Is coronavirus social distancing us or bringing us together?

As they say, moments of adversity can lead to opportunity, and many have found creative ways of spending time, at home.

Published: 19th March 2020 11:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2020 11:47 AM   |  A+A-

Express Illustration: TAPAS RANJAN

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Coronavirus has left all of us at our wit’s end on how to pass time. Notwithstanding jokes on social media on husbands and kids being home the whole day, families are faced with the real task of being ‘stuck’ together at home for days on end. Even people living alone face a challenging time, as limited social contact can lead to boredom and depression.

As they say, moments of adversity can lead to opportunity, and many have found creative ways of spending time, at home. Apart from streaming shows and movies, people are using this down-time to rekindle their long-lost passions and build on familial connections.

Family bonding

Rahul G, a 20-year-old BCom student who lives with his retired father in Vanasthalipuram says, “I started missing my friends within a day of classes being cancelled.” His father suggested they dust out their carrom board lying unused in the loft. He says, “After spending a joyful evening with my dad playing carrom and talking about his younger days, I had tears of joy in my eyes. Now, we play carom or chess, and spend time in each other’s company daily.”

Re-learning old favourites

Shabbir Hassan, a bookie at the Race Course shares, “With the races cancelled, it was the first Sunday in many years that I was at home with the family.” Gathering his children and nephews, he relived his childhood playing ‘Cat’s cradle,’ a simple sequence game played with a looped length of a string. It is one of the oldest games in human history and involves creating various string figures, either individually or by passing a loop of string back and forth between two or more players. He says, “It is so simple and yet engaged all of us for hours together.” Then, he says, “We played ‘Lagori’ also known as seven stones.” He laughs, “Demands for teaching them more games has increased.”

Board games

Card games and board games have made a huge comeback. Says Smitha, a freelance writer: “My parents, younger brother and I booked tickets on Saturday for a movie, but as the screening was cancelled, we spent time at home playing UNO and Jenga.”Zehra Anwar, a lawyer says, “My husband works in IT and is Working From Home (WFH). Both my teenage daughters are home as well.” While she rues losing the “the little me-time” she had, she has discovered how good her kids are at playing Scrabble and Pictionary. She laughs, “I had no idea they knew so many words!”

Kedar, who works in marketing, Sai, an interior designer and Tony, a science student are flatmates. With no TV in their house, they have found a new passion for games such as Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Monopoly. 

Marie Kondo moments

“I spring cleaned my entire wardrobe and got rid of clutter!” ecstatically claims Pramod K, assistant manager at a banking firm. He explains, “My weekends were always spent outdoors — partying, eating out, watching movies, bowling or playing a round of tennis with friends. Now, I have time to do things I had been postponing.”

Bookworms and crafters

Mrinalani, a BSc student, is utilising this unexpected mid-term break reading everything “non-academic”. Sounding relieved, she says, “All I have done is have steaming cups of coffee and catch up on reading.”

Khushbu Jain, an HR analyst at Deloitte who is WFH has found her calling in crafting. Upcycling bottles, boxes and photo frames with decoupage and sospeso, she exclaims, “Crafting makes everything better, even Mondays!”

Pottering around

Deepika Joshi, another analyst at Deloitte is using the time tending to her many plants. “I am spending a relaxed time pottering around my garden. I re-potted my plants and bought a few new ones. It is so peaceful,” she smiles.


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