By Tanmay Tandon
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, people all over the world are being advised to stay at home, self-isolate or quarantine themselves and practice social distancing for “flattening the curve”. Flattening the curve is basically reducing the number of Covid-19 cases with the help of necessary health protocols.
No, the world is not ending, yet.
Yes, these are tough times and the government is doing everything to minimize the spread. What we can do, at least, is follow proper hygiene manners which were taught to us when we were toddlers. We don’t need a global virus panic to remind us to wash our hands regularly.
With over half a million cases globally and 694 reported positive cases in India, our PM has ordered a lockdown of the entire country for 21 days.
Also, India doesn’t have 694 cases of Covid-19.
India has REPORTED 694 cases of Covid-19.
Can we please contemplate on that?
Now, I know isolation for introverts is a part of their life and this doesn’t affect them that much but for all the extroverts out there, staying at home is a tedious task and most probably by now you are losing your sanity. The next couples of weeks are crucial and here are 12 things you can do to keep up with your productivity in this lockdown:
#1 NETFLIX AND CHILL (ALONE)
The boom of OTT platforms and an increase in viewership is not a surprise amid coronavirus outbreak. This is the perfect time to finally binge-watch all those films which were in your watchlist for years. With the world turning into a Black Mirror episode right now, I advise you to not go for anything intense or too disturbing. The Zombie Apocalypse is still years away, so no need to explore that genre. To distract yourself from the horrors of 2020, I suggest you go for something feel-good or wholesome. Re-watch all the animated films by Disney or Pixar. Re-watch all the seasons of Friends for the 127th time. Netflix recently released Impractical Jokers on their platform too, it’s a show which is guaranteed to make you laugh.
One very cool feature on Netflix, which most people are unaware of is Netflix Party. Once someone installs the Chrome extension, they can stream any Netflix show and sync it with their friends from the comfort of their homes. It has a chat window and play/pause for everyone in the group.
#2 LEARN HOW TO MAKE ‘EM GOL ROTIS
Learning how to cook can be the most productive skill you can learn this quarantine season. (Note: Boiling water or making Maggi doesn’t mean you can cook.)
You are stuck at home. You can’t Swiggy or Zomato because all the restaurants are closed. You bought the entire Walmart and called it stockpiling. Why not make the most of it?
If you are back home with your family, you can ask your mom (or dad) to finally teach you a thing or two in cooking so that once you go back to college, you don’t miss your “Ghar ka Khana” as much.
PSA: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has confirmed that the virus doesn’t spread through chicken, mutton, or seafood.
#3 GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED READING
“What, books? Is it the older version of Kindle?”
“I’ll just wait for someone to make a movie on it.”
Don’t just be a couch potato all day. Reading is an intellectual endeavor, even if it's a comic book or a magazine. Sure, TV is great. But ask a bibliophile and you’ll know that nothing beats reading a good book with hot coffee on a lazy afternoon. It gives you the freedom to enter a world of imagination whenever you are bored. Movies also do the same thing but what you see on your screens is an idea visualized by another person. But you, as an individual, are free to go wild with your imagination. You are not restricted by CGI. Your brain can produce better VFX than Marvel. So, GO. PICK A BOOK. AND READ.
#4 YOU HAVE INTERNET, LEARN AN ONLINE COURSE
It’s not mandatory that you need to be from a film school to learn Adobe Premiere or Adobe Photoshop. One of the greatest things of being alive in this generation is the Internet. We can learn anything and everything online. There‘s a large variety of courses to choose from. And the best part is that some are free. Even the paid ones from Coursera are as cheap as going out for a movie in the theatres.
If getting quarantined for two weeks at home will force you to learn something online, then in the end it will be worth it. A month’s time is enough for one to reach the intermediate level in any course. Personally, I learned how to edit videos all by watching YouTube tutorials. Learning stuff online comes naturally to college students anyway because all assignments and learning is done by Googling only. Giving credits where it’s due.
Moreover, editing and graphic designing won’t just look good and add credibility to your resume, but also to your life skills.
#5 DOCUMENTARIES. DOCUMENTARIES. DOCUMENTARIES.
Oh boy, I can’t stress this enough of how fun and important watching documentaries is and how they have the power to change the world. Watching documentaries is one of the best hobbies you can have. Yes, I was one of those people who considered them as something dry, boring and meant for a niche audience. But, fortunately, I had the privilege to intern in a documentary film festival recently where a part of my job was to watch documentaries every day. In a period of one week, I watched a total of 21 documentaries and I absolutely enjoyed it. Every documentary had its own theme and its own teaching.
Documentaries are not always supposed to be an hour long. If you want to watch something quick and fast-paced, VICE and VOX have some mind-blowing content available on YouTube.
I am pretty sure that there are filmmakers out there who have already started documenting the happenings of the world amidst coronavirus. And when this pandemic will finally come to halt, we will be able to see great content on the same.
#6 A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED
You’re on house arrest. You can’t hang out or chill with your friends anymore. You are quite upset with this fact and you’re emotionally drained out because you don’t have your gossip buddy with you. Of course, you guys text each other on your cute Whatsapp groups with some cute titles like FAM or BFFS or Chaddi-buddies etc. You also reply to each other, from time to time, on Instagram stories which are mostly Corona memes.
