The answer to this question is pretty subjective, and depends from family to family. Every household is different, with its own share of troubles. But, largely, yes, a lockdown has come with its fair share of advantages. Among other things, it forces people to work on their differences and find a middle ground so they can live respectfully and amicably inside the same house. Families that mostly live apart, are now finding grace in getting to spend ‘quality time’ with other members of the house. Many of them say that in a way this 21-day lockdown has managed to bring them not just physically, but also emotionally closer.
Indianexpress.com spoke to some people who are quarantined with their loved ones, and here is what they said.
For 55-year-old Ajoy Chakraborty, an ex-Army man and a Mumbai-based actor, currently in quarantine with his family in Prayagraj, sitting on the dinner table and getting to eat together was rare earlier. “When you are so far away in a totally different city, you miss these moments. When I was starting out, I used to barely meet my family three to four times a year, for merely four days. Now, because we are in quarantine, we are not going out anywhere. At the dinner table, we share stories and laughter. As a family, we cherish these moments,” he says.
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Ditto for 54-year-old Parimal Bhattacharya, who says he was previously unaware of his daughter’s nature of job. “I was in a different country all along and returned last September. I reunited with my daughter here in Mumbai when she started her job. Ever since we started working from home, instead of getting to see each other for a few hours every day, we are now seeing each other for 24 hours. The funny part is, I was not aware about her job and she was not aware about mine. My wife was clueless about both our jobs!” he laughs.
While Bhattacharya’s daughter is an engineer, he heads an insurance company.
Before the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head, most people around the world held an opinion that a homemaker’s job is not a real job. Now, having to clean up after themselves, and dividing household chores, this thinking is seeing a change.
While Bhattacharya says he helps with cleaning and washing of utensils, Chakraborty has been putting his culinary skills to test, making meals for his family of five.
Vishwajyoti Sahai, a Prayagraj-based lawyer, is cooped up inside his house with his entire family. “I am with my parents, my wife, my son and my sister-in-law. My son, a lawyer, was in Delhi when news about lockdown started making rounds. I told him to return home immediately, by any means. He managed to reach with just 30 minutes to spare for the nation-wide lockdown,” he says.
Sahai says the family now spends time doing yoga and other exercises, besides doing household chores. “We are getting to have our meals together. Now, old serials like Ramayana are back; so we try to watch it together and get some sanskaar, and utilise the time in a healthy way,” he says.
In Chakraborty’s house, every day at 5pm, cricket is played religiously. “My son, daughter and I play it on the terrace every evening, for at least one-and-a-half hours. It is a great workout, too. At night, my wife and I watch old Bengali movies starring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen,” he says.
With no rush to leave the house for work, many families across India are having more frank and open conversations. They are working on their issues and differences, finding common interests, and emerging as stronger and more close-knit packs.
As humans, we naturally take things and people for granted. Maybe once we are done with this difficult chapter, we will learn valuable lessons from it.
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