Did you know about 'Freelancer Mondays?' And no, it is not a new lockdown discount scheme!

Working from home lockdown breakfasts are the best

Thank you

Listen guys, I have been completely overwhelmed by your responses to my last post where I asked whether I should continue blogging. Not that I was planning to stop, but was I feeling a bit desultory when I wrote it and then came the most wonderful flood of messages and posts of encouragement from you through email, on Instagram, Facebook. I read them all. Smiled each time. Answered some. Will answer the rest. I must. And, a big, big thank you for this. Can't tell you what each of your messages meant to me.

I decided to write a post first though. I thought that it would be the best way to say thank you to each of you who reached out, so here goes.

(In the video above you can see Baby Loaf indulging in what is called 'kneading' according to my Instagram followers who saw it in my stories and messaged me. Cats do it in memory of their mother's nursing them. It seems that this is a way of their showing affection to their hoomans and saying that the hoomans are now their parents!)

Your Daily Loaf

I woke up at 7.30 am today and opened the bedroom door to check on Baby Loaf. He tumbled in! He was waiting with his nose pressed to the door even though we had shut the door only at 4 am. I fed him in the hall. Then he came to the bedroom and woke Kainaz who cuddled him though she had an early morning client call coming up.

I dozed off till I heard Loaf meow again. It was 10.30 am. He was sitting beside the bed. Looking at me. K was done with her first call and was getting onto another.

You know the drill after that.

I got up. Fed Baby Loaf. He ate. Then seeing us both up, and therefore feeling assured, he went off to sleep. His current favourite sleeping spot is the very Bandra Goan grandpa/ Peddar Road Parsi grandma chair in our bedroom. The one K often uses for Zoom calls where she has to appear on camera. Or to dry clothes on. You should hear her squeal when Loaf settles on freshly laundered clothes.

"What have you done? I have to wash and dry them again," she says with all the pretend anger of a loving and indulgent Parsi mother. Wagging her finger at him first in disapproval and then blowing him kisses!

Freelancer Monday lazy breakfast

I had planned to make omelettes for breakfast and then changed my mind and decided to take a simpler path instead. I boiled a couple of free range eggs from what we had ordered in from Natures Basket. I love the orange yolks in them. Toasted slices of wholewheat multi-grain bread which we had called for from the Bakers Dozen this morning. Made a sandwich with this and added in some of yogurt based cream cheese with caramelised onions that Shilpa Gupta of @tttapas on Instagram (a fashion designer turned lockdown home chef) had sent. The cheese feels like a tight textured hung curd dip, with the onions giving a bit of sweetness to balance the tart. The combination made for a lovely sandwich for breakfast.

This relatively no effort breakfast fitted in what my decision last night for today to be a 'Freelancer's Monday.' A day of lyadh as we call it in Bengali. Of leisure. Sloth.

When I bumped into Jospeh at Salt Water Co recently
This time we were both smiling!

I first came across the concept of 'Freelancer Mondays' when I was on my first freelancer consulting assignment after I had moved out of mainstream market research. My assignment was to go to clients and introduce the new market research agency that had hired me to clients. My client's hope was to leverage my experience and standing in the market.

There were two of us hired for the same role. The other being a gentleman called Joseph Eapen. He was slightly senior to me, had just returned from Dubai and was quite experienced in media research.

We would often go together for the same meetings. Those outings were like an oxygen boost for my hope asphyxiated soul at that time. I had not taken to the movement out of a salaried job, with no clear vision on what to do, too well. The situation used to really weigh on me and even on good days I would be more melancholy than your average Orhan Pamuk character. This was before I started going to the Yoga Institute at Santa Cruz where I found a bit of inner peace while at the campus and before I began practising Nicherin Buddhism with the Soka Gakkai which gave me purpose and momentum in life and helped me turn 'poison into medicine'.

That is when Joseph, unknowingly perhaps, played a great role in my life. He was senior to me as I said earlier. A visibly positive person. Full of confidence and bluster. Very caring and compassionate too. He would listen to me as I told him about my worries and my disenchantment with my professional life, and would keep encouraging me. Telling  me that things would get better. He would express  full confidence in me though he did not really know me. Would always be so cheerful and accommodating. He was most supportive of my love for food and food writing. He tried to write a Wikipedia entry (!) on me but got shot down. Would join me for a bite in between meetings and take the tab. He later came to my food walks when I started them and when we bumped into each other in a cafe in Bandra sometime back, praised me profusely to his clients whom he was meeting there. The sort of person you would want to have in your corner.

You never know the difference you can make in someone's life. Joseph for sure played a big role in keeping me afloat at a time when I was wracked by anxiety and despair. Especially during parts of the day when I was alone, with K being out at work.

That was in 2011-12 and thankfully that period is over in my life, but one cannot and should not forget the debt one owes to people who stood by one till one stood up again.

Joseph is the one who introduced me to the concept of 'Freelancer Mondays.' It was his own practise it seemed. He told me that ever since he became an independent consultant, he decided to not work on Mondays, or even set up meetings on that day.

"Just like that," he explained with his characteristic impish smile. "What is the point of giving up a cushioned job otherwise?"

That was Mishti Debi and little Nimki this Monday morning. 

I started following his practise myself as I slowly eased myself into my life as a freelance writer. Weekends were more busy than weekdays. K would be home and we would try to go out to cafes when we could or catch up on things to do at home. My mom in law would be there. Occasional meetings with friends would happen. Dinners. movies. Buddhist meetings would be there on weekends. Somehow I would end up writing more from Friday onwards to Sunday.

Things would suddenly become calmer of Monday as the house became empty. I enjoyed this calm, unlike in the early days where being alone would make me feel as if the walls were closing in on me.

I had thankfully found my rhythm in life, and on Mondays I liked to take it easy. As do many other freelancers as I have learnt over time. The original 'work from home' gang.

If you are a freelancer, then I would like to know if this holds true for you too.

#loveyourleftovers mangshor jhol chaat

Lunch was rather chilled out today. Three day old mangshor jhol and the rice from a three day old mutton pulao. The combination turned out to be a fabulous #loveyourleftovers meal. I did not take a bowl for the curry as I normally would have before the lockdown. Frugality in the kitchen starts with reducing the number of dishes to wash as we have realised!

The mutton was fabulous. We bought it a week back from Mohsin who runs Janta Meat Shop at Bandra. He has been delivering at Bandra on weekends as business was low. We froze it, thawed it and cooked it a week later and yet the meat turned out to be as tender as a sonnet. If you like within Worli to Bandra in Mumbai and want great quality mutton and want to #supportsmallbusiness too, then you can reach out to Mohsin at: 9820420136

Now I am off for a late nap before I come back to edit and post.

Baby Loaf was napping when I went in to nap. My cat naps are a lot shorter than his!
Notice how K had made it a point not to keep any laundry there this time.


Joseph Eapen said…
Your are very kind Kalyan. Miss you man!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@joseph miss you too man. Let’s meet soon. Happy birthday in advance to Manju