"Life amid pandemic for women - The New Normal"

The word “Lockdown”  scares us the most these days but homo-sapiens, the species most adaptable to the change, has evolved brilliantly with this phase as well. 

I remember the days when people used to meet and greet and also to share their plates freely. This outbreak of COVID -19 has changed the lives of almost every being existing on this planet. Take it the life of kids who had a carefree childhood, when they used to meet their mates, they had wonderful experiences to share whether it was about their bedtime story or the incidence that happened at the playground. 

Where everybody is missing the innumerable public gatherings , whether be it the morning prayers or the seminars & meetings, this time has also brought even the long-forgotten childhood friend in touch from whom you have not heard since years. Here comes the positive part – “Networking”. I think everybody reading this article would agree that they all must have contacted almost every person they have seen after getting their consciousness, but the question is how many have converted this networking into a business opportunity, I leave the answer of this question to your discretion. 

So here I will not discuss the Dalgona coffee or the saree drape challenge as this is something all have undergone. Here I am going to discuss the issues relevant to the profession and women - the new normal. 

As a professional working in the manufacturing sector, I faced almost the same level of struggle which was earlier, it’s just that the title of chapter changed this time. Household chores when maids were unavailable was a herculean task pre-COVID, now managing complete chores on my own with a smile every day is the change I have seen in myself. 

Here starts the interesting part – in this time I realized my true potential of everything viz. I can be a good cook, an excellent teacher for my kid, a wonderful gardener, a yoga practitioner & what not. This time helped me to start the thing I always wished for - Kathak. Many of the readers must agree on this part -This is the time to unleash the limits.

But yes, the harder facts are these as well as that the economy worldwide has been disturbed and before that death tolls which we have counted during this time is the most painful thing. It is said that “It is always beautiful to be above the earth”, yes this is true and another truth is how much we have made wonders with this life to which we want to protect?

After completing CA and getting into the professional life I always saw that females have their own space and own time in dealing with the situation.

Placebo effect – Earlier it was considered that work can hardly be managed from home, but now the situation is that the city which never sleeps, Mumbai, has breathed in this period. Studies show that companies observed marginal saving in operating cost and further are working to implement in this manner. So, now, an opportunity comes for the female professional where the females who had the limitation of moving out for any reason can work from home. These days work, learning, seminar all are conducted online where no big capital, neither stupendous offices are required.

This is the time when one can get the best learning experience, this is the time to update, upgrade or decide the specialization we want to get in.

How others might have faced this period must relate to Job Loss, Salary Cut, Boredom, Depression or to Suicides but also people observed Self-sufficiency, learning, healthy living, the importance of saving, togetherness, immunity, clean river and clean air of course. “There was a time when we thought  whether rivers can be clean as before? Study shows that the whooping budget too can't clean the rivers as this is done in this period.”

The uncertainty the lockdown brought with has made us wiser. “There should be enough savings to see you through at least six months” Covid-19 has turned the life of millennials — a generation associated with spending more and saving less — topsy-turvy. The lockdown and uncertainty have forced them to pause and review their lifestyle and spending habits. A generation that believed in buy-now-pay-later is suddenly talking about saving for a rainy day.

Different verticals of earning were explored – many known to me started making masks and many private limited companies have diversified their business by making PPE kits. Cooking and Culinary skill is the new edge which females have during this period. Youtube channels and business of food supply from home flourished in this time.

While I was writing this article, I read an article named “The Bridge on the river Choluteca”. This article is trending these days as this is best suited in the current situation where the best laid plan could fail because of the circumstance. Story goes like this: This bridge is a 484-metre-long bridge on the river Choluteca in Honduras in Central America. A region prone for Hurricanes and storms. So in 1996 when they decided to build the bridge on this river they wanted to ensure that it would withstand extreme weather conditions, a Japanese firm was contacted for this and the new Choluteca bridge – a modern day marvel of design and engineering was open to the public in 1998. It was a matter of pride and joy but Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras and deposited 75 inches of rain in four days, equivalent to what they received in six months. This caused major losses in the region, all the bridges were destroyed, and 7000 people lost their life. The new Choluteca bridge remained unaffected. It withstood the hurricane’s fury. But there was a ‘small’ problem. The river changed course & formed a new channel. It no longer flowed beneath the bridge but beside the bridge. This is a terrific metaphor for what can happen to us if we do not adapt to change and do not consider uncertainties in planning.

Idea behind this article is agreed on the fact that enough damage has been done in this time and COVID-19 is writing a new world and an optimistic approach always finds the ways to make the world beautiful. Being female and professional doubles this responsibility to pass through this period swiftly and positively. This is the time when we can bring a major positive change in our and our family’s  life. Once these 2 aspects are covered society automatically will get benefitted. I suggest you - please write down this period’s experience. I believe most have faced different challenges in many fronts but how you have overcome this period will be a beautiful example in the times to come. What is done yet and what further can be done are the questions we need to address now. At the end, learning must not stop and to adapt in this period is the only solution for better existence.