01 June 2020

Photo story : Life in a lockdown

I started to think about using the powerful medium of photos to illustrate lockdown and how life has been at home. 

Life changed upside down during this period, and a lot of the things which we were so focused on took a backseat, and many new things took a significant portion of our attention, time, and space in our lives. 

I wanted to capture and showcase especially things which have taken precedence, things which are become more important and things which have lost their relevance in these times. So, in this photo essay, I will share some photos which capture that spirit from my point of view on work-life, things which have kept me same, what my daughter does during the day and how we spend our time as a family and then some of the things which have lost their relevancy during this period.

COVID19 forced lockdown and hence working from home has changed many dynamics especially how a family spends their time together, how it works out and spends their days. 
I am one of those fortunate ones who can completely work from home and nothing would change in their lives, apart from the small complaints of not being able to go to fancy restaurants or shop or go to the gym. 
There are many who's lives have been turned around due to the inability to work.

However, in our case, I wanted to catch our lives through a medium of photos, which is my favorite and share how things have been personally for our household.
  1. What my work life revolves around these days!
  2. What has kept me sane through the lockdown? 
  3. What my daughter spends time doing. 
  4. What we as a family spend time when we are together. 
  5. Finally, some of the things which have lost relevance during this period (in a good way)

What my work life revolves around these days

my work life

In the past year, I have been mostly working out of a customer office which means I got an opportunity to get into a fairly good routine. I normally leave around 8 am and I am back around 6 pm and then only if it needs to be, login from home after returning. however, during this lockdown, we have been working from home from mid-March and hence my working from home setup has been significantly used

So, My work life is all around spending time on my MacBook pro, extended via monitors, using a slew of headphones to take calls and video conferences throughout the day. Chargers and other wires keep the juice flowing and I couldn't thank enough to my magic keyboard which has become a pleasure source while working.
The green thumb continues to occupy space on my desk as well as my office at home. So I have a Fig leaf tree and Chinese bamboo plant in my room.
The other thing which I can't miss out on is a cup of Tea which keeps me going. Occasionally when I can get my hands onto a cup of Starbucks coffee, that turns out to be an extraordinary day anyway.

Things which keep me sane

While work always and will continue taking a lion's share of time, activities outside of work can some time fuel your passion, inspiration, energy, and motivations.

my things which keep me sane during the lockdown

Here are a few of the things which have contributed greatly to my overall well being, both physically and mentally.
  1. Reading and working out is at the center of it, for me. Everyone is different but in my case, I am at my healthiest when I can continue doing some form of exercise and can continue reading the writing on something. It's a great food for the body and mind. Check out the list of what I am Currently Reading here.
  2. Photography is another item on my list where I get both creative juices flowing as well as a big stress buster for me. In my reflections, I have always observed that when my brain begins to feel overwhelmed, I would normally take my camera out and take a few photos. These are the times when I don't use the phone but instead my SLR. It helps my brain unwind.
  3. Nature and continuing to expand upon my green thumb also has been a big propeller. I have shared the plants indoor, and few of them in my office as well [see photos below]. Plants have something which gives that cooling effect to everything around you. I have a plethora of indoor plants as a family we love them.
  4. Other things which I am very thankful and they play their role are:
    1. Listening to music. I have been listening to a lot of instrumental Jazz and Indian classical these days. some recommendations below. [Rag des- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA8PPBn_s_Q&t=165s, Sitar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFenlzgBEns, Jazz when I am working or writing -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb060JQTmoo
    2. Getting outdoors. We are blessing to be living in such a beautiful neighborhood that during COVID, being able to step outside safely is a huge blessing in itself.
Finally, the above are objects and activities which are like tools that are there for you to leverage and benefit from. The biggest force behind one's sanity is always the support of family, fun and laughter, fights and silences, and everything which keeps the spirit going.

View of pembroke pines evening walk

The objects in the main photo in clockwise order:
  1. Bonfoto Tripod: served me well. is made of carbon fiber and works extremely well. Not the most solid load bearing type or the most expensive one, but gets the work done. - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MTKR9R1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  2. Thermo flask water bottle in pearl white color
  3. Kindle Paperwhite 7th gen
  4. Field notes small notebook.
  5. Saucony shoes- excellent ones for running
  6. 15 lbs dumb-bells.
  7. green indoor plant
  8. Ray Bans
  9. Field watch
  10. Workout headphones- Sennheiser
  11. Canon 70-200L F4 lens
  12. Books- Sapiens, and the book underneath - The art of possibility
  13. Bose QC35
  14. Under armor rock collection hat

Kids lives in the lockdown

Alright, lets jump in straight with a photo first which I captured in my daughter's room, with all the things which are dear to her. In case you have not seen the first two parts of this series, please check part 1 (work-life), and part 2(sanity) to get the complete sense of this photo story.
Lockdown has been a difficult time for the kids. While we moved down here to Florida just this last year, for my daughter the year has been settling into a new place, making friends and finding her feet. Fortunately, she has always been a rockstar that way and adapts well.
On top, as the lockdown set in, and her school didn't reopen after the spring break, it was a heartbreak for her.  As a very involved student and volunteer at her school, she has been missing her school, her teacher, and her classmates. 
However, we got involved in many things at home during the period. While as parents the challenge has always been to keep her engaged and find something interesting for her, but I feel she has done well. 

As she grows, less time is spent on toys and more time is getting spent with her tablet, board games, and artwork. There are certain activities in which we spend time together as a family, be it playing Uno or Wizard, which are both card games, or scrabble, or solving puzzles. We love playing Jenga or making paper planes as part of school projects.

I am also thankful for the fact the school teachers have continued to find some project or other keeping the kids engaged. 

Hopefully, this shall pass too, as have the last 2+ months.

Ideas to engage the kids:

  1. Drawing artwork. the first time we played, we took up the challenge to draw 15 different types of plants. my wife, daughter, and I took individual sheets and began drawing. It was super fun later comparing each other's creativity, thought process, and usage of lines and colors.
  2. Learn something new: my wife is an expert at this. she and my daughter have been recently learning french together. Just giving directions to kids is not the most fun thing for them always. getting engaged and learning together is fun. they both do Yoga and some times dance.
  3. Engaging with house chores and learning something: Kids have an open canvas in front of them and there is so much to learn everywhere. engaging with small nuances of gardening, or how to clean something properly, how to organizing a closet are all different aspects of learning and I use it at times with my daughter to keep her creative juices flowing.

Things which became irrelevant 

And, here is the 4th image from the collection of shots I took the previous weekend. 

In this shot, I capture the essence of things that have become irrelevant in my life. 

The time came to a stand-still, travel stopped completely. 

Having a car became irrelevant since we have been homebound. 

I don't think I have worn my favorite formal shoes in a few months now. So is the case with a tie or a belt or even my favorite pair of jeans.

Maybe for the fun of it, I will wear my jeans one of these days. Florida's hot weather doesn't motivate either.

things which have become irrelevant

As a personal thing, I have stopped drinking (liquor) at the beginning of the year. 
Just on a break. 
Honestly, It doesn't pull me anymore. 

I have been doing so much work- learning, writing, reading that I would like to think, I am intoxicated by it for now. 
We'll see when that changes.

When one side these 'things' became irrelevant, it also became clear on what is and always will be relevant in my life. 
It's my family, time spent together, experiences, learnings, chats, food, and conversations. 

What are things which have become irrelevant to you during this? and what did you learn from that?

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