What it's like living alone in a Covid-19 hotspot during lockdown


I’m a beauty author, and I can’t decide whether to bake bread with bananas or teach DIY masking with it

Adventures and misadventures during lockdown

By Nikita Upadhyay  April 23rd, 2020

I have to be by myself? Done! Have done it for a decade.

I have to socially distance myself? Okay, I prefer it that way. 

Handshakes aren’t allowed? Oh God, thanks! Please make this a thing even after all this is over.

But…

I can’t have help in the house?  What? Like, not at all? Now, that really sucks!

Hello, I am Nikita Upadhyay. Journalist, digital creator and author of bestselling beauty book Roots to Radiance. I am a single girl in NCR who (as you can tell with the above mentioned stuff) doesn’t have a flatmate. My area is marked as a Covid-19 hotspot and  even getting groceries is a challenge.

Growing up in a family of 15 in a small city in Chhattisgarh didn’t leave a lot of opportunities to cook and turning 18 and moving to New Delhi didn’t change that either. I’ve been a girl who thrived over the fact that I can’t cook. Never have, never will. 

To which the universe responded saying: “never say never”. I mean, it’s all fun and games until we live through a time where take-out becomes impossible for a while. 

As a content creator and DIY expert, my feelings are making an appearance in weird ways. In the past few days, anyone who’s called me for work purposes is evidently regretting it because I’m super aware of going on and on about ideas and things not because I’m getting creative but because it’s been so long since I’ve talked to someone.

 

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At a time when I don’t know if and when I’m going to have access to my next batch of groceries, my anxieties are driving me to answer every collaboration mails that’s asking me if I could help people make face packs, scrubs and other therapeutic stuff at home that can be made with kitchen ingredients. I can’t say no, so there goes my last banana, my last cup of curd, my last tea bag, but what did I get in return? The satisfaction of helping someone treat their under eye circles, helping someone get their glow on and transform their skin during this time…isn’t that the life I signed up for? Since then I may have done 50+ takeovers, lives, Q/A sessions, videos…I even got my friends/beauty moguls like Bobbi Brown, Sunday Riley, Christine Chang to share their side of the story on my Instagram

With our worlds turned upside down, having a 2BHK to myself was a gift until I had to clean all of it myself. My balcony with swaying palm trees used to look like baby Bahamas but the unexpected rains have dragged the Delhi-style dirt to it. 

Nikita Upadhyay

As days passed, I’ve become a freaking chef! Crispy bhindi, kadhai paneer, stir fried veggies and insanely round chapatis, you name it. Since I’m found in my kitchen a lot, God saw another opportunity and exploded my kitchen’s drain pipe, because why not? And no, no plumber was allowed to come into the sector. Since I’m an Indian and all about the DIY life, I fixed it myself…I couldn’t find a ribbon like thing so I cut stripes from an old top to tie the drain pipe to the sink. Was real proud of that one. WIll miss that perfect worn out summer top though. 

nikita upadhyay

Some days though are especially difficult because humans need humans…and I’ve been quarantined and locked down for longer than a lot of other people. There are moments where I’ve sprayed lavender all over my room for relaxation, which didn’t work…instead I cried for a few minutes not knowing why I was crying. It was 4:30am and I was probably tired but my mind wasn’t shutting down. But yeah, I went on Instagram, saw a few memes, laughed and looked at myself at the mirror in the middle of my laugh and asked myself, ‘how am I laughing and crying at the same time…what are these times?’.

Even though the lockdown began a month ago, I haven’t seen my family in months and haven’t met my two oldest friends who live far away…it all makes it seem like it’s been ages. But the good thing about this is that a lot of my friends have found the time to schedule more video calls. They even monitor my cooking sometimes.

I can’t wait to have that world back where I would find socialising unbelievably exhausting as I always did… a world where I’m protective of our energies, not allowing them to latch on to anchors that can drag me down…but also having the freedom to go all out and sync them with my people like I used to.

For now I cook, I clean, I make videos, I do tutorials, I go ‘live’, I watch movies, but in the middle of all that I also wrote this piece for ELLE, to tell you that you got this!

Lemonade out of lemons, people!