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Shutdown Stories: Don't stick to a mundane schedule, advises Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub

While keeping his focus on books and poetry, the Article 15 (2019) actor makes sure he adheres strictly to his formula of no fixed schedule during the lockdown.

File photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Speak to Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub about the pandemic raging across the world and Brecht crops up in the conversation. "Will there be singing in the dark times?" he says, quoting the German playwright. "Yes, there will be singing about the dark times."

With the lockdown firmly in place, Ayyub is spending most of his time returning to his love, books. A while ago, the actor posted a video on Instagram of himself reading Harishankar Parsai's short story. 

"I hope to spread a little literature, as much as I can, to whoever reads my social media feeds," he told Cinestaan.com. Asked if he has a schedule to keep himself occupied through this period, he said, "No."

"I have no specific schedule as such," Ayyub said. "I am still on the same schedule as it was in Mumbai. It is just that I sleep late at night. Or wake up almost in the afternoon, by 12 or 12:30. The main thing is that I read a lot more. We have got a lot more time to read. There are no meetings lined up. There is nothing happening on the work front. So, we are mentally free."

Ayyub is currently reading another Harishankar Parsai treatise. The renowned Hindi satirist is one of the actor's favourite writers. "It is one thing to be a good writer and have the skill to elucidate, but to remain relevant till date, to have someone read those lines and think they are still relevant is the mark of a great writer," he said.

The actor is using this time to get back to books. "I am reading some things that I was losing touch with," he said. "There is a bit of revision going on." Another book on his list is Leo Tolstoy's tome War and Peace.

Quite the heavy reading, but he replied, "This is the time! I would tell you too, and your friends if you are speaking to them through this series, to take up the books they did not manage to finish for the excuse that there was no time to read. Books like Anna Karenina, War and Peace, or any other dream book that you have been unable to finish, pick them up."

The same goes for movies. The Article 15 actor is currently on a spree of classic films. "I was planning to watch Pyaasa (1957)," he said. "I just watched Se7en (1995) this afternoon, again after a long time. While it is not a classic, I love [David] Fincher's films. Then, there is always Money Heist. I keep returning to it. It is very interesting."

What about social media? Does he spend more time online now? No, he said, "I never did like social media from the start. I am not on Facebook, and Twitter is only good for the news. It actually gives better news than news channels. You follow 10 different people and form your own perspective. Instagram, well, people just forced me to go on to it. I am putting on poetry, books, events on it. For those basic purposes."

But, and more importantly, he added that he does not stick to a schedule. "It is always better to not have a fixed schedule. That is the only solution. The only way is to not have a schedule, it would become very mundane. Keep it mixed. Some days sleep early, or wake up early, do something different. That's the only way to keep it interesting."

Forty-two days cooped up inside the house is a long time. Sometimes, no schedule becomes part of the schedule. 

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