For these five professionals, COVID-19 pandemic has created a 'new normal'
TBC spoke to professionals from different fields and tried to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their livesThe Bridge Chronicle

For these five professionals, COVID-19 pandemic has created a 'new normal'

COVID-19 has disrupted life as we knew it and has created a 'new normal'. TBC finds out what normal is, these days.

The pandemic has affected everyone in a big way. While some families are battling with the viral infection, some are struggling with the pandemic-induced lockdown and the limitations that come with it. Social media, these days, is flooded with posts that reiterate the concept of the ‘new normal’. Wearing masks all the time (including in the house), maintaining a distance of 2-feet in public, sanitisation, etc. are just some of the things we do regularly, now.

Rapid transmission of coronavirus has certainly disrupted normal life (or at least what we considered normal). From a small business owners to government officials, everyone is trying to overcome the crisis in their own unique way. The Bridge Chronicle spoke to professionals from all walks of life and inquired about the pandemic’s impact on their work as well as personal life.

TBC spoke to professionals from different fields and tried to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives
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Manisha Pathak (a small business owner)

Q

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

A

I own an ethnic wear apparel & accessories store and COVID-19 has left a big impact on the sale of my stuff. Although, I have started connecting with my customers on Instagram and other social media platforms, but because the clothes I see are ready-to-wear, customer needs a trial before purchase. So, yes, there are very few customers (currently) and they also want big discounts in this situation which has left me in a money crunch.

Q

How has your personal life changed in the crisis?

A

During lockdowns, since last year, we all have been confined within our houses. Even if someone has to go out for important work, there are a lot of safety measures and precautions to be taken. But with limited resources and everybody staying at home has brought family members a bit closer. On a personal front, however, we as women have become more occupied and hardly get any time to ourselves. Of course, the pandemic has taught a lot of things. Reading and watching stories of sufferings has connected me to basic human needs. The pain and despair around us have taught me how each human life is important and what we can do, rather should do to save and help people.

Q

How are you and your family dealing with the pandemic?

A

None of us has seen such conditions earlier and we all in the family thought that the calamity would be a short term thing, but later we all came to terms with how exactly this pandemic was going to affect all of us. From the beginning, we take strict precautions.

My sons have been away in other countries even before this pandemic started. Due to lockdowns everywhere, it has become a little difficult for them to plan their career, especially in a foreign country. So, instead, they planned and pursued online educational courses which in turn could help them fetch better opportunities. A more positive aspect of the restrictions is that even though they were feeling homesick, we all were frequently connecting online to talk and discuss the well-being of each other. During these calls, we had constructive and practical discussions.

Q

How is it to take care of home, work, family during the lockdown?

A

It's been a bit more tricky. But pandemic and the lockdown has taught me a lot about time management and how to keep a balance between the family's needs and my routine in absence of domestic help. Initially, it was a challenge to juggle between things, so I planned and started with preparing a menu for almost a week, then tackling other chores around the house.

I also prioritised my work. I revived my business, without opening the store, with the help of social media. It enabled me to connect better with my customers. Since the markets were closed for weeks, I started looking for some other platforms to showcase my stuff and increase my sales online.

Q

Has the pandemic and lockdown taken a toll on your mental health?

A

I wouldn’t say ‘a toll on mental health,’ but of course, psychologically, the restrictions have played a number. I couldn’t go to meet my family even when it was needed. There is just so much uncertainty but I can say that pandemic has taught me to take care of our diet, health etc. instead of disturbing our mental health. There is a compulsion to adjust more, be satisfied within ourselves and count our blessings.

Q

Did you pick up a new hobby or new talent during the pandemic?

A

Yes, I have started honing my writing and singing skills. I’ve started writing poems.

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Abhay Menon (a government official)

Q

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

A

Being a Government official, the possibility of ‘Work from Home’ is often restricted. So, I was going to the office even during the nationwide lockdown. But taking all these extra precautions over an extended period of time does take a toll on your mental health.

Q

How has your personal life changed in the crisis?

A

Like most people, I would say that I got to spend more time with my family, which has helped improve my relationships. In a fast-paced world and the nuclear standards being set in society, one ignored or probably took for granted the relationship with parents and siblings. I would say that has changed.

Q

How are you and your family dealing with the pandemic?

A

We are a family of Government servants with all of us serving. So we had no choice but to be safe and continue working. It increased the risk substantially, but can't complain. The worst part of the pandemic was that we had to manage the household chores ourselves along with our jobs. But we realized that with equitable distribution, it's not that hard.

Q

How is it to take care of home, work, family during the lockdown?

A

It's quite difficult, to be honest. In India, we are used to having domestic help and a cook which gave us a lot of time to focus on ourselves and our relationships. This lockdown, however, made us realize the value of the efforts that domestic helps bring to our lives. I sincerely hope that people appreciate them more.

Q

Has the pandemic and lockdown taken a toll on your mental health?

