Covid has been a life changing event in more than one way. It has brought the world on its knees with more than 180 countries being affected by its spread, with nearly half of the world’s population having to stay indoors due to some sort of lock down or the other. In some countries the lock down started as a trial drill but eventually had to be enforced by law. Ours started with a 21 day period and got extended to over 30 – 45 days. Forced quarantine has been a life changing experience for many. People who so far had never contributed to household chores have reluctantly had to roll up their sleeves and get down on their fours to either clean the floor or take to washing the vessels or get the clothes on the drying lines. Closer to home, some of our near and dear ones also have had to adapt to the new reality.
Over the last few years as social media has taken the world with a storm. Starting with Yahoo groups, followed by Facebook, Snapchat, WeChat, WhatsApp, Instagram etc.
As families grew bigger and members grew up, they opted to move locations in search of better opportunities either for education or job. Social media provided the perfect platform helping them form family groups to keep in touch with their near and dear ones across geographies and time zones at zero cost. In our family too multiple groups have been formed. The membership depends on the age group. Some of the groups go by some interesting names such as “Sisters-in-Law “ for all the lady members who are related as either cousins or as spouses of cousins, “Rocking Sisters” for my mother and her cousin sisters. Besides these, we one for all cousins from my mothers’ side and another group spanning across the 3 families from my wife’s side. In my family we have 2- one for my immediate family and then for our extended family covering my parents as well.
However, as always there continue to be sceptics who feel social media to be an intrusion and prefer to stay away or maintain a “Social Distance “. They prefer to reach out only when they feel the need to communicate or want to get updated on the happenings in the world outside their immediate circle. In all the permutation and combinations of social media family groups mentioned above, 3 relatives (2 from USA and 1 from The Phillipines) have scrupulously kept away from these social media groups. Over the years, many attempts were made to have these outliers roped into the respective family groups, but they remained steadfast on their resolve and continued to prefer maintaining their social distance, albeit only till recently.
Amongst other life changing effects Covid has had, it has also managed to take its toll here as well. In times of social distancing 2 of the 3 outliers in our families realized the best way to check on each other’s well being was to stay connected to bond in these times of isolation with the family and socialize through social media. They finally requested to be added to the respective groups. Not only have they taken to the groups but have also been happy to join in on Zoom video conferencing calls to get updated on the happenings across the family members.
So while Covid has brought in Social distancing, it certainly seems to have bridged the gap within families and brought them closer.