Lives of most of New Zealanders have been hit with a "pause button," if they are not working in essential businesses, or working remotely online from their chosen places of residence to hunker down the four weeks Alert Level 4 Lockdown. For that matter, even if they are working in essential businesses, they are indeed facing some kind of major disruption in the manner they previously carried out their day to day lives.
We are certainly going through strange, and unsettling times and everyone is coping with this uncertainty with their own unique ways.
Some with typical zen-like calm and mindfulness staying at the moment, while others camouflaging their anxieties about how the immediate future will look like, in their usual display of exuberance and exhilaration.
The Indian Weekender reached out to some members of the Kiwi-Indian community, who graciously shared some of the glimpses of their life under the lock down.
In these times, people are asked to stay home, work from home, or simply observe the ‘stay home holiday’ for four weeks until the government can reassess the state of the country and get the back to work.
Observing this lockdown, some of the Kiwi Indians are making the most of their time at home, mostly to spend quality time with their families, while others are picking up new hobbies and some are doing those activities, they have been postponing for years due to work commitments.
Couple Naveen and Shubhra Jain:
Naveen Jain and his wife Shubhra Jain have been for the most of their years been busy their respective business and work commitments and have led a very routine and disciplined work life.
63-year-old Naveen Jain runs his business President Taxi that conducts airport transfers for international passengers from Auckland; he also looks after a travel and tourism enterprise that takes holidaymakers to sightseeing around North Island.
Hit by the travel ban and the lock down Naveen saw the travel bookings dwindle from around 90 in a season to zero, and now both his firms are closed, at least until the travel restrictions are lifted.
Ms Jain managing an Early Childhood Centre in Auckland was also closed down for the lockdown period rendering her to take leave until the Centre opened.
The couple had a property in Rotorua that needed renovations and was recently vacated by renters to get refurbished.
The couple had taken estimations from a local builder/renovator in Rotorua earlier last month; and were about to offer the contract to them when suddenly Covid-19 related lock down became an imminent reality that compelled the couple to re-asses their plans.
The couple had already purchased all the essentials for the renovation, and as a means of cost-cutting plus finding a purpose for themselves for the imminent 4-week lockdown period, the husband decided to dig-deep-in his long forgotten builder-experience and do the DIY himself - a far-stretched imagination by couple's own admission - in their pre-lockdown busy lives.
This was indeed a completely unplanned turn to their busy lives - hopefully for the good - where they end up using their new found freedom in a constructive endeavour.
So the couple, instead of being hassled about the prospective uncertainty during the lockdown period decided to quickly put up a plan for the next four weeks and transported all their house and kitchen essentials from Auckland, and started to work hard and enjoy the leisure at their property in Rotorua.
A week since the lockdown, Naveen and Shubhra Jain have been having a solitary, gala and work-holiday at their Rotorua home.
“We get up late, like 8:30 in the morning, go for a brief walk, make a good breakfast together, and start the renovation work at home. We take an hour’s break in the afternoon for lunch, and then start again till daylights end,” Naveen Jain told The Indian Weekender.
The couple has just finished renovating a big corner of the house and painting the first floor of the house.
“I have my wife as my helper and assistant, and we just completed painting the first floor.” Mr Jain added.
Mr Jain did suffer a significant amount during the closure but said he has been able to spend some quality time with his wife, away from the city, and daily duties and work assignments. Mr Jain says he is enjoying working and repairing his property, and proper use of leisure time and doing something constructive for himself and his family.
Arshiya Arora: Year 9 Student
Year-9 student Arshiya Arora is studying from home online, attending online classes conducted by her school in Central Auckland. Arshiya, although, not being able to go to school physically, attends the online tool by her schools like the rest of her classmates observing proper school breaks and subject periods every day.
Despite being away from school, she continues to attend her extracurricular activities that include online or video Karate class sessions twice a week.
Arshiya’s parents stay at home working remotely, her mother Swati Arora, a lecturer at ICL and father an Immigration advisor.
“We are all in this together, and, we are trying our best to make the best use of our time by working from home, remotely, and having an early and longer family time together,” Arshiya’s mother Swati Arora says.
Arshiya adds that besides attending online school classes, she partakes in family’s new cooking routine, watching a series together, playing games, having discussions about different topics of interest and help her parents in house chores including cooking.
“Even though we are not able to explore out like normal days, but this lockdown as given us the opportunity to spend more time with the family, talk to each other, learn new skills, and start new interests and hobbies,” Arshiya told The Indian Weekender.
Real Estate agent Chetna Guleria’s office has been closed since the lockdown, which encouraged her to pursue to take new hobbies for herself and spend time with her daughter at home.
Chetna has for long been looking for an opportunity to spend more time with her daughter and dedicate some hours for her own personal growth and mental wellbeing.
She has started putting at least two hours in her lawn gardening and learning new tricks from YouTube and applying the same in sowing and beautifying her garden. One part of her day goes sitting with her daughter studying, reading books with her, watching documentaries and films, teaching her cooking, all of these come out of the hours kept aside from her daughter’s daily studying timetable.
“I spend a good amount of time with my daughter, especially doing exercise together, take her help organising the house, cleaning, playing new games with her, and most importantly reading with her,” Chetna says.
One thing that keeps Chetna glued and occupied a good part of the day is to try new DIY beauty therapies using fruits and vegetables for her skin.
“I see a lot of DIY beauty videos and try them at home, organise my wardrobe, kitchen cupboards and the rest of the house- this takes a good amount of time of my day learning a new hobby and making my house more beautiful,” Chetna adds.
Chetna adds that even in these daunting times, when every news appears to be negative from all around the world, it is important for every individual to occupy themselves in some activity, even as mundane as cutting grass or arranging the cupboards, the idea is not to let negativity seep into our lives and keep one self positive even in these unprecedented time.
"We have to occupy ourselves with some activity, and nothing is silly or too lame to do. Be it decorating and rearranging your house, gardening, spending time with children and playing games and discussing things from their level of understanding and perspective can be motivating and can bring a wind of positivity in their lives," Chetna told The Indian Weekender.