Entertainment during Lockdown

Reported by: |Updated: July 18, 2020

There is no second thought that the covid induced lockdown has become a pain for everyone. People just want to be free like they were before. Is there a way out of this pain? Interestingly, the human mind is creative and knows one way to mentally escape such pain and the boredom that it brings – that way is entertainment. Even while being shackled at home, people were finding a variety of ways to entertain themselves including reading, movies, serials, painting, gardening, cooking, and much more.

Banking Frontiers did a mini-study and reached out to several people to find out how they are entertaining themselves, and 18 people responded, of which 4 were women. Here are the questions we asked: (i) What are the top 3 ways you are keeping yourself entertained these days, (ii) How much time you get in a week, (iii) Whether the timing is fixed or flexible, and lastly (iv) Whether you want more entertainment or the current level is adequate. If it is a book or series you are watching, please share the name. If it is movies, please share what genre.

Here is a summary of the answers we received. The most common entertainment activity among our respondents is watching serials on OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar. Some of series that were named include Scorpion, Special Ops, Money Heist, Patal Lok, Panchayat, The Manifest, Homecoming, Fauda, Ragnarok, Upload and The Valhalla Murders. Seems that action and comedy are the main antidotes to boredom in a lockdown.

Web series has become as a great father and son bonding opportunity for Ritesh Doshi, Director – Enterprise Sales at Cisco System and his 10-year-old son Aarav. Both are enjoying Scorpion on Amazon Prime. While bonding with boys takes place in the living room, kitchen is a place for bonding with daughters.

Milind Kharkar, Director Marketing – South Asia at ACI Worldwide, joins his daughter every Sunday to cook up delicious Italian, Chinese, American and ofcourse Indian dishes. So does Vidya Ramakrishnan, Head – Marketing Content & Thought Leadership at Aspire Systems. Shweta Ratnaparkhi, Head – Marketing – South Asia at Refinitiv has another kitchen hobby – she is trying her hands at making healthy desserts – “health bhi, taste bhi.” Masterchef Australia was mentioned by 3 of our respondents.

Then there is Rajeev Bhatia, Head – Professional Services (India & South Asia) at SWIFT. He keeps himself entertained during these times playing with his 8-month old twins. He does spend time watching web series, but only about half an hour a day. “I would definitely love more entertainment. WFH is hectic and it burns you out. Managing both work and family and any such entertainment time helps in maintaining balance,” he says.

Eti Gupta, Group Manager – Marketing, ESRI India spends some of her free time playing Carrom and Ludo with her kids. She also watches series and movies on Amazon Prime. Madhusudan Warrier, Chief Information Officer at NIIF Infrastructure Finance has taken to virtual travelling watching shows on Travel XP. The second most common activity after web serials among our respondents is watching movies online.

Reading is a favorite past time for many. Vidya Ramakrishnan calls herself a book person and all the time she has saved in travel is being effectively spend on reading all her fiction favorites. Among non-fiction aficionados is Rajnarayan Krishnankutty, Head Sales – Banking & Retail at AGS Transaction Technologies. He is reading books such as Ikigai, The Power of Focus and Jaya by Devdutt Patnaik. Harish Ramachandran, CEO of Sumeru Software Solutions is an odd reader – he is reading an old Tamil novel – Ponniyin Selvan. He says he is making very slow progress – perhaps one page a day!

Another is a retired RBI official who is reading spiritual books such as Bhagvad Geeta and Ramcharitmanas and also watching motivational speeches by eminent speakers on Youtube. While reading is entertainment, for Subhendu Pattnaik, Global Head – Marketing, Cigniti is reading to catch up for his PhD related stuff.

Sanjay Tripathy, CEO, Agilio Labs has read a few books and the one he liked best is Atomic Habits by James Clear. “Lockdown has given an opportunity to recalibrate our life and change our bad habits and add some good habits which can be life altering in the long run. Atomic Habits gives lots of practical tips to make that happen. Real change comes from compounding effect of lots of small changes/ decisions and lockdown has given me an opportunity to pursue it,” he avers.

Though it cannot be termed as entertainment, but many people have responded saying they have taken up physical activities such as yoga, jogging, etc. Sanjay Tripathy practices yoga with Cure.fit and is also part of a running group. Harish Ramachandran of Sumeru Software Solutions has taken up yoga and meditation and also teaching meditation to people online. “I regularly meditate with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar ji,” he shares.

Anand Ekambaram, Country Manager India at Tableau Software and Rajnarayan Krishnankutty too have taken up fitness routines, while Ravindra Soni, Director Sales at Cisco claims: “I have kept my discipline on physical fitness and have not missed a single day in the lock down.” That apart, he has watched some interesting web series on the weekends and made an effort to be in contact with his colleagues by calling them up regularly.

Only one person mentioned sports, and that is Milind Sathe, Head – Insurance Vertical at Birlasoft. He has re-started with golf and plays on Saturdays and Sundays. “It’s a sport where I can practice social distancing,” he says. None of the 4 women mentioned any physical activity as entering their new routine.

So, all these are the typical entertainment activities. Now let us look at some outliers. Anand Ekambaram of Tableau Software is enjoying rock music. Milind Sathe, who has never painted before, started painting when the lockdown started. He uses a concept called ‘Constrained Creativity’ which says if you put constrains on creativity it strives. Constraint is on time and subject and extreme-focus. “I do painting for an hour every day on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends. I have made great progress.” He has shared some of his paintings.

Another outlier is Mohan Vizhakat, Director – Customer Success – India & APAC at BMC Software. While so many people have taken up reading, he has taken up writing. He is writing a novel combining two extremes – artificial general intelligence and mythology. Sure will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

Milind Kharkar is tending to his terrace garden and has grown 4 types of roses – Peace Lilly, Orange Jasmine, Ixora and Hibiscus. Eti Gupta of ESRI too has taken up gardening.

So, all these activities will give you a picture of what kinds of activities and entertainment people have taken up during the lockdown. Now let us look at the time and duration aspect. Most people expressed satisfaction with the quantity of time they get for entertainment, while a few would like some more. With busy work schedules, most also get most of their entertainment over the weekend. On a daily basis, people spend anywhere between half an hour and 3 hours on entertainment, and over the weekend it can be most of the day for the lucky few.

“I think I the current level of entertainment is good; I explore more on the weekends, and I don’t want to get into a binge-watching habit,” says Shweta Ratnaparkhi. Puja Singh has a pointed observation about TV and online content: “I think now that the families are at home there is a serious lack of family shows and content. Content has become very specific to age groups and content for families is lacking.”

The bottomline of this study is that most people seem to have out-maneuvered the stress of the lockdown with traditional and innovative ways. The corona virus has created a lot of fear and a lot of people have died, but the spirit and enthusiasm for quality of life is still intact. Cheers to that spirit.”

[email protected]