21-year-old Aakriti Kapali says that the coronavirus pandemic feels like a bad, sad dream. The only good thing, so far, is that her life, though changed, hasn’t come to a standstill. Since her job is mostly translating and transcribing data, she is working from home. And she’s grateful to have that semblance of normalcy in life in the current times.
“Sometimes I can’t believe what’s happening is real. It’s quite terrifying. But my daily schedule hasn’t changed that much. I still spend four to five hours sitting in front of my laptop and working and that gives my life some structure,” she says.
However, for those who don’t have the option to work from home and find themselves unable to go to work, there isn’t much to do and that can create a sense of bleakness, which is why people have taken to doing what they couldn’t when they had a packed schedule.
For Janakee Silwal, 51, lecturer at Tahachal Campus, it is looking up new recipes and whipping up a storm. Silwal who has been on leave for a week now says she really doesn’t mind the isolation situation as she can finally rest and relax a bit. “Now that I have a lot of time, I don’t have to rush through my chores anymore,” she says.
“I can finally get around to doing things I actually enjoy. My children are home and I’ve been spending more time making new items for lunch every day. Since there’s still a lot of time before colleges reopen, I’m also interested in taking up sewing again,” she adds.
Her daughter has been asking to turn one of her old sarees into a gown and Silwal has been watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to do that. “I’ve even written down the process and taken all the measurements. Hopefully, I can get it done before I have to go back to work.”
Aagab Pant, who is doing his bachelors in computer engineering, had just given a subject’s paper before the board exams were postponed. But he has no intention of getting back to studying. It can wait for a while, he says.
The 19-year-old spent the last few days catching up on TV shows and movies he missed while preparing for exams. “I’ve been meaning to watch Stranger Things for years now but I never had the time. Now, I’ve been binging on it daily,” says Pant. Other that the series, Pant also watched movies like Remember Me, Downfall and A Star is Born.
Suyog Thapaliya, a 16-yearold student who was gearing up for SEE exams, is busy re-watching his favorite shows, checking off movies on his must-watch list and playing indoor basketball with his elder brother.
So far, he’s watched Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave and Cujo. Where series are concerned, he’s been watching some fantasy and thriller shows.
“The Witcher, The Mandalorian and Peaky Blinders had really good reviews so I am going to watch these,” says Thapaliya adding that on some days he has watched three movies back to back. “I like to sit by myself and watch movies alone,” he adds.
Social media has also come to the rescue of many. Most people The Week spoke to said it makes them feel connected to the world when they are shut off in their homes.
Thapaliya says that texting and messaging friends were always a part of his daily life but now it feels like a duty—to check in on them. “Also, there are a lot of new memes on the coronavirus pandemic and sharing them with friends is a must. It helps us feel better despite what’s going on,” he says.
Young kids who are now confined within the walls of their homes, on the other hand, seem to be relying on stories and games for comfort.
Nine-year-old Shruti Pant doesn’t really understand what’s going on. She only knows that she isn’t allowed to go outside to play with her friends. For the last few days, her daily routine has been to wake up, play games on her phone, play with her seven-yearold brother, read storybooks and watch cartoons on television.
“Ninja Hattori and Doraemon are my favorites,” she adds. “I watch Gravity Falls with my brother. And I’m reading small story books my father got for me. Since my mom is always home, I play Temple Run, Block Puzzle and Free Fire on her phone.”
Keeping kids occupied during this time is a challenge and many parents have had to devise creative ways to do so. And that is like killing two birds with one stone—it keeps the parents engaged as well.
36-year-old Chahana Tiwari, a mother of two, has made up a game of hanging and folding clothes. She first teaches them how to fold clothes and the fastest and neatest of the two wins a prize—which is usually a scoop of ice-cream or getting to pick the movie the family will watch that day. “I plan to convert chores into games and that way teach them the basics of taking care of themselves,” she says.
For Madhu Adhikari, 32, this self-isolation period has been a much-needed break from her busy life. Living in Bhaktapur and having to travel to Lazimpat for work every day left her with very little time for her family. But apart from spending quality time with her family, she’s also focusing on cleaning her house thoroughly.
“I can finally clean the neglected corners and on some days, it takes hours for me to complete the chores,” she says adding that she also takes time preparing the food as no one is in a hurry to get anywhere—and the outcome is always lovely.
“Today, there’s less pressure to do things bound by the clock. You aren’t in a rush and I try to enjoy that feeling,” she concludes.