BENGALURU: If you visit Abhishek Naidu’s house, you’re likely to spot an unfinished jigsaw puzzle in his living room. Similarly, at Urmi Lakhani’s home, the bed in her guest room has now been moved aside to make space for a 5,000- piece jigsaw, which will take up half the room. Naidu and Lakhani are just two of the many working professionals who are turning towards this childhood favourite in these pandemic-ridden times. Placing each correct piece of the puzzle brings with it peace, which has been a craving for many at the moment. “These puzzles have come in handy at the craziest of times,” says Lakhani, director of Bangalore Soft Drinks.
The pandemic gave the 30- something a chance to return to her childhood hobby, because, “there is only so much TV you can watch or books you can read.” Her first puzzle in these times was a 1,500-piece one, which she sat down with in March last year, and completed five months ago. Her next mission? “A 5,000-piece scenery of mountains.
There’s a sense of accomplishment at the end,” she says. The benefits to working on a puzzle are as varied as the number of pieces that come within a box. For Urmila Biswas, it turned out to be an effective way to cope with stress. “The best part is that there is no deadline to finish this. It’s a task that is different from work and has no purpose but feels mindful anyway,” says the founder of a communications firm, who, after working on 500-piece puzzle, has now graduated to a 1,000-piece one.
“You can see results with every piece you fit into place. The puzzle grows and the picture gets clearer,” she adds. Perks like these make psychotherapist Sudeeptha Grama suggest the activity to some of her clients as well. In times where not much is in our control, having some sense of structure can be helpful. “There is a definite outcome when one sets out to work on a puzzle, which can be comforting right now,” adds the founder of The Coffeeshop Counsellor. For Naidu, who has been taking part in puzzle swaps with Biswas, the activity has meant returning to the good old days of his childhood. The 33-year-old art curator finds it to be a great family bonding experience.
“That’s why we chose the living room for it. It draws us all away from our individual routines and into a central place,” he says. Naidu’s mother, Snehalatha, has also been enjoying the activity with her grownup sons. “I play scrabble to keep my mind active but my sons never join me. This has been a fun middle ground and it helps us all with memory,” she says. Most are in it for the long run. As Lakhani puts it, “Puzzles teach you patience and perseverance. You may not achieve your goal today or tomorrow but as long you keep trying, you definitely will.”