Relooking At My Relationships

How Social Distancing Changed The Way I Socialise

It’s been 13 whole days since I stepped out of my house. In fact, the last time I stepped into office was 13th March. 

I’ve spent most of my adult life outside home – college, internships, post-graduation, or jobs. I don’t remember a time when I was at home for more than a week; there’s always some social gathering to attend – parties, workshops, weddings… you know the life of a regular 25-year old. 

I’ve always wanted to spend more time at home, doing nothing but relaxing, reading and binge-watching TV series – and okay, maybe work a tiny bit. And along came the social distancing diktats imposed by the government in lieu of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. I’ve seen almost every relationship in a new light in this self-imposed quarantine. Here are 5 of them:

1. My Family:

My family is the super-involved-in-each-other’s-life kind of family. Not only do we rarely give each other space, but we’re also the kind that is always up for some ‘together time’. In the two weeks that we’ve all collectively been holed up in our house, we’ve had 3 game nights, 2 movie nights and 1 3-course Italian Sunday brunch. 

But I only realised how blessed (my feelings right now; could change in the next 20 days) I feel about my extra-involved family, is when I see my friends cribbing about spending all their time at home, with just their family. I’ve been pushing most of my friends to start playing board games with their family, see movies together, and talk about things they would otherwise not have the time for.

What this time of social-distancing has given me, is a chance to e-meet all my extended family members too. Just the other night my 50-something parents downloaded the Zoom Video Call app to catch up with the entire family, spread across the world. Every dark cloud does have a silver lining, it seems.

2. My Boss:

Never did I think that I’d miss spending time with my boss! We’d bounce ideas off each other and were always fighting about what we believed in (mostly in Gujarati, ’coz well, emotion!). Our Monday morning meets were the reason I never had Monday blues, and she made sure that everyone in the team was constantly pushing themselves to do better. Our banter has been reduced to 2 texts a day, a virtual call on updates and a few light comments on our WhatsApp group. However, I knew I was lucky to have a boss that understands that ‘Work from Home’ includes ‘Work for Home’ when I could ask her for an hour off to wash the bartan and there was no hesitation to approve.

Co-ordinated outfits call for a screengrab

P, I’ll see you on a Zoom call, soon?

3. My Girl Gang:

Every millennial girl swears by her set of girlfriends. We’re the kind of group that shares every detail of each other’s lives and are the first responders to any panic attack. I was introduced to the currently trending House Party app by one of my girlfriends, and boy has it changed our lives. From sneakily gathering gossip (you can see who is talking to whom on this app) and e-playing with one’s niece to edging each other to work more responsibly, we’ve covered a whole range of hormonal emotions.

Somewhere between meeting once every fortnight to video-calling across 3 continents, COVID-19 brought us a lot closer.

4. My Close Friends

Did I know that my friends can ace virtual Pictionary? No.
Do I meet my friend’s parents often? No.
Could I have guessed that my parents’ friends love word games? No.

WhatsApp has been a boon and bane for us all since the news of India’s first novel coronavirus patient surfaced. But overall, it’s been a solid support system. From an aunty who enthusiastically sent a pre-recorded jingle of bells and music for the Janta Curfew, to a slew of positive messages for a friend who was feeling anxious about staying put in her home, there’s been no dearth of novel ways to help everyone out.

Thanks to House Party, I’m playing Quick Draw (the online version of guessing words via drawings) till 2am and brushing up my Trivia knowledge while simultaneously meeting my friend’s parents virtually. While in family groups, we’ve already solved 4 Hidden Word Searches, Logo Quizzes and Movie Mania competitions.

5. My Helpers

The burden of my entitlement dawned on me only when I was asked to sweep the entire house and help in four household chores – while working. To all the helpers I’ve cribbed about before for not cleaning a spot in my room or making the perfect nimbu paani, I’m sorry. Unfortunately, this apology is going to be meted out only 20 days from now, but better late than never, no?

But on the plus side, I hope the duck-walks and squats I’ve been doing burn off all the pounds I’m going to put on after bingeing on junk food and 5 meals that mom’s been stuffing me with…

That’s all for now, before mom asks, “bartan dho liye?”