Totoro and neighbour

I seldom have long conversations with my oldest niece any more; she is too traumatized at the end of a long day counseling people traumatized by the long lockdown to talk much. So it was a pleasure to chat with her the other day about Studio Ghibli movies. I’d just finished seeing Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. She said her favourite was My Neighbour Totoro. It is a beautiful movie; two young girls getting to know the natural world around them, full of pauses and asides, nature spirits and fantasy.

The lockdown traumatizes me when I think of all that I could have done if I wasn’t locked up at home while the epidemic rages out of control in Mumbai. The thought of infected people being turned away from over-full hospitals, dying without care, is enough to give you sleepless nights if you think about it. When I think of how much of a privilege it is to be able to have a safe place to continue to live in, it can also induce trauma about the unknown social changes around us. I guess I deal with it by changing focus. I’m very happy that long and wasteful meetings are slowly phasing out in favour of the core work. The extra time goes into household chores and the little new skills and interests that I’m picking up. Studio Ghibli is one of them.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


  1. I read two interesting articles this week, both whose authors were inspired by the pandemic. Whether either was correct remains to be seen. One postulated that this pandemic will lead to significant political change as masses of people begin to realize things will never be the same again and become dissatisfied. The second argued for a much closer relationship between the United States and India as a result of the deterioration of our relationships with China. I am not in a position to comment what they say, but I do strongly suspect this pandemic will affect almost all individuals and societies.

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    1. True enough. The normal will change. Friends who are in business see a larger move towards work-from-home as a cost cutting measure. The huge loss of jobs will definitely have economic and therefore political impact for quite some time to come.

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  2. Studio Ghibli is new to me, I just googled and it looks interesting. As I read this post I am suddenly overcome with FOMO. I think i am really bad at time management. There’s so much I want to do…..
    Knowing about Mumbai is worrisome to say the least. I have stopped watching TV for a while now and reading news about a week now. Brings in depression and helplessness. Now, whatever little I get to know is from people.

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    1. I get my news from the traditional news sources online. Many of these make it easy to customize the categories of news you want. I’m afraid of relying entirely on individuals for news; unknown biases begin to creep in.

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      1. I do online too, just that have been staying away off late …….and I see I have mentioned TV there…..actually TV doesn’t work most of the time, I don’t get the recharge done, as I hardly watch, it caters to my parents when they are here….
        Hope all is well with the cyclone over there.

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