Experiences and Impact of Covid19 caused Lockdown

  • This article shares observations, experiences and insights from people across India, mothers included on life post the lockdown declared in March 2020.
  • For those willing to look within this is a great time to reflect, reset priorities, recharge your batteries and take important decisions about your future.

Lockdown was first declared on March 24 2020. It is going to be six months since the lockdown was declared. This article shares observations, experiences as noted with inputs from friends across India.


Life has never been the same again. Markets closed, travel restrictions, work from home, zoom meetings and birthday parties, eating out and socialising virtually stopped, no home support are some of the new realities.


Things have now begun to open up. Here are some observations of what happened since March 24.


1. One could not imagine life without newspapers. It has been nearly six months since I read a newspaper and I am not missing anything. 


Checking news online and twitter feeds have more than made up. Actually, the quality of content on sites and blogs is invariably superior to what the papers offer. 


2. In urban India we are so dependent on home support staff. 


For nearly five months we had no support staff. Meaning the cooking, sweeping, swabbing and utensils cleaning had to be done by us. We managed just as others did. Every family member chipped in.


Thus, families realized they could manage without home help. Home staff realized that urban India can do without them. After about three months, fatigue set in, now homes are waiting for the staff to be back.


Lockdown has made both realize how interdependent they are on each other.


3. Time to try out new recipes.


Twitter is full of ladies trying out new recipes or make what they wished to but could never make for whatsoever reason. Some got really creative.


A lady from Pune shared recipe of a Maharashtrian delicacy with a lady from Rajasthan who lives in Gurugram. Food integrates people in India just like cricket does.


Others, who rarely cooked otherwise, shared pictures of what they cooked. How could one give feedback without tasting? But such is the desire for sharing and approval.

Sunset Lake Palace Udaipur.

4. In India, many assume that the Central government administers the country whereas the Constitution clearly lays down Central and state subjects for e.g. agriculture is a state subject meaning responsibility lies with the State governments. 


So also Health is a state subject. For the first time in the recent past we saw states being held accountable for what they are responsible i.e. controlling covid19 Pandemic. Figures of numbers affected by covid19, recoveries and deaths are constantly monitored state wise.


This put pressure on the states who decided to have their own standard operating procedure (SOP) for those entering the state. Every state had a different SOP. Some felt that states were operating like independent countries. 


5. Time to check old pictures.


Social media has many people posting old pictures. It seemed to indicate they were checking computers for pictures or dusting out old albums.


We can only thank lockdown for bringing back old memories. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words.


6. A woman lawyer, with grown up kids, says that in Chandigarh, ‘We saw nature heal itself, pollution levels go down and enjoyed growing our own vegetables this year.’


‘The other thing I really liked was that as a family we started to eat our meals together.  Earlier breakfast was based on individual schedules, lunch on the go and dinner time either the kids or we were out. Sitting at the table for lunch and dinner and just chatting even after the meal finished has been great for the elders and kids. The kids have been listening to stories from the elders, great bonding.’


‘Early evenings are spent playing cards or board games together, with no one missing OTT channels or social media.’


‘Chandigarh has turned into a cycling paradise with everyone cycling outdoors for exercise.’    

There is more to India than the Taj-South


7. Number of mothers with young children complained about the pressure on them due to online classes. 


I mean, having a seven-year-old glued to a computer screen for hours in not easy.


8. A mother of two teenagers from Kolkata says she taught her kids how to make to do lists and life skills.


Since she lives with her in-laws she said that lockdown allowed the entire family to spend quality time with the elders such that bonds across three generations got strengthened. On usual days no one has so much time.


9. Another father of two from Kolkata says that our compassion for animals increased during lockdown and people have become more conscious about their physical and mental wellbeing. 


He added that re-telecasting of popular serials, Ramayana and Mahabharata revived the interest of the younger generation in these epics and also gave them an opportunity to imbibe traditional values. It was also a nostalgic experience for the older generations and added cheer to their lives during the lockdown period. A mother of two from Pune echoed a similar sentiment.


10. Loneliness from not going to work, and consequently being unconnected with the world was reduced by attending webinars and calling up old friends.


A friend from Mumbai said that lockdown gave her the time to connect with old friends (school, college). Since all of them are working from home, they had time for leisurely video calls. This brought back happy memories.


11. A career woman and mother of two (under twelve) from Pune says that lockdown made her Atmanirbhar, do work yourself.


She added, “Thanks to limited availability of essentials, my kids witnessed first-hand that we can survive for months with proper planning. Their taste buds survived without sauces, pastas, pizzas, etc. They enjoyed all the simple veggie/grain stuffs cooked and also learnt all can be prepared at home.”

