Together all the way: how urban families endured the lockdown

Spending more time with each other was one of the biggest takeaways for many

While the 55-day lockdown that was clamped across the country earlier this year in order to curb COVID-19 cases brought a lot of hardships to many, it resulted in a unique experience for urban families.

Shared responsibilities and improved interpersonal communication became the order of the day, as families bonded at home, relishing each other’s company.

Though there were some instances of family conflicts and domestic violence, the good outweighed the bad, according to B. Devi Prasad, former professor of Social Work, School of Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, who conducted an online survey of middle-class Indian households during the lockdown.

The lockdown and subsequent closure of schools, colleges, and workplaces, resulted in many young people returning to live their parents and grandparents, with several generations living under one roof for the first time in many years.

“The lockdown predominantly fostered better family relations. Despite online ordering of food gaining popularity during the last five years, the lockdown saw an increased yearning for home-cooked food with a majority of the respondents extolling the virtues of home food,” says Prof. Devi Prasad, who was also a former professor at Andhra University.

The lockdown also saw family members spending time together in activities like playing traditional games, watching movies, and having their meals together.

The pandemic also brought about a change in the mindset of elders towards mobile phones, with many increasingly seeing it as an essential means of communication with the outside world and to avoid isolation-related anxiety. Those who were concerned only about the negative impact of screen time, came to see it as a useful tool to effectively spend their time during the lockdown.

Around 25% of the 388 respondents reported loss of jobs, income and feelings of anxiety. They too, however, agreed that the lockdown helped improve family relations.

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