaba

39 Replies to “Nahi Udaas Nahi…”

  1. Covid is perhaps one of unique experience work wise and otherwise.
    The assumptions we held dear are getting challenged and changed. Sometimes one feels my freedom is curtailed ,I can not have coffee with friends and n near ones.
    We are not sure what new normal will be.
    Your blog ,as is normal stirs thought processes.
    Thanks Vikas for this gift.


    1. Suresh rao
      thanks for your feedback
      Yes indeed this is THE MOST widespread crisis mankind has ever faced as all 7 billion people on earth are affected
      Sad part is no one knows what to do
      and so the governments are also at their wits end
      Uncertainty continues and Uncertainty creates stress and so many other issues
      let us hope we can meet and have coffee soon


  2. Guzar jayega ye daur bhi aye hafiz
    Peche mudkar na dekh aye dost
    Aney waley safar ki tayyari kar aye musafir
    Miljayega tujeh manzil aye momin.

    Vikas, My thoughts on your brilliant work of love. With love in you heart you carry the world on your shoulders. Without it one is as good as nothing. Your blog is the epitome of love. Much love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Talay
      beautiful words from a beautiful soul
      It helps even more that you are a close friend
      many thanks for your words of praise
      Indeed it was an outpouring of love
      love for life, love for my dear and near ones
      basically gratitude that today I am in the Wake Up List!

      Despite health issues and maid challenges, we are coming up as of now
      HOpe you all are well & Safe
      take care
      Look FW to speaking today evening my time


  3. Sir, Brilliant as always. I would like to ask, is it not that we tend to intellectually justify whatever happens to us? Is the lockdown justified in the first place? Have we not overplayed this disease and put the country under lock down based on non- peer reviewed single paper published by a UK based institute following models of more developed countries ? Can there even be a lockdown and social distancing in a place where 30000 people live in one square kilometre ? Have we not in the process violated article 21 of Indian constitution? Have we not played with the lives of those marginal workers and small business to achieve some thing which we did not at the end? Although I personally had no problem during the lockdown and I could do things that I always thought to do? But still my mind rebels at the thought of surrendering my freedom for something which is suspect in the first place. The impact that it made on the lives of so many fellow Indians make me think that is it our only response to accept whatever comes without questioning?


    1. HCP
      Firstly thanks for your words of praise
      Secondly, you raise a fundamental issue about efficacy of LD
      Indeed the cases have continued to grow and fundamentally there seems no solution in sight
      Our Govt admin seems to be at a total loss on what to do, and so their simplest solution is to go on extending the LD
      this artificial lid on the populace is bootling up a lot of frustration and I fear the day this breaks open
      the angst against the Govt will get directed to the neighbours based on religious, community or economic conditions
      I fear we are on a downhill path vis a vis law and order
      Heaven help us


  4. I saw the post trickling into my mail box yesterday but preserved it for the next day morning to read and relish. Indeed I found the worth of my wait since I was further enriched last evening thru’ the webinar on leadership challenges that opened up more angles to the views that are expressed/embedded in your blog/post. My take on the subject:-
    – may be it is neither realistic nor reasonable to expect any clear direction towards possible outcome of a pandemic of such magnitude (you and me and many other have not experienced it in their entire life time)
    – with mostly things around us emitting negative energies from multiple sources (sometimes you tend to feel it would have been better not to have such a boom in media/communication which mostly contribute to such negativity and a host of misinformation ), it is wiser to adjust focus on self as regards my own contribution (you said “a better version of me”) to minimize on the impact of this pandemic. Such contribution could include in fact many a things like subjects which directly can be influenced by me as well as areas which can have indirect impact of the actions that I may take (can include very small items like explaining the benefits of a frequent hand wash and effective use of mask to people whom you get in touch everyday – house maid, water supplier, Gas vendor and many other). In this crisis every contribution matters – small or big .
    – I see another development that are taking place as an indirect fall out of this pandemic is the ownership and responsibility that are being assumed by the common populace. In our country we have been used to the culture of subsidy and grant leading to looking forward to Governmental help and interventions in everything (this is common philosophy in most developing nations). This pandemic shock wave suddenly has awakened to us to the fact that even major Governmental interventions seemed not enough to handle the crisis. This start truth slowly making our populace realize that we also need to contribute our part instead of always looking forward to Government. I know in rural Bengal there are many villages who have contributed jointly to feed the returning migrants for the quarantine period (14 days) so that they don’t come out for work to earn for daily livelihood. Many would say that this is compulsive behavior but one also must look at the realization part of the issue followed by ownership/leadership(you said every individual is a leader) among the not so literate rural population and there could be many such instances elsewhere as well. mes out of this pandemic in a colorful fashion. Thanks once again for this thought provoking post. Re