A

Definitely! The anxiety that comes along every time you make a small mistake of forgetting to sanitize your keys, phone, or lowering your mask to drink a glass of water. And the panic when you get to know someone you met recently has become Covid positive. All of this definitely takes a toll. But you have got to invest time in relaxing activities whatever they are for you. Be it listening to (AR) Rahman or meditating every day or some hobby.

Q

Did you pick up a new hobby or new talent during the pandemic?

A

Most certainly. I tried to learn Ukelele and continue to do so. Also, I invested a lot of time in learning new subjects and honing my skill set.

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Kavita Kelkar (aviation industry)

Q

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

A

Being in the aviation industry, I spent most of my days last year on leave without pay. Since March 2020, I have not received a full months’ salary even once.

Q

How has your personal life changed in the crisis?

A

I’ve never sat at home for so many days. Initially, it was frustrating. Doing household chores as domestic help was not available, doing work which I had never done in my life like mopping floor and stuff. It was super frustrating to get locked up in the flat, nothing much to do other than watching Amazon Prime and Netflix - had never used it before the pandemic. Later, once lockdown was lifted, we shifted to our second home and lived there for long stretches. That was the best part, away from the city, amid nature, we could move around freely within the complex. Never got an opportunity to stay for so long at our second home.

Q

How is your family dealing with the pandemic?

A

My son is stuck with the laptop the whole day. His studies are completely hampered, husband works from home, but his business is impacted too. We experiment a lot in the kitchen these days, that’s a good part. Gadget time has increased for everyone and there are hardly any physical workouts. Sometimes it gets super boring to be locked up in the house.

Q

How is it to take care of home, work, family during the lockdown?

A

We’ve started spending more time with family. We’re also getting more time to keep the home nice and clean. Most of the times I feel good spending time with family, but sometimes everyone needs a break but there is no option to step out.

Q

Has the pandemic and lockdown taken a toll on your mental health?

A

I don't see news channels much, read limited forwards related to WhatsApp, so mental health seems fine on most days. Occasionally, I feel frustrated as we’re locked up in the house and the day when salary gets credited, it’s disheartening. We are all waiting for the pandemic to get over.

Q

Did you pick up a new hobby or new talent during the pandemic?

A

I used to love singing, so spending some time on karaoke!

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Shweta Kshirsagar (a homemaker)

Q

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

A

Since I am a tuition teacher, the pandemic has impacted my work since I am unable to take online classes, since they are not of much help for subjects like science and maths. Students are suffering from their end, too.

Q

How has your personal life changed in the crisis?

A

Personal life has changed in both ways – good and bad. Good, in the sense, that your family is around, but with everyone being at home, there is no personal space. You have to be on your toes, running after the kids and mentoring them all the time.

Q

How are you and your family dealing with the pandemic?

A

Family members are mostly under home arrest, except for times when someone has to step out for work. This pandemic has brought all of the members close to each other since we realise that life is too short. So we count our blessings and love our family as much as we can.

Q

How is it to take care of home, work, family during the lockdown?

A

It’s like burning midnight oil. To take care of all at home in this situation, it’s like going an extra mile to keep everyone mentally and physically fit.

Q

Has the pandemic and lockdown taken a toll on your mental health?

A

Mental health is affected a bit because sometimes one just feels sad. Even though, you keep saying ‘all is well’ but then you have to keep your spirits high since all other way outs – social life, friends, parties, family gatherings - have gone for a toss.

Q

Did you pick up a new hobby or new talent during the pandemic?

A

Yes, I have learnt to do workouts on my own. Earlier I had a gym trainer, but now I have become my own trainer - teaching myself self-discipline and physical fitness.

Prateek (hospitality industry)

Q

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

A

Well, the pandemic has made work stressful and boring, the quality of work has also been impacted majorly. Lay off of staff has been created more stress.

Q

How has your personal life changed in the crisis?

A

Financially, personal life has majorly changed in the crisis. Due to salary cuts, we’ve been running the family on whatever savings we have and at present, that is also finished.

Q

How is your family dealing with the pandemic?

A

The family is quite supportive. I also try to keep motivated by starting the day with a smile, fun and keeping the whole family charged up.

Q

How is it to take care of home, work, family during the lockdown?

A

I think, by helping my family in household work like cooking and cleaning.

Q

Has the pandemic and lockdown taken a toll on your mental health?

A

Well, I have tried to keep myself motivated by doing yoga, workouts, meditation, sports and music to keep myself mentally healthy and positive.

Q

Did you pick up a new hobby or new talent during the pandemic?

A

Yes, cooking has become my new hobby!

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There’s no doubt that pandemic has created havoc, but people who are stuck at home and are diligently trying to avoid the infection, are trying to keep themselves motivated – be it ukulele, cooking or karaoke. Amid reports of increasing cases, trouble in healthcare, etc. people are trying to be more aware and cautious while also appreciating the time they have with their loved ones. Though the reports are scary, everyone is looking for one way or another to see it through the calamity by looking at the glass half full.

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