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Food challenge, virtual house-parties: How Indians are socialising sitting at home

Many are physically separated during the home quarantine due to COVID-19, but they are staying connected with friends and families via social media platforms.
Representative image
Many of us have been confined to our homes for the last two weeks. First, it was just the ‘work from home’ arrangement, but then most states in the country were put under lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus.
And social distancing directives mean that activities like unwinding on a weekend with friends over drinks and games, those routine yoga classes, gymming, vacations, dinner dates and/or just seeing other human beings have to be put on the back burner for now.
While it is a potent situation to be bored and isolated, many have found ways to continue doing these leisure activities virtually. Here is what some people across India have been doing to keep their social lives active in times of home quarantine. 

Food challenge
Last week, Anna Varkie, a Mysuru-based professor at Wadiyar Centre for Architecture, succumbed to her craving for something sweet and warm (well, quarantine), baked a caramel cake and posted it on Instagram. Seeing this, her colleague sent Anna a picture of her home-cooked dinner. Before they knew, a whole bunch of students started tagging them and posting pictures of the food they prepared.
This social phenomenon, which is informally dubbed “the food challenge”, is on its 10th day, and going strong.
“Every day, we can see how the luxury of fancy food is decreasing, but we still post photos of what we are eating. Everyone makes the best of what they have with the little ingredients they have,” Anna told TNM. “It somehow made social distancing slightly better every time we saw each other’s posts. Social distancing brought a lot of people together.” 

Emoji gesture challenge
From teenagers to celebrities, this challenge is going viral and is being tried not only for fun but for the challenge it poses – emulate a series of hand emojis that appear on the screen within a short frame of time. The time is paced to the remix version of the song ‘Lalala’ by Canadian rapper Bbno$ and American producer Y2K. 





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Me explaining to my husband how this works (look at his face)this guy has no clue what the hell is going on #quarantineandchill
A post shared by Nazriya Nazim Fahadh (@nazriyafahadh) on

Mar 21, 2020 at 12:54am PDT

Draw with nose in 5 seconds
Then there were some groups of friends who decided to test each other’s drawing skills… No, not using colour pencils, paints or crayons, but the tip of the nose. This is a filter with Augmented Reality (AR) effect on Instagram, found on the profile of on @chmnd.
A user will be given a random object – a car, apple, pear or a bear. They will have to draw the object on the screen by moving the tip of their nose to mimic the object, which the camera picks up and draws along.

Vacationing in the memory lane
Many are not only introspecting in the time of coronavirus, but also understanding the importance of the pictures clicked during past vacations. So much so, that they are reminiscing and posting these vacation pictures on Instagram, tagging and asking friends to send their best memories or best places they visited during a holiday. So what you can’t travel, right!

Virtual happy hours
Imagine going to a party, sipping on some affordable drinks and socialising with friends in your comfy pyjamas! Welcome to the ‘virtual happy hour’ session that people in India and across the globe are resorting to now.
Many are using a platform called Zoom to connect with friends and families, either to simply chat with each other or to wine and dine. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.
Of course, the same platform is being used by companies to conduct work meetings, as well as by schools to conduct classes online for their students. 
Houseparty is another platform that allows face-to-face social networking and is gaining popularity during the quarantine period. 

Gymming at home, virtually
Gyms and yoga centres may be shut but that’s not stopping fitness enthusiasts. The management of many fitness centres is sustaining the enthusiasm on by conducting online sessions for its customers, assigning small exercises that can be done at home.
For example, CureFit has live workout sessions on its app where one can join in and workout to a pre-recorded routine. Salt Functional Fitness in Chennai posts daily exercises for home workouts on its Instagram page.





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Kudos to all those taking the right precautions to stay safe and to keep their loved ones and the community safe. Hope the situation gets better and comes under control soon. I will be posting daily workouts which you can do in the safety of your homes and continue to stay focussed, strong and motivated. Cheers! Workout Instructions: 1. Complete as many rounds as possible in 40 mins. 2. Complete the exercises in the same order. 3. While this is an AMRAP, make sure you get the form right. Quality over Quantity is always recommended. 4. Feel free to adjust the number of reps, rounds and time to suit your fitness level. WOD: 1. 40 secs Seated Knee Tucks 2. 40 secs Butt Kicks 3. 40 secs High Knees 4. 15 (ES) Static Lunges 5. 15 Pushups 6. 10 (ES) Plank Toe Taps 7. 40 secs Side Plank 8. 15 Back Extns . #salt #functionaltraining #functionalfitness #homeworkouts #bodyweight #bodyweighttraining #everydamnday #youareyourowncompetition #iamwithsalt #mybodyismygym
A post shared by Salt (@saltchennai) on

Mar 16, 2020 at 8:08am PDT

Some are conducting Kathak, Tango and other dance classes, too, on the Zoom platform and other video chatting platforms. 

Game on
No board game or card game nights for a while, but people have managed to devise ways to play and chat with friends who are miles away – virtually. Discord, Slack and Scrabble Go are some of the apps that many are using to chat while in-game.
“This is one way to distract ourselves from the news websites and channels and makes us focus on something else for some time,” said Suchithra Seshadrinathan, a resident of Chennai, who plays Scrabble Go with her friends, connecting either via Facebook or phone contact list.

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