Locked in with love
Deepa Gulabani sees the positive side to the current lockdown—a godsent opportunity to bond with her family and loved ones
Ever since the lockdown was announced, there has been a war between emotions in my head: the excitement of being together with the family, anxiety for my space being invaded by my own people, gratitude, confusion. Ah, so much was going on! But this settled down as soon as I got a phone call from my factory (we are in the jewellery business). It was from one of our karigars (artisans) requesting me to arrange for his visit to his family in Kolkata. What touched me was his urge and desperation to meet his family and be there for them in these uncertain times. My respect for him grew immensely when he said that family has never felt so precious before. Despite the comfort zone and the facilities given to him in Hyderabad by the company, he chose to go back to his family to make them feel emotionally protected and secured. The struggle to make ends meet would be a challenge for him in his village, and yet he made the choice. It made me really ponder over what it is like to be with your loved ones.
The way I looked at the entire situation completely changed as I hung up. There was this newfound excitement in each breath. I used to keep wondering when I would get some family time and now we were blessed with ample time together. Looking upon this hour of helplessness as a blessing and accepting the unchangeable is a choice that we, as a family of nine, decided to execute. Accepting this gift given to us in terms of time and breaking through the previous patterns of a rushed life to channelise energy in setting up new routines, which included sharing responsibilities, was a subtle way of saying “Hey there, we are on the same side of the net!” Each one of us started pitching in with chores never done before though it would get overwhelming at times because we were functioning with a skeletal staff.
Bonding over fitness, watching web series, and fun-filled evenings with innovative activities planned by each of us again made me realise how talented and competitive all of us were! There was laughter in every corner of the otherwise quiet house. Dancing, singing, discussing family business, having open communication with the kids, listening to their opinions, and small thoughtful gestures throughout the day are deepening our bond and helping us rise above the stress to create lasting positive memories. Before the lockdown, although all of us would sit in the same room just two feet apart, we would feel disconnected as all would be locked down with their ‘only connect’ called ‘the mobile phone.’
Family bonding also includes occasional ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham [an Indian movie]’ moments, basically a healthy messing with each other, because we believe laughter is the best medicine. (Also since doctors are overworked in the present scenario, it’s a good idea to keep ourselves healthy with good doses of humour!) There has been a profound harmony and balance in coexisting together and accepting one another with our flaws and quirks. And since we live in a joint family, this is even more pronounced.
Despite the gloomy appearance of the lockdown, the lessons learnt have been phenomenal and have brought about a positive change in our existence. They have given us a chance to reset life, evaluate priorities, and realise how abundantly blessed we are to have a roof over our heads and great meals on our table.
The lockdown seems to be such a revelation regarding the magnitude of attachment to social life in the modern world. For a moment it seemed like life was going upside down but the reality is that life was going ‘outside in.’ In fact, the slower pace of life is putting things in perspective for me.
This surely is a historic moment when the world stands united to combat this pandemic against the backdrop of a massive economic setback. Questions have been raised by these testing times, and this has gifted me the habit of introspection, through which I have learnt to survive with whatever we have. Our desire and greed to accumulate more than what we need leads to imbalance. Economic considerations of what we lost have no meaning against what we have gained in terms of social awareness, a fighting spirit without a weapon, and surviving with basic needs. Also, communication and care (CommuniCare) for each other are the real values that teach us about being better human beings.
CommuniCare, as a concept, has been another revelation for both me and my company, and the way we communicate has been fuelled with care and compassion. Family has never felt so precious. Reconnecting with near and dear ones over long calls and tapping into emotional connections has taken a front seat. No matter where life takes us, what we will always need in one form or the other is FAMILY.
Life is not always rosy, yet we have chosen to make it cosy. I believe the choices we make at this point in time will shape our being. My understanding of the lockdown is that as responsible citizens of our nation, we can use this period to introspect, love, be compassionate, make CommuniCare a part of our everyday life, and ensure that when all this ends, we will arrive on the other side as better versions of ourselves. Agree?
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