Victoria Isolation Diaries: Deepa Pillay

Locals share what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and talk about their worries, habits and hopes.

Marketing specialist Deepa Pillay, an account Manager at Beattie Tartan, is isolating in downtown Victoria  with her husband, Rahul, and their dog Zoe. She moved to Canada from India in 2017 and hasn’t been back since December of 2018.

“I worry about how much longer I will have to go without being able to see my family,” she says. “In real life and not virtually!” 

She shared with YAM what her new normal looks like.

What has been the biggest change for you since Covid hit?

Working from home! I’ve never worked from home before. And I quickly realized I did not like it. I don’t have a designated work area at home. So, I just work off of the dining table. Which is very uncomfortable. On the plus side, I actually take lunch breaks now. When working at the office, I would eat at my desk while working. But now that I work from home, I actually break away from the computer for lunch.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up at 7a.m. and take our dog out for her morning walk. I then proceed to make some breakfast and wolf that down before all the Zoom meetings begin. I work till about 5.30-6:00 p.m. After which, I prep dinner. Around 8p.m. my husband and I take the dog out for a nice long walk. She absolutely loves her night walks. After we’re back, we watch some stand-up or improv comedy before going to bed.

What are you most worried about?

My family back home (in India) – it’s hard being so far away from them during this time. Given the current travel conditions, I don’t know when I’ll see my parents next. And this makes me worry a whole lot. They were supposed to come visit this year. So were my brother and sister-in-law. But now, who knows?! 

How do you de-stress?

Music, comedy and Zoe. ?

I’m also using this time to do a bit of exploring around Victoria – maintaining social distancing measures of course! I’ve been in this beautiful city for almost two years, but haven’t really explored much. For example, I had no idea just how large Beacon Hill Park is. But I do now. I also spotted some peacocks there, which is India’s National Bird. And, as silly as it sounds, just looking at those peacocks made me feel more connected to my country.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to?

I’m reading different books from my favourite genres: murder mysteries and suspense thrillers. I go through one to two novels every week.

I watch a whole lot of comedy. Whose Line Is It Anyway is one of my favourites. I grew up on it. And now, I’m enjoying watching all of the old episodes. We need all the laughter and joy we can get. 

Have you rediscovered any hobbies?

I haven’t rediscovered any, but I’ve taken up a bit of cooking and baking. I’ve always hated cooking. Never had the patience for it. But now, I figured I’d give it a try. My husband is amazing at cooking Indian food. So I’m trying to learn how to cook North American food. I started with the quintessentially North American mashed potatoes, banana bread, and mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s interesting to learn just how different Indian and North American cuisines are!

Is there anything from this time you hope carries forward when this is over? 

Yes, I have definitely realized how things can change in the blink of an eye. Before the pandemic, I put off so many things that I wanted to do — such as  joining the YMCA, a day trip to Vancouver, visiting Tofino, etc. I realize now that we really should enjoy all of life’s offerings and go out and do all the things we want to without procrastinating. Because you never know when things will change and you’ll lose the opportunity!