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‘In these surreal times, social media has become a substance for sustenance’

Reach out, be kind, share knowledge, dance a little — that’s what social media is there for.

Written by Anushree Majumdar |
Updated: March 31, 2020 8:54:21 am
home quarantine, self isolation, online life, internet, social media, indian express news In the history of the internet, never before has social media been recognised as a substance for sustenance as it is now, in these surreal times when uncertainty and fear have become the new normal. (Illustration: Suvajit Dey)

On March 20, when the partial lockdown in India was only until the end of the month, and panic buying and comfort eating began for those more fortunate than most, Aditya Pushkarna decided to take matters into his own hands. “My wife Natasha and I saw that a lot of people were freaking out at the thought of having to stay indoors, so we thought about how we could ease the stress,” says the 39-year-old Mumbai-based music producer. He used to DJ several years ago and decided to start “Club Quarantine” — every evening, at 7.30 or so, Pushkarna goes live on Facebook and plays an hour-long set of up-tempo tracks ranging from deep house to Eurodance, tropical house, anything really, to get you on your feet, or at least reach for a drink to lubricate your joints. The success of Club Quarantine has spurred a side project, Play Over It. “The idea is to come up with some beats and invite other musicians to jam. I’ve done one track so far, and I’m working on another,” he says. Play It Over is gradually gathering steam — at least six musicians (and counting) around the country and the world are riffing off his original beat.

In the history of the internet, never before has social media been recognised as a substance for sustenance as it is now, in these surreal times when uncertainty and fear have become the new normal. And for those who live by themselves, the following weeks of near-complete isolation are likely to be fraught with anxiety. Delhi-based lawyer, Jayashree Satpute, 40, decided to create a WhatsApp group for people she knew who lived alone; some who experience depression and claustrophobia too. “We’re all in it together, so I thought this was a way to keep a check on each other. So far, we have 17 members and we share pictures of our work from home spaces, our meals, we’ve played virtual ludo, even done jumping jacks on Skype together,” she says. The group keeps her busy and its symbiotic nature fosters a sense of community she feels will last beyond the pandemic. “We also have friends around the world who have been in quarantine/lockdown for longer than us. We’re planning a Skype call with them to know how they have dealt with this,” says Satpute.

While the lockdown took most of the nation by surprise, Ram Balmur, 40, had started preparing for it in February. The photographer from Pune, who specialises in weddings, architecture and corporate photography, is utilising the time to exercise, catch up on reading and polishing his craft. He’s taking the last activity to another level: Balmur is conducting a workshop online on Facebook and Instagram. “These sessions are from a workshop I’d conducted a few years ago where I covered basic to advanced photography. I’m used to talking to students so the inability to interact in real time has been a challenge,” he says. The online workshop began a week ago and has eight sessions; the first one racked up 1,800 views. “A few things are easier online. There is a huge subculture of video game content streaming. I looked up their processes and used that as a template. So I can project a live view of my camera and use the virtual blackboard with access to online resources,” says Balmur, who has more sessions planned, including some that cover interviews with expert photographers.

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First published on: 31-03-2020 at 05:00:07 am

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