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Business News/ News / Business Of Life/  Millennials have a new priority: bonding with their families
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Millennials have a new priority: bonding with their families

The pan-India lockdown has disrupted people’s lives in many ways. Some have lost jobs, some have lost their lives trying to return home, some are unable to reach ageing parents or grandparents because of travel restrictions and fear of being virus-carriers

The internet has come to people’s rescue. (Photo: iStock)Premium
The internet has come to people’s rescue. (Photo: iStock)

Just after noon every day, Sharat Chandra and his family get together to meditate. His mother-in-law and parents join in via Skype from Patna, each from their individual homes, and Chandra, in Bengaluru, starts the online streaming of the meditation class on his laptop. The same hour-long ritual is repeated at 7.30pm.

This get-together, which also includes Chandra’s wife and daughter, became another bullet point in the family’s to-do list after the nationwide lockdown. “Our parents were supposed to visit us but couldn’t travel because of the lockdown. They are stuck there; we are here, so we meditate together to keep ourselves calm and stay positive," says Chandra, 40, president of Government Blockchain Association (GBA), India Chapter.

Chandra confesses he and his wife are extremely worried about their parents, but can’t show it.

“My mother-in-law stays alone. She’s 65 and active for her age but what if there’s an emergency? My parents are in the same city but can’t reach her," he says.

The pan-India lockdown, aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, has disrupted people’s lives in many ways. Families have lost loved ones, some have lost jobs, some are unable to reach ageing parents or grandparents because of travel restrictions and fear of being virus-carriers. The internet has come to their rescue—though it doesn’t replace the comfort of physical presence, seeing a loved one’s smiling face even on a small screen can bring joy. The virtual intimacy has, in fact, strengthened relationships, even prompting some young people to reassess their priorities.

Mitali Gupta, a law student, started worrying about her grandparents, both diabetic, who stay 10km from her home in Delhi, the day the janata curfew was announced last month. “I had a hunch that this would stretch," she says. So she stocked up their medicines and food items immediately. But Gupta hit the panic button when three people in her grandparents’ colony tested positive.

“My parents and I know their neighbours, but they were out of town. There was no solution. The worst bit was hiding our fear from them. We were talking to them via video call. We knew they were fine, but we were hoping someone could go to them." So, Gupta turned to Twitter, asking for help. A volunteer association formed recently in her grandparents’ colony responded.

Given the unprecedented times, it is important to stay connected emotionally, if not physically, says Jay Kirtani, consultant (internal medicine and geriatric care) at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi.

“Older adults generally like feeling that they have people they can trust and depend on nearby. In uncertain times, like we are facing now, their need for emotional proximity increases, especially since all we hear about now is the impact of covid-19. Now if we can’t be with them in person, we have to ensure we are there 24x7 virtually," Kirtani said.

Delhi-based Kanika Tekriwal, founder of JetSetGo Aviation startup, used to call her parents who live in Bhopal about four or five times a month because of her busy schedule, but now, she’s talking to them a few times a day. “It’s not that my workload has decreased, instead it has increased. But now, I know my priorities," says Tekriwal, 31.

C.P. Kutty, 90, and his 87-year-old wife, live alone in Mumbai. He admits it’s difficult to stay at home all the time.

“How much can you watch television, sleep or eat," says Kutty, whose family is spread across the US and Australia. They stay in touch via the social media app, WhatsApp. “I miss going out for walks and meeting people. I can’t wait for the world return to the way it was so that I can see my children again."

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Pooja Singh
Pooja Singh is a features editor at Mint Lounge based in New Delhi. She writes on luxury, fashion, culture and sustainability.
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Updated: 27 Aug 2021, 03:25 AM IST
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