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Quarantine News And Virtual Video Calls In Time Of Covid-19

By Sumaiya Malik Life has surely changed. Shelter is in place in Greater Austin area to combat the pandemic of Covid-19. Suddenly we have a ton of time at home. School and University students are completing their curriculum online. Adults are staying in as well and are working online. Driving is much less for essentials or medical visits. Most meals are being cooked inhouse although restaurants are open for takeout. Social contacts are really down to minimal. One good thing is that people are walking. Here is what happened in my life on the first few days of being at home. Day 1: My neighborhood walk/hike up is suddenly invaded by ALL the neighbors and their kids. It’s delightful! I see light in upstairs bedrooms behind the blinds as I trudge back right before sunset. Kids are playing in yards in which I have never seen a single soul in 24 years! Quite a few are crossing the roads to be mindful of the social distancing. Practically everyone is smiling. Day 2: We are sick of being at home! We have played cards, Scrabble, been on the computers... I decide to start doing FaceTime social calls. The kids are excited. Amil is happily cooking and wants to use the opportunity to clean the garage. Everyone else is horrified! Day 3: we are all efficient. Taking Mayor Adler’s advice, we decide to do a takeout. Amil and Sameer run to the car and gladly go to pick up the order! I decide to gather cilantro from our yard while doing FaceTime to my mother and make chatni. Day 4: I start an oil painting. Sameer is cleaning the car from inside. Amil is again cooking. And now fast forward… FaceTime Social calls take off! Idea of video calls starts spreading in friends. These become a temporary substitute for in-person plans. The idea gains momentum. I give my friends a heads up through text, we set a time and chat for few minutes. It’s fun. My close friends get to see me in my hiking gear, cleaning the fridge, having tea, chatting with kids and love the informality. It’s much more personal than being all dressed up for a formal dinner. Looking on the bright side and trying to be positive helps!

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