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Indian designers share their 'happiness moments' about dealing with COVID-19 lockdown

As the Maharashtra government extends lockdown till July 31, Mumbai Live urges its readers to press the happiness button by looking for miniscule ways to be joyful despite the dark clouds

Indian designers share their 'happiness moments' about dealing with COVID-19 lockdown
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In a world that has been wrecked by sorrow, disease and with most clutching on to elusive hope what one needs today more than anything is a ray of light....something that tells us tomorrow will be a better day, and “there is” the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. With ‘Mission Begin Again’ will help Mumbaikars understand the virtue of being home and staying safe and in this time, many have learnt to depend on little joys for succour.  

Amidst the desperation and depression, many have gone back to the basics. Like ace designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, known to be close to the first family of Bollywood, the Bachchans, as well as the Ambanis. Generally, in a day, the only breather Sandeep would take is a rushed lunch break, but now that he is home all day, he has made new friends----his neighbours.


“When we worked we never thought of ever talking to our neighbour in Juhu, there was no time. Now what gives us happiness is to go for a walk every evening between 7 and 8pm will some friends from the building in Mumbai. Our building has a terrace with a great sea view and wonderful breeze, but meeting other humans who from acquaintances have become friends, as we exchange views politically and otherwise, is the highlight of our day,” says Sandeep.


With the rising cases of anxiety and suicidal tendencies, WHO has issued a health warning that those suffering from mental disorders must not watch the news, excessively. But for many, this bad phase has given rise to new opportunities -- connecting with family and switching off the telly. Designer Payal Jain feels blessed that her twin boys are home and they are all together as a family after a long time. Their years at school simply flew by with a million commitments and task lists and before she knew it, they were teenagers heading to Singapore for High school. Once they graduated, colleges in the US beckoned and family time always seemed to take a back seat. Before they could even blink, they were suddenly all of 20! The onslaught of COVID brought an opportunity for them to come home, as colleges mandated them to continue their education remotely.  When the lockdown happened and they were suddenly all confined to being home, it felt like we had a mountain on our hands. At first, the boys were very unhappy to be away from friends and missed their campus life.

“My husband and I too felt stifled and helpless to be home all the time. We decided not to intrude on each other’s plans for the day, but come 5:30 pm, we all would stop other activities and meet on the lawn. This would be our family time, to laugh and chat about anything and everything, do light stretches, warm-up and then begin a series of competitive sprints against each other. Before we knew it, this became the favourite part of our days, our twin Golden retrievers Leo and Laila, too joined the race and it’s like a house on fire! We all come away exhausted and sweaty, but filled with happiness and positivity,” she exclaims



When you are heading a huge law firm, one of the biggest and most prestigious, you often shuffle between courts and office, managing days when you also have to fit in travel to this crazy mix. But sometimes, you are forced to press the restart button, and you would never know that it leads to paths of happiness that you could never imagine. That’s just what happened with Safir Anand, Senior Partner Anand & Anand.

Every evening Safir has now made it a ritual to go to his garden and water the plants and grass. He feels he is immediately dealing with life that's not aware of multitude of problems and wants to be normal. “It needs caring and I try to distribute water equally so that nothing remains a hindrance to growth. As soon as water touches the plants and the soil it absorbs everything for a new tomorrow. It also thanks me with a fresh smell of wet grass and soil that says we are all grounded to basics. In all this, my Labrador Wi-Fi gets surprised to see me in the garden, as he is my life companion. I'm always with him and even in my work, he's indispensable. In this doom and gloom seeing how nature is unaffected by the storm that has overtaken human lives is heartening and teaches me to be positive. This too shall pass! I’m far away from boardrooms, cocktails and mostly indoors, with bhutta and nature,” he smiles.



One of India’s top designers who has dressed the rich and famous along with getting into interiors and space design, always believed in walking, drawing, listening to music, working out. But Tarun Tahiliani, who started store Ensemble, Mumbai, is living on the circadian rhythm and frankly, he is giving gratitude after seeing so much suffering. “Being a painter, I am back to the canvas after a long time and I am a music addict, so I’m finally satiating myself with everything from German composer Carl Maria von Weber, Beethoven to Jan Blomqvist. The highlight of my day is walking in Sanjay vaan, enjoying the smell of fresh flowers, every day at 6 pm, which earlier was a luxury but now a norm,” he adds.

Heading a huge global corporate, Narender Kumar Ahmed, Mumbai-based designer, creative director Amazon, has always loved travelling and never really has stayed put in one place for so long. But all that has changed. Now he is on a different pursuit, and that is learning and acquiring knowledge. “As there is a lot of free time now, I enrolled myself for a few classes, not related to design but to communication, such as storytelling, writing the screenplay and gaining insights into what influenced the great. Being in Mumbai, directing and writing for films is something I have always been interested in but never really pursued due to the paucity of time,” he explains.



Going back to lovin’ nature seems to be the norm in Mumbai, and designer Diksha Khanna loves watching her methi plant grow, it is her happiness quotient. “Over last few days, it has taught me the rare virtue of ‘patience’. Sometimes, I want it to grow faster, but ultimately it is the one who dictates the speed in our relationship! Lesson learnt: It validates my own pace, for my well-being,” she adds.



As releasing endorphins has been tough for those who earlier found going to gyms. Shopping, or just hanging out with friends, designer, Urvashi Kaur has found new ways to make sure she doesn’t slip into depression.

Every evening, she looks forward to her online dance workout. It’s uplifting. After a long day, it helps her unwind. In ordinary times fitting something like this is impossible, being a working mother of three. “With the lockdown, I’m very fortunate to be able to make more time for myself and do things I really enjoy. It is called body groove and they use many movements from different dance forms like hip hop, jazz, street and many Latin dances. But it is more about following your own rhythm and just allowing your body to move in your own way, quite liberating and very different from learning a specific dance form. I simply love dance and have been learning different dance forms, since I was a child, so it is easy to follow the steps and as the name suggests it is about just finding your groove,” she concludes.


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