A MUST READ – Author Sudipta Mukherjee stirs you up - What would happen to the therapeutic magic of touch?


A writer by passion. A traveller by fascination. A loner by choice. Author Sudipta Mukherjee takes you through a whirlwind change of mindset with her Lockdown moments. Her thoughts surely open up discussion boards within yourself, forcing you to see the blazing truth which may seem brutally honest and gritty. But surely they make sense and keep your mind ticking. It’s not the fear that matters, it’s the choice of being ready for what you want from your life which will provoke you to think.

The interview:

How would you describe the lockdown period?
A necessary evil. Necessary, because, this is the only way the spread of the virus could be checked. And evil because of the financial losses it is bound to bring in. Staying home is definitely the best option to stay safe, but it does not guarantee two square meals a day for most. And then, the countless loss of lives due to the pandemic; the heart wrenching plight of migrant laborers, who neither have resources not hope. The terrible news of death, despair and destitute. I don’t remember I have ever felt as depressed, as I am now feeling. By now, I mean the last couple of months. 2020 is turning out to be the most cruel year humanity has ever witnessed. I am certain memories of this year will be with us forever.

What new hobbies have you started/experimented during this phase?
I regret in saying this, but I have not started any new hobby. Frankly speaking, I am not in the right temperament. In order to begin something new, whether it is an art of craft, one must be receptive. My current frame of mind is anything but receptive. Under such circumstances I am not forcing upon myself anything.  

Which film/Web series you have loved watching during this phase, and why?
I did see quite a few, films and web series. Like everybody else, I saw the popular ones too, that apparently has taken the social media by storm. And I am appalled and to a great extent dumbfounded by the over glorification of violence portrayed in them. It seems to me that Indian film makers are obsessed with two things, violence and sex. And of course the never ending parade of swear words amidst the charade of life. If a scene does not have a brutal murder that forces you to shut your eyes instantly, it has a man and a woman indulging in animal like sex. I am not saying they lack content. Of course a handful of them definitely do lack content, and are pathetic to watch. But what is taking me by surprise is the extolment of violence.  The deep focus on viciousness of men and nothing else. A man, any man for that matter has other attributes too, good and nice ones, beneficial to the humanity, worth screening and showing. Just think about it!

What have you missed eating/drinking the most?
Eating? Well I am not too sure. I am not a foodie. And that goes for drinking as well. But yes, if you ask me one thing that I have really missed, it’s a cup of coffee in some coffee shop, enjoying my me-time.

Have you tried cooking most of your favorites at home already? Any new recipes you tried out?
I have always practiced cooking, lockdown or otherwise. For me, cooking is a hobby, a craft. And like every other form of craft, it could be perfected by practice. Only that, I never felt the compulsion to share it as a Facebook post, given that I am not a food blogger, nor am I a restaurateur. And I cannot feed the dish to the hundred others who are watching the photographs/videos and salivating. Under such circumstances, sharing videos and photographs of visually enticing food could only be considered as an act of insensitivity.
I honestly feel that the world is not at all excited about knowing what I had for my breakfast. They have other and more important duties to attend to.
Talking about new recipe, yes I did try. Mutton Rogan Josh.

What has been the most annoying thing you have observed during this period?
People’s posts in the social media. I am at once annoyed and disgusted by the parade of ridiculous posts, especially amateurish dance videos uploaded by all and sundry in the name of art or lockdown boredom. Sometimes both. And then, the virtual cook book, and cookery shows practically displaying a buffet of world cuisine, not to forget the endless Dalgona coffee shows.

Has lockdown changed you in some way – emotionally or mentally? What are the changes you have seen in yourself?
The lockdown is a strange time. Days are passing in intense activities (domestic mainly), and yet there are moments, when I feel I have nothing to do. Total absence of social life, and outings has definitely impacted my mental well-being, breeding in me a peculiar kind of restlessness but when I am sitting for meditation, I am at once sucked into the unbroken peace of my inner mind. I am not certain, if I am playing tricks with my mind or my mind is playing tricks with me.

Talking about emotional changes, or even the mental ones, I don’t think I would point my finger at the lockdown for any manifestation of changes within me, however insignificant. Because, I believe, change, in any form is an inner thing. An inner desire. External factors have little to control on the working of the mind. Had it not been so, a monkey made to live in an ashram would have turned into a sage. Or a hermit living in a forest would have turned into a deer, if not a full blown lion.
Men, who are willing to change, change. And they do it on their own accord, and out of their own volition. Time, place, situation, circumstances are irrelevant.

What are the 3 things you would surely try out once the lockdown is over?
Travelling. Travelling. And travelling. Of course, after the arrival of the vaccine.

How would you handle your life post 31st May, 2020? Any care tips you plan to follow.
I guess hand sanitizers and face masks would be an integral part of our lives from now on, and for a good many years. That isn’t a great proposition for me, given my unquenchable love for lipsticks.

What have been the learnings from the lockdown? How has this phase changed you as a person?
Fear! The psychology of fear. The benefits of fear. The disadvantages of fear. The dynamics of fear. The fear to die a disagreeable death, alone and away from the loved ones, robbed off its rightful crematory rights. The fear to go out and shake a hand. Or simply, the fear to breathe. What religion, politics, nationality, ethnicity couldn’t do, fear did it. It brought us together, on the same ground, united us, and in some way bound us, in spite of social distancing.

Talking about social distancing, when things get normal, if not outright normal but at least appears to be, and we once again go out and meet friends and family, will we hug them, that deep, affectionate bosom to bosom embrace we used to be so proud of, prior to Covid-19? I wonder. What would happen to the therapeutic magic of touch? If a friend break into tears in front of us, would we wipe away his tears, without fear of contagion? Would tears come at all when three-fourth of your face is tied forcefully with a face mask? 

If we need a shoulder to shed of a shred of our grief, would we be more afraid to touch his shoulders? Or feel more relieved after having shed the tears? Would lovers still kiss in parks and alleyways, given the facemask constrain? When we would hold a newborn for the first time, would we sanitize our hands before or after? Perhaps both, wise men would advise.

Wish you all a good life, till we meet again.
Till then, stay safe but don’t forget to love.