Amazon must be really frustrated with me. Through these long pandemic ridden days (weeks, months and years), Mr Bezos and his guys have been trying to sell me the latest of everything, from tech to fashion. Without any success though. True, I have an Amazon Prime video account, but that came free with my phone connection. I do have several (and all very long) wish lists, but they are composed solely of books (by genre).

Getting lost in the world of the most technical non-fiction and most nerdy sci-fi is my comfort zone. This has been especially true during the pandemic. While the world around continues to change completely beyond recognition, this buffer zone of the written world has kept me sane. It works marvellously – don’t know what’s happening with the pandemic, let Chinmay Tumbe, Bruno Macaes or Colin Kahn tell you about it. Can’t figure out the economy? Let’s talk to Ha-Joon Chang. Worried about the energy shock, there’s Meghan O’Sullivan’s 400-page break-down.

There is a method to creating this temporary pitstop of self-care. It starts with cleaning the house and doing the dishes, both non-negotiable for getting my comfort on. Then, comes the making of a simmering hot cup (which is usually two or three in a tall glass) of tea. With the groundwork laid and the necessary beverage by my side, I select the author I want to talk to. It’s a monologue, with me talking using sticky notes and a mechanical pencil. (If only David Graeber, RIP, could hear my thoughts on Bullshit Jobs)

The last essential part of the comfort zone is the mild dose of stress about what lies outside this void in time and space. It’s essential because it lets me come out of it and start thrashing out stories on my laptop with renewed vigour. Amazon would still be mad, for even though I have all those lists on their website, I still buy the books from the numerous book stores across Delhi (and elsewhere). I guess one person’s comfort zone is another one’s lost opportunity to sell something.

Read all the articles in the Comfort zone series here.