“Another important learning is that they learnt is to love limitedness, accept the situation and be content. For e.g. both kids initially were agitated that they would not meet friends, teachers etc. With initial hiccups technology managed to give some respite. Although they did not find a what’s app /zoom/meet call real they are now content that atleast they have the means to see/ talk with their friends. Now they empathize with many people who don’t have these privileges and soldiers who are cut off from their families. Our Ganpati puja too was virtual! a new fun way.”


Actually, technology has played a big part in keeping the family sane.


12. A friend said that because the four of us were at home 24 by 7 and for months, there were fights. It just required us to raise our tolerance levels and learn that people are made differently. 


13. On social media I observed people had become more compassionate. 


They wanted to share what they were going through and importantly help others in coping with a difficult situation.


14. Digital payments has become a way of life. 


Our maid and milkman, who hitherto never accepted NEFT payments suddenly said they wanted payments electronically, no physical contact with cash.

There is more to India than the Taj-East.


15. Unknown talent was unearthed.


Suddenly, we got to know of many housewives in our society who offered to supply dabba (food) twice a day. A student made Kachoris and sold 1,000 pcs in ten days. Daily interactions brought members closer to one and another.


Had it not been for the lockdown, one would never know of such talent.


16. Those who grew up in the 1960-70’s know what it was to live in a shortage economy. Those born post 1980 probably, got their first experience of living with shortages.  


Due to a shortage, actual or feared, of provisions people have taken to over-stocking / hoarding, something that was a habit in pre-liberalized India. 


17. A work associate from Chennai said, that when he and wife ascertained the household expenditure between April and June 2020 they were surprised how little they had spent compared to earlier periods and wondered where they were spending huge sums of money earlier. He called it living with ‘minimalisticness’.


A friend’s wife said that “Thanks to lockdown her husband’s diabetes is under control because of no late nights and no eating out.”


18. One can look at the brighter side of staying at home. 


A career woman tweeted what her mother said, “You got to spend six months with your seven year old son, a son with whom you spent little time earlier.”


19. A Mumbai based Ayurvedic doctor and Yoga teacher says that post pandemic, the number of those who wanted to learn yoga, pranayama and Ayurveda has shown a rise because it is said they increase immunity levels. 


20. There has been a significant rise in the demand for biscuits and ready to eat meals/snacks in many families including ours. Read this FE report too. 


21. Some housing societies have not allowed home support staff, even three months post March 24, on the premise that they could be carriers of covid19. Whilst appreciating the intent this assumption might have adverse long-term impact on Indian Society and employer-staff relations.    


22. When the issue of returning migrant workers was at its peak some wanted the State to construct houses for them.


We need to understand that migrant workers from U.P. or Bihar who go to work in big cities or manufacturing hubs leave their families behind, many live in small single rooms. Intent is to save money, send back to family and make a home in village. The intent is not to settle down in a Mumbai or a Chennai hence they do not invest in a home. That explains their poor living conditions.


23. The hate some have for this Modi government became apparent when the GDP growth % for the first quarter was announced i.e. “Real GDP, as measured at constant 2011-12 prices, shrank 23.9% from a year ago.” Source


Since the fall in GDP was so steep few politicians, commentators or babus on pension questioned the accuracy of the -23.9% number. This attitude destroyed their credibility and exposed them as never before.

Mount Kailash.


24. Those politicians who argue for jobs for sons of soil might find that the sons of the soil are not willing to do jobs that migrant labourers would and labour is in short supply. 


Such politicians will have to find a new political plank.


This lockdown has actually increased the importance of migrant labour (the ones not returning to their villages are the Bangladeshis) and need for jobs close to their hometowns. It is not going to be easy to create so many jobs in U.P. and Bihar in the short-term.


Plus India is a huge market for skilled labour like carpenters and plumbers. There is just not enough demand for their skills in the Hindi belt.


During his first term PM Modi launched the Swach Bharat campaign. Like it or not, Corona Pandemic has promoted Swach Bharat and Digitization like none can imagine. This is something that Modi might like to thank the Chinese for.


For those willing to look within, learn afresh this is a great time to reflect, reset priorities, recharge your batteries and take important decisions about your future.

So, should we be unhappy with the present? Remember, nothing in life is permanent.  


Also read

1. How Yoga and Ayurveda might help you deal with Covid19

2. What does Covid19 pandemic teach us


To read all articles on Coronavirus


Names of those who shared experiences deliberately not shared.


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