Society

Couples of different age groups on how the lockdown has been a life-changer

Actor Miya George with her husband, Ashwin Philip   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The lockdown, a life changer in more ways than one, brought into sharp focus relationship issues as families were spending 24x7 in the confines of their homes.

While mental health specialists registered a rise in cases of domestic abuse, some, who did not suffer unemployment, a financial meltdown or a forced migration, saw the period as a time to forge bonds with their spouse, children and parents. MetroPlus speaks to four couples about their lockdown experience.

Actor Miya George and entrepreneur Ashwin Philip

Miya, 29, and Ashwin, 33, met, got engaged and married during the lockdown. The lockdown came into effect a week after Miya and Ashwin met formally for the first time. “All shooting was called off. I was in Pala in Kottayam and Ashwin was in Kochi. Although we were unable to meet, we could spend hours chatting with each other and getting to know each other though we could not meet up,” says Miya.

Ashwin agrees that it gave them a lot of time to catch up though his business was not looking up and social interactions were nil. They had to postpone their honeymoon indefinitely. “But I want to look at the positive side of it all. We remained safe, travel can happen later. When the entire world is suffering, personal wishlists can wait for another day,” believes Miya.

Miya firmly believes the pandemic taught them to be self-reliant while highlighting how people are connected to one another in different ways.

Entrepreneur Rachna Arvind and Captain Arvind Nair

As a captain in the merchant navy, Arvind, 42 treasures the time he gets to spend with his wife, Rachna, 37, and their two daughters. “The biggest plus point was family time, especially with the kids. That meant doing chores together, teaching our daughters to help at home and to be independent. We realised how we took small things for granted in our daily lives,” says Rachna.

Rachna Arvind and Captain Arvind Nair with their children

Rachna Arvind and Captain Arvind Nair with their children   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The initial phase of the lockdown was not easy as the fear of the unknown, the feeling of being secluded and the sudden change in lifestyle created anxiety. They say that a couple of weeks down the lockdown, the feeling of being hemmed in and the lack of ‘me time’ did creep in. Rachna mentions “the never ending mood swings”. “We realised to what lengths we can push each other and annoy each other and yet leave the bond intact. Getting to know each other’s hidden talents was a bonus!” asserts Rachna.

Their takeaway from the lockdown? Take one day at a time.

Environmentalist Lakshmi Rani Iyer and Shankar Narayanan, Senior Social Development specialist, World Bank

Shankar (58) was posted from Jakarta to Washington DC office in June 2020. So Lakshmi (56) and Shankar took a Vande Bharat flight and shifted from Jakarta to their home in Delhi in June. Till September 2020 they waited out the pandemic, after which they moved to Washington.

“The first challenge was for each one of us to get back to Delhi from different parts of the world where we were living then. Kudos to Vande Bharat flights, three of our family of four were able to be in Delhi. Two months spent with our son was precious as we would soon have to move to our new posting in a new city,” says Lakshmi.

Lakshmi Rani Iyer and Shankar Narayanan with their children

Lakshmi Rani Iyer and Shankar Narayanan with their children   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Although things felt normal, they were reminded about the pandemic every time they had to travel — COVID tests, masks, PPE kits and face shields.

The change in routine was due to two reasons: settling down in a new country and working from home. A mandatory morning walk before rushing to the workplace routine was replaced by a new routine — working early morning till around 11 am or 12 noon, then brunch followed by household chores and early evening yoga or walks and then back at work again till dinner. “We walk a lot and explore a city by walking. Shankar who would never watch anything on TV other than sport, is now enjoying some movies and serials on TV with me. He also spends his free time following his passion of singing, mostly old Hindi film songs on the Smule app,” says Lakshmi. They also spent two months with their daughter, a student in the US.

“Since it was just two of us most of the year, we had our own spaces and our own routines and more relaxed times together than we ever had before as a couple. In fact, the pandemic has helped us understand each other better,” believes Lakshmi.

Homemaker Kiran Malik and Brigadier (retd) Ravinder Malik

“As an Army wife, it wasn’t so tough as we have lived in conditions like this in remote areas and in Srinagar where we couldn’t step out of the cantonment, and in winters not even outside the house. And I lived alone with two small kids as my husband was in Bengaluru for his Army course. Such experiences helped me sail through the lockdown and since we were just two of us, we had enough space to ourselves,” says Kiran, 52.

Kiran Malik and Brigadier (retd) Ravinder Malik

Kiran Malik and Brigadier (retd) Ravinder Malik   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Staying at home was not so tough as she is a homemaker. “But to suddenly not being able to step out at all was tough initially but we got used to it and started spending time watching movies on TV and doing daily household chores.”

Since Ravinder, 60, is a sportsman, he took time to get used to no physical activity at all as in the initial stages in March they were not even stepping out of the house. “But slowly I started helping with sweeping, dusting, watering the garden, cutting the grass and finally even started doing the dishes which I had never done in my life,” he says.

They looked at the positive things they got to experience. “He read a lot of books and is still continuing to read as there’s still lots of time after his squash training and golf. Overall, it was a great learning experience and we realised the value of each and everyone in our lives, which we often take for granted,” concludes Kiran.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 3:13:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/how-couples-of-different-age-group-on-what-lockdown-taught-them/article34141052.ece

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