Silver Lining in the Time of COVID-19

Everyone around the world has been talking about, since what seems like an eternity, only about the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). And now that it has wormed its way into India, with 125 confirmed cases (as of 17/3/2020), we’re all on high alert. 

Here’s what happened in the past couple of days: Schools and colleges were asked to shut down across states which reported cases, Maharashtra’s CM asked for malls, gyms, theatres and swimming pools to be closed down, and most offices issued Work from Home (WFH) mandates to all its employees.

While you must think that this is morbid and, with a lockdown in most states across the country imminent, here’s where we see some silver linings…

We can finally dedicate some time to our families

Besides reducing the risk of carrying and transferring the virus strain, the reason why most employers have issued mandates is to ensure the safety of their employees – in a place where he/she feels safest – at home. So, at a time when WFH has become a norm, and safety is on everyone’s minds, this mandatory break-of-sorts is probably what everyone wished for – just not in the form of a pandemic, though.

We’ve all been guilty of not spending enough time with our family, not giving them the attention they deserve, nor taking care of them. Enough and more literature has been shared about how one must always cover his/her nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, and wash hands every two hours. Here’s your chance to take your family’s wellbeing into your umm, hands. I, for one, have been ensuring that my grandmother – since she loves opening the door, herself, every time the bell rings –  washes her hands before and after she interacts with whoever is at the door.

Just this morning, right before I started my workout, my trainer asked my sister-in-law and me to wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water, and repeat it every time we picked up new training equipment. Talk about working out, eh?

I’m working in a space that I can call my own…

Yes, we all have dedicated desks or preferred seating spots – I’ve hung up some inspiring quotes and photos of my travels, myself – but nothing spells comfort like your home. My work desk now overlooks the terrace where I can finally catch a sunset, I have a to-do sheet for when I get lazy, and a mother who dotes over me – no really, I’ve already had 5 meals in just one day!

I don’t remember the last time I sat down for a mid-day meal with my entire family. Thanks to this little breather, I had a chance to enjoy something I end up doing only on my holidays and getaways. When I told them what I was doing through the day, my father helped me with some amazing marketing ideas, while my brother was only too concerned about when he’d be able to holiday in a SaffronStays home next.

In times when we are unsure about information, panicking about safety and wary of the success of social distancing, a little time with family is the assurance we need. We’re all in this together, from about 1.5m apart.

Communication has never been better

While my commute time has reduced from 20 minutes to one, my families stress levels have dipped akin to the current market. Since we all are now in the same space I can spend the extra 19 minutes with actual face-time, rather than virtual FaceTime. The best part – my mother can just pop her head through the door and ask what I’d like for dinner, rather than ringing me up. And like most kids these days, I too usually avoid calls from my family during work hours and drop monosyllabic answers on WhatsApp groups, but these 19 minutes seem to fly by like a breeze.

The obvious perk about staying at home has been the ability to log off one minute and be virtually present for any friend the next. There’s no need to worry about who’s coughing on the train, who spat on the road (it’s 2020; it’s time this stopped) and how many common surfaces I have touched, Instead, I can dedicate all my attention to my friend ranting about her boss who has not issued a Work from Home (while secretly praying that he understands the importance of social distancing ASAP!).

I’d be remiss if I did not mention how easy communication was in this entire set-up! 

I’m a pro at games – and not the office kind

I remember a couple of months ago when I went to SaffronStays Casa Manga, Karjat with a couple of friends. We spent the entire day playing board games that were stocked in the home. Since then, I’ve seen many ‘Games Night’ plans make-and-break in front of my eyes. Now that we’ve been advised to stay at home, I’ve already mastered 3 board games and 2 online games. Yes, spending your entire day with your family can be tough (I hear you, millennials!) but the freedom to balance time with them and away from them is something I am surely going to miss once we all head back to our offices.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining

I never gave much thought to this phrase before, and maybe I am being too positive about the entire social distancing for COVID-19 situation, but no longer am I seeing divisive politics taking centre stage, communal talks (nay, slurs) across all channels, and anger on every platform.

I am seeing the world come together to fight this battle. After all, if our grandparents were called to war, the least we can do is sit on a couch and wash our hands, innit?

Stay safe, everyone 🙂