    1. Kabir, my dear friend
      many thanks for your detailed comments.
      It was also a pleasure to hear your voice yesterday at the webinar.
      This pandemic has indeed been of gargantuan proportions and affected each and every living being on earth today. Never has there been a crisis of such far reaching consequences. And so in this time , we must close ranks, marshall all our resources, internal and external and overcome the Monster ConVid facing us today.
      No one wa prepared for the rapid spread when few cases surfaced in China way back in Nov 19. We all thought it was limited to China and so would not affect us in India, Government too has been struggling to make sense of it all and how to handle it. Our huge population, lack of basic Health Care infrastructure and systems, and the speed of spread from symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers could not have been handled in any manner except a lockdown. But LockDown 5.0 , people are getting frustrated and bristling under the restrictions.
      So actually when the LD opens I for one will see a surge in the no of cases
      Let us support our Govt to keep a lid on the Morbidity.
      So educating people and cooperating with Govt to take the right decisions, is only thing in our hands
      Do stay in touch


  5. The looking back and looking forward has been so beautifully captured in your piece. I often realise that while we look forward, it is so important to look back and reassess our own shortcomings, so that we become better versions of ourselves.

    As always, your observations, examples and quotes to illustrate your points have enriched this article. So much to learn from you and so much to reflect. Will one lifetime be sufficient really? Like my Ajoba used to say “Bachenge toh aur bhi ladhenge”….


    1. Minouti
      thanks for your comment. Yes we cannot forget the past as one must learn from it. One cannot forget the future, as that is where you will spend rest of your life.
      Becoming better versions of yourself is a continuous quest/search. And we owe it to the life/ the child/ within us to make that leap and emerge better at the other end of the tunnel. All the best dear in your quest.
      vikas mama


  6. Hi Vikas,

    You surpass yourself with every blog.. you weave a narrative which is captivating.

    The blog is topical and you always get the timing right.

    For folks like me there are several learnings.

    At the same time the blog is thought provoking.

    Here is a point of view :.

    While the pandemic does offer unique and unconventional opportunities , and while there is no reason to be disillusioned nor is there reason to be sad, I feel there is a cause for concern.

    Issues like the one we are facing today can only be overcome / need to be overcome through collective action.

    I see “educated” folks on the road moving about with masks covering their mouth but not nose, not maintaining social distance ,airlines carrying passengers like canned sardines… and passengers queuing up to be packed like them!

    The inevitable question is: how long will humanity continue to pay cost for the indiscretions/indiscipline of these “educated ” folks.

    A WhatsApp message that I received this morning perhaps defines the mood that unfortunately seems to be creeping in .

    अतिथि “रिस्की” भव:

    Almost urging people to dispense with the Indian ethos of

    वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम



    1. Nikhil bhai
      you are one of the readers who always writes in and I have grown used to looking out fro your comment because it shares a different perspective,
      So first of all thanks for your kind words of praise….they motivate me to keep writing, keep sharing my POV
      Secondly you make a good point about the so called educated. They truly have no excuse to behave as they do, as supposedly they know and understand. But unfortunately these are the people who fall into the “optimism risk” They feel they know and that is sufficient, they need not practice. They believe their optimism will pull them through. Foolish but Sic! These are also the people when you point out their mask is wrongly placed, or why are they not sanitising, or 1 2 or 3….they will tell you all data about incidence and risk and susceptibility and somehow conclude that they are above or below the thresholds and so are no risk. Best of the communication, by Drs, by Admin authorities, by Families, by well wishers and by those they are putting at risk….all discussions are falling on deaf ears.

      Unfortunately, only thing left for us who are around such guys is t keep reminding them again and again and secondly increase your own vigilance and self-compliance to remain one step ahead of the risk you are exposing your self to.

      My only message is that Vasudaiva Kutumbakam will return. Before that we have to pass through the valley of death to emerge victorious and stronger after this challenge.


      1. Vikas

        You are a master articulator.

        The last para of your reply summarizes the situation.

        Look forward to your next blog.


        Liked by 1 person

  7. VS: Great piece! You have a wonderful ability of narration that truly reflects the reality of a situation. It is also nice that you have given ‘an account’ of what you have done yourself with your prescriptions in the beginning of the lockdown. It speaks how clearly those recommendations were thought through !

    I had written the following piece in the beginning of the lockdown:

    I am in Lock Down
    But I don’t look down

    I look within , instead
    As the ‘inside’ is unlocked

    There are triumphs and tragedies
    All inside

    Nice memories emerge
    As bad ones are buried

    Feel lucky to be locked down
    Feel lucky to be locked in!

