Chennaiites pick up hobbies while social distancing

To keep social interactions minimal due to coronavirus spread, musicians are choosing to perform via social media, while others working from home are catching up on reading, gardening, binge-watching their favourite TV shows
Representational image; Heeba Sait; Akriti Sachdev, Make-up artist
Representational image; Heeba Sait; Akriti Sachdev, Make-up artist

Chennai

As the coronavirus pandemic is spreading across the country, several Chennaiites with an option to work from home are sticking to their residences and taking to ‘social distancing’ in order to minimise their social interactions. Social distancing, which is currently being followed by many around the world, refers to cutting down going to crowded places, thereby curtailing the possible spread of the deadly virus. Many city folks are also using this time at home to catch up on reading, picking up new hobbies and keeping up with the old ones. Gardening, performing yoga and meditation, baking and cooking with kids, binge-watching telly shows are some of the ways in which the working population is staying busy while “self-quarantining” themselves to stay safe.

Musicians Goutham Kumar and Pavithra Krishnaswamy, who formed the band The Coconut Milk Project, are planning to perform for their audiences via Instagram, avoiding public venues. “We are saying no to public events for the next few weeks. We usually frequent open mics — one or two a week — sometimes doing jam-packed weekends. These are all mostly at public spaces with fairly high footfall. We’re all for social distancing at this point and are planning to do Instagram live concerts soon. If the going gets tougher, we’re also planning remote jam sessions. We are also looking forward to reading up and doing some coursework on music. It’s time we all got smart and avoided public spaces for at least a fortnight,” they assert.

Make-up artist Akriti Sachdev, on the other hand, is juggling between performing yoga, meditation, cooking and baking. “I was supposed to hold a make-up workshop ahead, which many students from other cities were also going to attend. I postponed that workshop and have given myself a break from work. I’m doing a lot of cooking and baking, which my husband is also helping with, giving us a good way to spend time. I’ve also been getting back to practising yoga and meditation. It made me realise how important it is to have a balance of things in our lives. Besides that, I’m binge-watching a lot of Netflix and YouTube, which I otherwise don’t get time for,” she shares. Her family is also avoiding social gatherings as much as possible, Akriti adds. “Even if it is an invitation from a good friend, we are politely declining the invites and staying home.”

As Dr Narayanaswamy, the medical superintendent at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, says, “If one has any symptoms of cold and cough, it is better to distance himself/herself from others. One can also try and avoid crowded places like buses and metros, where there can be too many people. It is essential for everyone to wash their hands thoroughly.”

With primary schools in the city shut, parents might be facing the additional challenge of keeping their kids occupied. Heeba Sait, creative director at a city clothing store, says she is trying to keep her two children and herself busy through painting, cooking, etc. “Since schools are closed until March 31, I wanted to keep my children engaged with some activities. I have decided to teach them the basics of cooking, origami, and a few other crafts. Because of work and other commitments, certain hobbies like painting and reading took a backseat. So, I am making use of this time to get back to them. Watching some documentaries and TV shows is also in the list. My in-laws have a huge garden and I am also planning to learn some gardening tips from my mother-in-law,” she remarks.

(With inputs fromMerin James)

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