While you think commenting on each other’s #throwbackthursday pictures is enough (again, how cute!), it’s really not.
I strongly advise that instead you call them and talk to them about how they are doing or how they are dealing with this self-isolation. Not only will you feel happy and satisfied talking to your best bud but also know that you are not going through this scary time alone. Tell them how you’re coping with boredom and ask them what they are doing with their free time. Videocall your gang or play PUBG with them, and you won’t feel like losing your shit anymore.
#7 I DON’T HAVE FRIENDS, I HAVE FAMILY
If you were fortunate enough to come back home to your family, don’t take it for granted. Consider yourself lucky, that you’re getting to spend time with your family in these harsh times. You know how you were always cribbing about being homesick and wanted to go back home because you were just so done with college.
This is your lucky chance to bond with your blood, fam. Even after college, you are going to get busy handling your internship, your job, your love life and your boss’s mood swings. Admit it, you’re not going to get time to meet your family and it’s going to suck. Cherish this moment, will you?
#8 OH NO, YOU’RE A FREELANCE WRITER NOW!
Just a reminder that when Shakespeare was quarantined because of the bubonic plague, he wrote King Lear, Macbeth and Cleopatra.
If you are already a writer, you know how great of an opportunity has come knocking to your door. Now you can’t procrastinate and give yourself lame excuses to not write. This is to all the aspiring filmmakers and scriptwriters; this is the best time to start writing your next short film. Start working on its screenplay when you are done writing the story. Anurag Kashyap said in an interview once that initially when he started writing soap operas, he used to write 100 pages a day. Recently, I read that George R.R. Martin said that he’s writing daily while being isolated amid coronavirus pandemic. Inspiration can come sitting in a locked room too. Moreover, Whistles & Echoes is always desperately looking for good content writers. (smart promotion plug-in #1)
#9 LISTEN TO PEOPLE TALKING vis-à-vis PODCASTS
What is the new magic replacement of cringy radio programmers, you ask? It’s called a podcast.
Whenever I am driving or whenever I have my air pods on, I am always listening to one podcast or another. It’s something I really enjoy. Listening to a podcast is like being a part of a really smart conversation. They are great to get insights and inspiration from experts. Locked at home, you can play one podcast in the background and multi-task. It makes your mundane work quite fun whilst serving you information, at the same time. (basically, hack for reading)
There are some really funny podcasts out there on YouTube by AIB and SnG comedy. I also enjoy listening to The Ranveer Show on Spotify, which is also trending on #2 in India. Or you can always enjoy some radio drama pieces by Goonj on whistlesandechoes.com (smart promotion plug-in #2)
#10 STAND UP COMEDY, THE CHEAPER THERAPY
If there’s one thing which I absolutely love more than performing comedy, it is watching stand-up comedy. There is nothing better than the feeling I get when I laugh my heart out to the point my stomach starts to hurt. Sometimes in life, if you can’t find a solution then you can just find a distraction and watching comedy is the most amusing distraction on the internet. All comedians are total freaks. What you think as stupid, edgy, terrible or dark in general to talk about, we comedians capitalize on it. Comics are extremely observant people; they can find humor in the most mundane activities of life. Vaibhav Sethia released a stand up video today where for 6 minutes he talks about his t-shirt. Kenny Sebastian has stand up video on his channel where he talks about taking a bath for seven minutes!
Yes, it’s true experiencing live comedy is always more fun, but all live stand up shows got canceled for obvious reasons. But you can always binge-watch tons of stand-up specials on YouTube or on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Here is a list of best stand up specials available on Netflix: https://uproxx.com/tv/best-stand-up-specials-on-netflix-now-funniest-comedians/
And on Amazon Prime: https://www.filmcompanion.in/the-top-6-indian-comedy-specials-streaming-on-amazon-prime-video-right-now/
Smart Promotion Plug-in #3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV7Y8m24_II
#11 GIRLS DO IT SO DOOOO BOYSSSSS
With all the gyms closed, the coronavirus pandemic has given us all a very long cheat day. Obviously, you are going to spend most of your time with your phone or sitting in front of a screen but I re-iterate this - do not become a couch potato. Coronavirus attacks your immunity and if you’re not psychically fit, you’re vulnerable. I’m not asking you to build muscles or 6-pack abs, all you must do is to stay active. Walk around your house, help your parents with the chores, clean your room, play with your dog, or just take the staircase.
Inner peace is also very important. You can go to your terrace or balcony and do some yoga too. You can download Headspace app on your phone and meditate for 10 minutes daily.
#12 OR JUST TAKE A NAP.
The best. Period.
To conclude, I would like to end by telling you that years from now when your grandkids ask you “Grandpa/Grandma what did you do in the 2020 pandemic of coronavirus?”. I hope you can confidently reply, “I did shit tons of things, my child.”
Again, just a reminder, when Isaac Newton had to leave university because of The Great Plague of London in 1665, he invented calculus and defined the theory of gravity.
You have two options this time: you either LOSE your mind or USE your mind.
This is your only chance to become a superhero and save the world just by staying inside your houses.
Have fun & stay safe!