For me, today is day 99 of social distancing. I am someone who likes to stay by myself. But staying at home has made me crave to see more faces and hear more voices so much that I have started to send audio messages to friends on WhatsApp and this is something I have detested for years. All my office work happens on WhatsApp chats. I’ve had 5 or 6 team meetings in the last 99 days. There were two more Townhall meetings were over 160 people from the office connected with the seniors.
I understand that staying alone is not easy, but trust me, staying with people isn’t easy too. To be honest, I’ve got bored of seeing the same faces and listening to the same voices.
When Cyranny started Skype Sunday last month, I was eager to join but time zones became a problem. Her evenings are my midnights.
Then one day, Apinder posted about holding a call. I was super excited to participate. The call was scheduled for 8:30 IST on Sunday, June 7. I set up a reminder alarm for 8 pm. But as time came closer, I started to get a lil nervous. I even thought of trying to come up with excuses to drop out. I feel I do that just to make sure if I really want to do it or just accepted just in the flow of the moment.
I downloaded Zoom on my phone. When I logged in on my phone, there were audio issues. I had to switch to laptop (fortunately, I had it downloaded it the same evening for a webinar). But there were still audio issues. While I was trying to figure out what was wrong, Sadagopan joined in. I could hear them talking on the laptop, but I had to type to reply for a while.
When I finally figured out that it was the silent mode on my phone and laptop (I don’t know why Zoom acted like that as I talk on calls when my phone is on silent mode), it was refreshing to hear Api and Sada. Coronavirus and lockdown were the obvious topics of discussion and yeah, blogging too. We talked about work, families and life.
Even though we’ve had several conversations in the comments sections of our blogs, I think we were a bit nervous about the call. But that uneasiness eased, because all three of us were feeling the same. We talked and we laughed. We decided to have a better topic of discussion next time.
Meanwhile, Cyranny held her Skype Sundays and I yearned to talk to her. This morning, I woke to Cyranny’s mail informing me that we were having the conversation at 8:30 am IST. I was unsure if she meant my Sunday or my Monday. I checked the time. It was 7. If she meant my Sunday, I just had 1.5 hour left. I dropped her a mail. The reply came. We were meeting in 30 mins. She held a special call for for me.
This time, it was much more easier. We did talk about lockdown and its effect in our lives and on nature. We talked about our work culture, weather and languages.
We asked if we were pronouncing each other’s names correctly. I told her about how I learned the basics of French and the similarities between French and Hindi. I told her how my friends always found it difficult to pronounce ‘Je‘ in French. She told me how those who speak English don’t get the French pronunciation of ‘eu‘ right. She told me she’s learning Danish. (Those of you who don’t know her, Cyranny loves Denmark like crazy!!)
She was amazed to know how her mother tongue is known here in India, how there are people who enroll themselves to learn not only French but also languages like German and Spanish.
She told me about the weather and seasons in Canada and Africa (she stayed there for 5 years), I told her about India’s. She told me about shark sighting in Montreal and I told her about Nilgai sighting in Noida.
She has promised to record a video of a squirrel calmly walking on the road. Oh, yes! Because I have always seen them running them around.
I know I should have written the first half of this post two weeks ago. But I got busy with life. The details of my first bloggers call have somewhat faded, but the essence has not. It is okay. Better late than never. So I thought before the details of today’s conversation fade away, I should capture it all in my words.
After the call, I googled up the French pronunciation of her name to speak it correctly. Cyranny, I’ll ace it by reading your name whenever I read your blogs and comments. Funnily, I was pronouncing her name as a rhyming word of “tyranny” with the ‘K’ sound for C. My sister has been calling you “Say-honey” and I just can’t stop laughing!)
And now as I write this, I realise why she was calling Hindi as Indi (in French, H is silent when words start with H).
Oh by the way, zabardast means terrific 😀
If you are reading this and would like to connect with me on a call, let me know in the comments section. How about doing it on next Sunday, sometime in the evening of Indian Standard Time? Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, whatever suits you! If you aren’t comfortable with video calls, don’t worry, we’ll have an audio call 🙂