    The deeper journey inside has been of great value to me ..the feeling resonates with your feelings and experiences of this unprecedented 100 days!

    thanks VS for sharing your journey which is very inspiring!


    1. JL
      I consider myself a confused and lost soul, literally in search of meaning, and writing these blogs helps me clarify some of the confusion and questions inside.
      I also realise that the human condition and the journey has many parallels outside are on the same road, looking at the same experiences and sign posts, and trying to make some sense of them.
      so my narration, my notes helps re-establish the feeling that we are not alone, and I can take solace and help which is easily available for fellow travellers.
      The reaching out began that way. Also I was sure I am not an imaginative Sci_Fi person in the genre of Arthur Clarke or Issac Asimov and so my approach was always….look in thy heart, and write.
      May be that authenticity is what appeals to readers like you because i like to say it as it is, as I am experiencing, as I feel it.
      Just like your Poem/musings at the start of the LockDown
      It is indeed beautifully penned, JL
      every word is chiseled and placed like a diamond in a lovely necklace
      many many thanks for sharing it.
      I read it again and again, and cannot decide which “couplet” I like more
      all of them add value and speak to what is happening around us today
      and read together your words are the way out of the chakravyuha too
      Million thanks for sharing this

      These unprecedented times are indeed great learning moments
      and I wish you all the best as we all fight to overcome this crisis together


  8. Excellent blog. Thanks for sharing your experience and I am sure it will find not only resonance but offer better insights to many.


    1. Vish
      thanks for your feedback
      we are all in it together for the roller coaster ride, as used to be shown in the Campa Cola ads of yore
      Keep writing in and encouraging me


  9. Loved the song intertwined so beautifully to create depth and meaning .

    The lockdown has unfolded diverse scenarios for many of us. Relationships have been re-evaluated , wants and desires have been re-assessed and goals of life have been recalibrated.

    I think a new perceptive has emerged out of the chaos and crisis for most of us.



    1. Farida
      thanks for your comments.
      This song is from a movie titled Sannata
      which we are all facing in our lives today
      Challenges faced without fear are a part of every Hero’s Journey (and Heroine’s , for that matter)
      Indian and Greek mythology made them out as stories, but it was lives being lived out and challenges overcome to emerge stronger and better
      that is the same thing we are doing now
      Wish you the best in your journey


  10. Excellent Sir. It’s really thought provoking. Particularly the shayaris between the paragraphs gives a perfect touch to the context.


    1. Thanks Manish
      Appreciate your taking the time to read and acknowledge the post
      I believe the shayaris say succinctly and well, what I am struggling to say in so any words
      so happy you felt it all hung together well


  11. Vikas, as usual your blogs force us to go into the pensive mood and open the floodgates of varied thoughts. The lockdown has given us time to introspect and also to connect with friends lost over the time. The virus has done something good to all of us living indoors. I feel that this upheaval will do good to the thinking of mankind. If winter comes, can spring be far behind.


    1. Love the optimism and positivity in your comment SD. Man is a curious creature many times wrapped up in inner urgencies, without realising there are others around us who themselves may be at different points in the journey.
      This compulsory FULL STOP has given us a chance to reconnect with others and with ourselves
      let us use this positive experience and go FW with the confidence you express in the last line
      Spring cannot be far behind


  12. Nicely written sir.
    The lockdown has been a powerful epiphany, only if one is willing to recognise it.


    1. True Abhijit….Huge learning moment….if only we see it in a right perspective. Thanks for your kind words of praiseHope you are well my friend. Take care. Stay in touch


  13. These 100 days have certainly changed over 100 ‘taken for granted’ ways of living, celebrating, earning coupled with prospecting. This sudden stillness of hectic lifestyle has its positives too. All of these are well felt and written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent as usual. Lockdown has taught me to accept things as they are, enjoy the simple things of life and never to lose hope. You are indeed gifted Sir. Keep writing and inspiring. Regards


      1. Col many thanks for your feed back. I truly feel sad when I hear a lot of negativity around the lockdown. Given our population, given our people’s health and hygiene habits, and given our hospital/health care infrastructure, the most cost effective control measure the Govt had was a lockdown. See the number of cases in USA and no of deaths. So rather than count their blessings people complain about high-handedness
        anyways let us focus on remaining healthy, and happy


    2. Dada many thanks for your comments. Feels good to see I am not a mad man raving and ranting, but others too experience the positives of the actions.
      In the first blog I wrote I had promised myself that I would look in my heart and write, and that is what I have been attempting to do.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment


  14. A very meaningful blog …..I enjoyed reading it…it has encouraged me to read your other blogs as well….I am connecting with you after alomost 41 years…. always be happy, contented and safe…


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