: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 favorite philosopher but a mild threat from my elder sister. I was in my sixth grade when my sister lends me a hand with my school work, and I quite did not agree with her work not to forget a favor! Looking at my disappointment, my sister pulled off this great quote back then, which I recreated in my memory to 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 and working to establish her Ph.D. 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, and freedom of speech activist. 

Growing up in a socially conservative and disciplined family made me meticulous and prone to compulsive behavior. I am not very extreme though you see the mild symptoms of arranging items, numbers, colors, and symmetry, using a spare cloth for cleaning hand and cleaning after I use 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 in a society where most people depend upon public transport. It is common while traveling, and it's an avoidable situation where we touch a lot of things that have been exposed to germs and 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 than COVID.

First, inculcating good hygienic habits in children is crucial for a healthy life to keep illness at bight. I remember the house rules of practicing 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 and washed the product, and moped the floor by hand (to feel spiritually clean). 


Whenever I moved into a new apartment in Norway, I practiced the same ritual to wash the floor, not spice up the floor, but salt is an effective stain remover and evades 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.


On the last day at work 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 making a meat wrap but was a serious offense to someone who follows a plant-based diet. The workers must follow strict hygiene during this time while handling the food of their customers. I guess people can live without eating junk food, am glad most school kids eat home-cooked food.


Most of us are with their cellphones all the time, sometimes you leave it on the table to grab something, and the 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 contact with still objects or commute by any public transport, handling doorknobs, coffee cans, and entering code by cashier machine. It is essential 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. In comparison, 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.