Never did we anticipate that such a situation might arise in front of us where everything seems uncertain and the future looks blurred. The more we try to walk away from negativity around us, the more we are getting trapped into it. Especially the ones who are not accustomed to a long period of isolation are finding themselves helpless and struggling day in and day out.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. Even if we are living through twin epidemics- Physical and emotional, we can embrace fearless positivity and work towards it. To look at the brighter side this lockdown has brought so much positivity and alternatives to the way we were leading our lives. People are trying their best to turn the boring time into a productive one. Initial days of disbelief and endless contemplation have now given away to quiet adjustments that are creeping in steadily.
People have begun to accept things the way they are and started changing their lifestyle. From taking up new hobbies, learning a new language or an instrument, catching up with old friends, reading books, playing board games with a family to cooking restaurant-style dishes at home not only keeps one occupied but also imbibes a sense of accomplishment. This pandemic has given us a lot of time to spend it with our loved ones and families. There has been a trend where individuals are exploring their hidden talent, doing things that they never imagined. Ever lazy kids have started becoming fitness enthusiasts by posting daily workout videos on social media and challenging friends to do 20 push-ups a day. Gym trainers are conducting workout sessions via video calls. Our parents, who used to update their passbooks in the bank every alternate week, have started using internet banking and UPI payments in every possible way. My father who had an aversion towards laptops and smartphones is now curious to learn how it works. My mother on the other end has started connecting with all her cousins and friends via social media and they keep sharing what different dishes they prepared for lunch today.
Similarly, people have moved from a regular ignorant lifestyle to a more conscious healthy, hygienic one. They have moved from junk food to healthful food alternatives, from dining to home delivery, from classroom lectures to online virtual classes, from cash to digital payments. Many such transitions in human behavior have allowed businesses to come up with innovative ideas and business models.
Initially, all the companies worldwide were in a fix, unsure of how to deal with this pandemic. The lockdown had brought the world to a standstill. But as the demand for digitization surged all over the world, companies slowly started taking advantage and showed agility in adjusting to the crisis. They started finding different ways of optimizing the existing process and generating revenue. Let us see How companies and business leaders responded to the pandemic.
Fintech companies like Paytm, Truecaller, Phonepe witnessed a high surge in their digital transactions for the past three months. Financial institutions are recommending more internet banking options to their customers. Webinars and video conferences are used to make their clients aware of the process. All the banking applications are turning into a user-friendly interface.
The difficult COVID lockdown has uplifted online learning to a whole new extent in both urban and rural India. Online educational platforms have taken the best advantage and provided students with immense learning opportunities. Educational institutions, business organizations have boosted online training and classes by offering virtual classroom coaching and different courses covering up everything in the syllabus in an innovative way to keep their audience hooked at this uncertainty. In India, educational institutions are collaborating with online platforms like Coursera, Udemy to provide free courses to their students. Students being motivated are signing up for online classes- from entrance exams like JEE and NEET to different upskilling certifications. Several reports state that courses on cybersecurity, cloud, DevOps, AI, and data science have witnessed a tremendous demand and have jumped up by 15% in March 2020. Organizations are now looking forward to changing the way of work focussing more on outcomes than output and strategizing their roadmap accordingly.
The next major change that occurred amid this lockdown was the overgrowing concept of Work From Home (WFH). Western countries had been practicing this for a long time and now India has also started adopting the trend. Meeting rooms are replaced by timely video conferencing and follow-ups. Several small and medium enterprises are taking firm decision to switch permanently to work from home concept and are selling off their co-working spaces. This sudden change in culture has seeped into our living rooms with people juggling between cooking, parenting, and working all at the same time! Multitasking has reached its new peak.
Binge-watching has become a new stress buster. Online-web streaming service subscriptions have increased, companies like Netflix, Hotstar, amazon prime are releasing movies digitally, bringing up so many contents ranging from fiction to documentaries which not only entertains people watching it but also educates them and removes all the doubts and notions from their mind. Contagion was one of the movies trending on Amazon prime that surprisingly gained popularity, as it was relatable to the crisis we are going through. Just imagine a movie released in 2011 gaining more popularity after 9 years. The never known movie buffs are now binge-watching day after day. I was never into movies but now I make sure I watch every movie that has high IMDb ratings.
The sudden demand for Make in India has enabled several automobile companies to convert their car manufacturing and assembly plants into ventilator manufacturing plants and textile plants into PPE kit manufacturing plants. The shortage and excess demand for PPE kits and masks opened doors for several companies to make them in affordable prices. Reliance industries converted their acquired textile and apparel maker Alok industries into a PPE manufacturer where they produced more than 1 lakh kits per day. A country like India that imported PPE kits at a higher price now has the capacity not only to manufacture indigenously at a reasonable rate but also to export in the future. Entrepreneurs are finding innovative ways to run their firm and make the best use of the time they have.
The pandemic and lockdown have not hindered the vigor of the hardworking workers like the milkman, vegetable vendors, shopkeepers who are working their best to ensure that all the necessary goods are readily available for everyone. The world has come together to fight against this deadly virus and work relentlessly to find a permanent cure. A sense of appreciation for small things has been observed a lot these days. People are realizing how hard it is to risk one’s life and still work at this time of crisis. Appreciating and applauding the hardworking frontline warriors of our country, supporting the cleaners and servants monetarily realizing that they are the sole breadwinners of their family, feeding the stray dogs and cats, providing food to the poor are the small gestures seen in this time of uncertainty. Philanthropists and celebrities are coming together and contributing as much as they can for the betterment of the nation. This level of kindness and unity among the people is extremely pleasing and commendable. Looking at this enthusiasm there is still a strong belief that humanity exists.
So, I would just like to say that even though surrounded with all kinds of negative news from people dying because of the virus, taking their lives because of depression and loneliness, soldiers martyred in the war between countries, there is still a ray of hope where we can be optimistic and spread positivity by helping others in need. We can assist the needy as much as possible and cooperate with all the rules and regulations. As it is said,” This is just a phase and it will pass.” We just need to be patient and content with whatever we have.