#WFH Diaries: Fatima Ansari of BBDO Pakistan

As confinement continues in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Fatima Ansari, senior creative manager at BBDO Pakistan.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I am a senior creative manager at BBDO Pakistan who loves to avoid human contact and takes pride in having answers to almost everything, but I guess I can only enjoy being good at one of the two right now.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Living in Lahore, Pakistan, with my parents, an elder sister, and an unamused cat—all of whom are currently traumatized by my "lively" presence (or lack thereof) at home.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Pretty much like a weekend scene at home, except I have unexpected visitors every 15 minutes, the background music is Breathless by VoiceNotes, the mood is Dark by WhatsApp, and I get to enjoy the best kind of naps halfway through the meetings that were set to decide when to keep the next meeting. But hey, every day is a good day when don't have to change from your PJs. 

Describe your socializing strategy.

Being an ambivert, this is a golden opportunity for me to be in my own den while having a virtual connection with those who'd like a dose of my dark humor, wit and drama. The best form of relaxing with my friends has been laughing endlessly over memes (or creating our own) and doing not-so-intellectual commentary on the ongoing trends.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

I have tried to be understanding of the fact that my cat is not used to me being around all the time, but I have been an overaffectionate keeper, which clearly isn't working out. Next week I'll try giving her the cold shoulder as she expects from me on normal days. Or maybe just act a little civil with her, as I do with my other co-workers. Fingers crossed!

What are you reading?

I have been reading a lot about what other people have been thinking and reading. Articles that range from "How to get bored" to "Is it time to be silent?" and everything in between. It's fascinating to see how people experiencing the same thing are wearing starkly different colored lenses as they form their own unique perspectives for it (mine are definitely black tinted).

What are you watching?

I have been watching other people being awesome at cooking (Insta-chefs FTW) and art (digital art tutorials), my parents watching their most-loved soap operas (after recently discovering the play and pause feature) while I cringe, and mindless shows that require nothing but one active brain cell to understand the whole plot.

What are you listening to?

LinkedIn has been my go-to guide on spotting which inspirational speakers from the creative industry are going live and when. Fernando Machado and Cindy Gallop—the most recent live sessions I attended. I have been blindly subscribing to all of them. Needless to say, it has worked wonders in keeping the creative spirits high during this time. 

How are you staying fit?

With the amount of junk food I have kept for myself for times when I need company during an "always mute" meeting or a self-isolated brainstorming session (both of which are high in frequency), the word "fit" is distancing from me right now. Probably the only time I do weights is when I pick up my cat—with one hand, away from my face so she is unable to scratch it.

Have you taken up a hobby?

My ex-boss is the sole reason I can reply to this question with a yes. With the tablet I got as a gift lying around in the dust for over three years, I have finally decided to brush up (my skills and the box both!) I am learning to paint digitally. Art combined with technology really is a game-changer!

Any tips for getting necessities?

Online shopping. Safe/contactless delivery at your doorstep (with desi parents spraying a ton of Dettol mixed with water over every covered item, just to be sure) is the need of the day!

An awkward moment since all this started.

There is never a good time to switch between mute and unmute. The second you hit unmute, the truck on the road nearby will decide to honk until your ears bleed, your mom will scream to notify you that lunch is ready, or inappropriate dialogue from the TV in the living room will be played at full volume.

Best work email you got since all this started.

"Ramzan Timings are now 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the rest of the month."

An aha! moment since all this started.

Everyone is now their own kind of introvert.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

This is all going to end up in a huge wave of catching up. FOMO plays the biggest part in our functioning, and since it has exceeded beyond comprehension during this time, everyone will try to fill the gaps in their lives by overdoing: overspending, oversocializing, overeating—all when this is over, hopefully.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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