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Shutdown Stories: Gulshan Devaiah makes the most of the break with his skipping rope and YouTube shows

Actor Gulshan Devaiah does not find the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic daunting because he is perfectly able to 'sit and vegetate for months'.

Shriram Iyengar

The sudden societal paralysis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown enforced across India by the government might be scary, dystopian even, but it is also giving people a chance to do things that they have been putting off for long.

Back from shooting for the Amazon Prime Video series Fallen, Gulshan Devaiah seems to be happy to be home. "I am very used to sitting at home and doing nothing," the actor told Cinestaan.com. "Between projects, when I have nothing to do, if I have some meetings or scripts to read, I do it at home. I can very easily sit and vegetate for months. This is normal for me. Except that I can't go to the gym, or the daily activities are not there."

With his cats keeping him company, the actor seems to be making full use of the internet in the downtime. Talking about his schedule, he said, "Absolutely no schedule. I wake up really early, by about 7. I have cats, so I play with them before I get on with my day. I check my social media at that time, because it is not very crowded and my phone will not blow up with messages then."

He also revealed that while he has not yet got back to some of the shows he had left midway, YouTube has caught his eye. "Anything about people making stuff," he elaborated. "How Italian shoes are made, tailoring, embroidery or bow-making. I love seeing craftsmen make stuff, or cook a meal. Things like that. Particularly, I am watching a lot of Japanese videos of artisans making stuff. The Tatami mat, or pottery, or papier-mache, or paper folding, ikebana or bonsai... I like people who are experts at something creating that. It is sort of calming."

An avid fan of the English Premier League football club Arsenal, Gulshan Devaiah is a bit disappointed that the matches are off. With Europe being the current epicentre of the COVID-19 infection, all sporting events have been called off. Maybe for the better, the actor admits a little later: "The last two years have not been too good for us [Arsenal]."

Devaiah had been shooting for Reema Kagti's upcoming Amazon Prime Video series Fallen, alongside Sonakshi Sinha and others, when the viral pandemic broke out. "It was unexpected. Kind of scary, depending on the situation," he said. "We got a phone call from the producer and the circular [from the Producers' Guild of India to suspend all shooting work]. Nothing is clear right now, so we will all begin when the situation changes."

Till then, it is back to his home quarantine and YouTube shows. "There are also these two chefs, Mark Williams and Trevor James. They have street-food shows. We also live in a world where everything is being particularized. These guys go to places like Iran, China. Trevor James travelled to the Uyghur region of China, tasting the street food. Sometimes, you just connect with it because it looks like the food back home, in a way you wouldn't expect. It really opens up your world and softens everyone's stand on these radical stances. I really like watching their videos, particularly when I am eating."

Does he cook, then? "Now I am cooking because my staff is on leave. I wouldn't say I like to cook every day. But occasionally I do enjoy cooking."

More than cooking, his eating habit is more remarkable. "I eat only once in a day," he said. "It has been two years now I have been doing it. I wouldn't recommend it for everybody, but it has worked for me. It helps me to maintain a neutral state and steady energy levels."

And what about his workout routines? Having played a martial arts expert in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (2019), a film that won him critical acclaim, Gulshan Devaiah said he had begun to enjoy his time at the gym: "I just practise on my jump rope. I started training for Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota and then it continued. I used to train in MMA [mixed martial arts], but I am particularly fond of boxing. So, I have kept up with the boxing. And it is simple, because you don't need much equipment. You can also shadowbox. I keep practising my punches and my head movements. All I need is imagination."

His favourite, though, is the jump rope. "I can do it at home. I can't work myself up to do different exercises or a home gym routine. But I will jump rope. In a day, I will do 1,000 to 2,000." He is also getting really good at it, apparently. "I am getting better at jump ropes. I am trying to do double skip, squat skip, and others. The more I do, the better I get. There are shuffles like the boxer shuffle that you can do with it as well."

Well, from the looks of it, Gulshan Devaiah has at least till the middle of next month to perfect those moves.

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