:CHAITRAS BLOG: Living a Hygiene Life

:BLOG: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” - is not a quote by my favourite philosopher but a mild threat from my elder sister. I was in my sixth grade when my sister lends me a hand for my school work and I quite did not agree with her work not to forget a favour! Looking at the disappointment on my face, my sister pulled off this great quote back then which I recreate in my memory till date before I look for an extra hand. Maybe this is the reason why I do not ask for help.

  • Chaitra Shamraya blogs about her experience from working and living in Norway. From the student life in the village of Volda on the Norwegian west coast to the struggle with starting her career as an international journalist and an activist in Oslo, as well as working to establish her PhD project.  In the summer of 2019, she started as a co-worker at Oslo Media House, where she is a very active contributor in journalism, as a speaker as well as freedom of speech activist. 

Growing up in a socially conservative and disciplined family made me meticulous and prone to compulsive behaviour. I am not very extreme though you see the mild symptoms on how I arrange items, numbers, colours and symmetry, using a spare cloth just for cleaning hand, clean after I use a space, also I am a tab hoarder. I still don't know why I hold onto to so many tabs on my computer when I understand closing it doesn’t mean I will lose all the information to the black hole.   


Likewise, growing up in India with a harsh climate, bacterias, germs, where humidity and pollution can make your body a bacteria-magnet we have developed a strict regime. Maintaining personal hygiene becomes essential while living a society where most people depend upon public transport. It is common while travelling and it's an avoidable situation where we touch a lot of things that have been exposed to germs and, this could pass on the dirt to us. The house rules were to wash our feet, and hands and face the moment you have taken off your shoes, which I still follow to date out of habit rather COVID.

To begin, inculcating good hygienic habits in children is crucial for a healthy life to keep illness at bight. I remember the house rules of practising personal hygiene at my parent’s place, brooming the floor every morning, then bathing, brushing your teeth twice a day, once in two days the floor must be washed. I remember we added salt and turmeric to the water along with washing product and moped the floor by hand (to feel spiritually clean). 


Whenever I moved into a new apartment in Norway, I practised the same ritual to wash the floor not to spice up the floor but salt is an effective stain remover and evade negative energy. Back in India, our family followed the rules of placing footwear beyond the porch and clean yourself with water before you get inside the house. It might sound weird to many Europeans, but it bothers me when someone walks into my apartment wearing footwear. My Volda friends felt this annoying but sorry guys, shoes off before you step in. 


In school, we had physical training every Wednesday and the teacher would check our nails. So trimming nails every Sunday morning had become a ritual, one would never do this inside the house. It was just before lockdown began, I saw my colleague clipping nails inside the office. I find it an unhealthy lifestyle to cut off dead cells from your body at work, somehow I ceased her act.


The last day at work that is before Lockdown my friend picked her food from a sandwich corner, the women at work used the same gloves to fill the wrap with veggies and meat. She did a good job at work making a meat wrap but was a serious offence to someone who follows a plant-based diet. The workers must follow strict hygiene during this time while handling food of their customers. I guess people can live without eating junk food, am glad most school kids are eating home-cooked food.


Most of us are with their cellphones all the time, sometimes you leave it on the table to grab something and next moment you type or scroll and are on a phone call. People forget to disinfect phones after using it or before touch their faces unconsciously. It is important to wash your hands every time you are in contact with still objects or while you commute by any kind of public transport, handling doorknobs, coffee cans, enter code by cashier machine as such. It is extremely important to inculcate these habits in our routine to keep your home/surroundings clean. 


Despite the lockdown, and considering the population, India is doing a pretty good job with the total cases tested. While COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, which typically travel about three to six feet and settle on surfaces, where they can live for about 72 hours, according to the World Health Organization. India following the lockdown abiding good hygiene has given the world a good example. Good hygiene will boost your immune system, make you more appealing, convincing and approachable.