Living History – Aryak Ray’s Chapter, Udyog Vihar
Life during Corona.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Coronavirus will become yesterday’s news sooner or later. That doesn’t change the fact that we are living through a crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen in generations. One day, a century later maybe, when the longest-living among us too would begin to die, newspapers would commemorate the event as the passing away of the last of the people who lived through the world-altering Covid-19 pandemic. In brief, big-time history is happening now. And The Delhi Walla is trying to prepare a part of its first draft by putting a set of questions about ‘daily life these times’ to people from diverse backgrounds.
Today, it’s Aryak Ray, a copywriter in a digital advertising company. In his 20s, he lives with his heartbreakingly cute dog in a two-room ground floor apartment in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar in the Greater Delhi Region—it’s a charming place snuggled with a small front garden that has a guava tree and a banana tree. Like most of us, Mr Ray is in self-isolation, and is working from home.
He grew up in various places in West Bengal. Also a guitarist, he in fact played a bit of music while chatting on WhatsApp; the photos were taken through the phone screen that connected him to this reporter.
5 outdoorsy things you’ll do after the pandemic is over.
1. Take my dog, Dino, out for a really long walk, beyond my gated community’s quarantine boundaries: maybe even further – car ride – trek. He has been with me since the time he was born three years back.
2. Eat a lot of street food in Malviya Nagar, Purani Dilli and finally visit Sadar Bazar’s Sardaar Jalebi Walla, a 60-year-old sweetshop in Old Gurgaon.
3. Find out more open mics, art societies and make an effort to find my tribe.
4. Visit my cousin, Indu, more often. She’s 10 and lives with her parents in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University campus. Her mom is a teacher in the English department.
5. Chat a lot with strangers outside on the street. The fact that we didn’t know each other previously and possibly won’t meet again gives a sense of anonymity to our interactions and lends honesty to the chats.
The view outside your window at the moment.
My recently mowed garden with a lone banana tree, much like me in quarantine – overgrown, wild and grounded.
What’s going on in your mind right now?
These thoughts – if déjà vus have something more to them. That’s because I’m watching a TV show that deals with time as a warp, non-linear. Another – if by having too many secrets from my parents while growing up, I have stopped their growing process as parents themselves, i.e., if I have been a bad parent to them. And this too – if I should quit my job and pursue music full-time.
Objects in your house that give you solace in self-isolation.
I have very few things in the house, and wow, while I answer this, I realise that I’m much more inward and depend on my feelings rather than objects that surround me. People who visit me want to buy me furniture. But let me try – a photo album that’s always on my table, a set of colour pencils and a colouring book, speakers, my guitar, some really old ashtrays that have a story to tell, posters on the wall, and books that I watch, but never read. One of my ashtrays is a gift from mom from Shantiniketan, West Bengal. It’s kinda huge but I broke it in half few years ago, and then I glued it and have been using it like that since then. The gluing has been so perfect that sometimes I forget it had ever broke.