Lifestyle Culture and Society 08 May 2020 We had cooks, guards ...

We had cooks, guards, butlers, says Rajkumari Indira Devi Dhanrajgir

Published May 8, 2020, 6:20 pm IST
Updated May 8, 2020, 6:20 pm IST
Rajkumari Indira Devi Dhanrajgir:
 Rajkumari Indira Devi Dhanrajgir:

As the pandemic continues to keep most of us home, many have turned to memories, either by way of preserving what they’ve been creating or simply refreshing the moments they have lived through. Many celebrities such as Shilpa Shetty, Neha Dhupia and Malaika Arora have already gone on record about writing diaries, making albums or simply revisiting digital archives of their photographs etc.

Actress Neha Dhupia shared a video in which she’s seen making a memory book with her daughter Mehr. In the caption, Neha points out that her coping mechanism during this tough period is positivity, and how, for her, being homebound meant more time with her daughter.

Despite the times, and how the idea of normal may change from now, memories will remain forever. Take for instance, Rajkumari Indira Devi Dhanrajgir. Her “normal” went topsy-turvy on the night the lockdown was announced but reminiscing about a familiar past gets her going through these tough times.

“At 9 pm, the radio announced the lockdown. I did not know what it meant. We didn’t have enough time to adjust, and even before we knew, my house helps left in the morning for their villages. It took some time to compose myself. I stood alone in the portico and wondered how we were going to live through this long lockdown. Our family always had cooks, guards, butlers, chauffeurs, lady companions, etc. for as far as we can remember. Now, suddenly, there was no one,” recollects the princess. “But life has to go on. And while getting that in order, I began looking at old photographs and found some from some very interesting times I could relate with. I posted some pictures on my Facebook page.”

Different people have been doing different things; I choose old pictures and albums to go back to.”

Balm of the past in the present

Ravi Khandelwal, fast-food retailer for Tibbs Frankies, also believes memories supersede uncertainties. “I am not one among those who fret about what I cannot control. I like to make the most out of a situation,” he shares.

To him, memories are treasures that should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. “The feeling of permanence drives the desire to reflect upon the journey thus far. Thoughts, decisions, actions, events, disagreements and lovely times shared come in like a slideshow, reminding you of the journeys past,” he adds, clarifying how he tries to relive the happier moments by preserving them. “I started by looking at old albums of the good times we had before the lockdown. Next, I took out from my home archives photographs that were over 80 years old, culminating in the current times. They are chronicled, digitized and uploaded on the cloud, event- and year-wise for easy recall, ultimately leading to a better experience.”

Ravi believes the easiest way to keep smiling through challenging times is to keep going back to nostalgic moments. His reminiscing took him further back to a time when he maintained a diary while he courted his wife. “The journey from our courtship to over 30 years of wedded bliss is an experience worth reliving,” he shares. “Then, there are greeting cards made by my 3 and 8-year-olds, which I unlocked, too, from my wooden box of treasures. Better days will soon return taking us back to the daily rigmarole of life, secretly wishing for another, once when we can sit down and rediscover memories of the period in between.”
Karishma Sathe, artist and fitness consultant, agrees that most memories fade. “But when people incorporate them into larger anecdotes about their lives, those memories have a much higher chance of lingering,” says the fitness consultant who tells us she’s spending time watching videos of her marriage and her daughter’s birth and toddler days. “I am also spending a lot of time cooking and doing a lot of paintings so I can record those for the future.”

Creating new memories for the future

As history unfolds before us, many are already preserving some of the memories and everyday objects that will be used someday to tell the story of the COVID-19. And why not? Now would be the perfect time to start preserving some of the memories we make around the new routines we’re growing into.
“While cooking may just be a daily chore for some, it is a passion for some others like me,” chips in Dr Sameer Azad Mahendra, a dental surgeon. “Especially during this lockdown period, cooking has actually turned into my saviour. It’s brought out the artistic side in me — an occurrence that got linked to memories we as a family will look back at fondly. It’s become a family time and tradition that had been missing for a long time because of all our work timings. Now, all of us in the family ensure we leave behind whatever it is we’re doing and get together to try out my new dish, take pictures and preserve those in a digital album and give more new ideas as well as note the recipes and the modifications so that they can be used again.”

In Dr Sameer’s case, the current memory-making moments at home have generated more creative ideas. “My daughters have been pushing me to write a food blog — something I think will consider if there is another lockdown such as this. For now, I simply wish to freeze this period and collect as many memories with my wife and my two girls,” adds Dr Sameer longingly.



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