Welcome to part 2 of the survey analysis!
Yesterday’s post covered the overall EQ aspects of the survey. Today, let’s discuss some of the other issues that the lockdown forced us to think about and do.
Chores! On good days, these were bothersome. I have always believed that we can do anything, so long as we don’t HAVE to do it! So I love to cook, but if I have to cook every meal, every day, with no option of takeout or dineout, then it’s something that would bother me! Same for cleaning – I am obsessed about a clean home (or used to be!). But if that means doing all of the cleaning everyday then I’ll soon settle for a few specks over a spotless home. So in the lockdown, when we were already coping with the myriad changes to our daily habits, throwing in chores to the conundrum just took the annoyance quotient a tad higher!
Like me, most of you agreed that not having our ‘bais’ and consequently having to manage chores made getting through the lockdown harder. Of course, superheroes are everywhere and amidst us were folks who did not have help even before the pandemic and were anyway doing everything themselves. I was honestly quite surprised by how many of you did not in fact have house help before the pandemic. And then I had to remind myself that my respondents were spread out across various parts of the world and it isn’t as commonplace elsewhere as it is in India!
So here’s a comparative of the various chores at home that you had help for before the pandemic/lockdown and in their absence, how many of the chores you had to do by yourself instead.
Sweeping/mopping, washing vessels (Bartan, jhadu, pocha or BJP for short – as has been trending on social media) and dusting were jobs for which the maximum of you had help earlier but ended up doing by yourselves or had a family member / flatmate do as a consequence of the lockdown.
Laundry seems to have picked favour with a lot of people during the lockdown – probably since it involves lesser physical effort and is less disgusting compared to BJP or cleaning the washrooms – given that the washing machine does most of the work! Prepping for cooking also followed the “kuch karna hi hai toh let me do this” trend!! These are the tasks that require a moderate amount of skill and you can’t really go wrong! I am not undermining them in any way – just observing that they seem the lesser irksome chores of the lot!
Which brings us to our next segment – where I had asked you rank the chores from 1 to 10 where 1 represents chores you hate the most and 10 represents those that you don’t dislike as much.
Dusting, washing vessels and cleaning the washrooms take the coveted spots in this ranking as the most hated chores – having been ranked between 1-3 by most people! Sweeping/mopping and laundry hovered somewhere in the middle for the most part – probably eased by the existence of vacuum cleaners, mops (as opposed to the fabric pocha done by going down on all fours) and washing machines! Prepping for cooking was clearly seen as more irksome than cooking itself. This echoes my views as well – if all the veggies are chopped and the dough is kneaded, the I would be more than happy to make roti-subji but if I have to do all of it myself (everyday, mind you!), I’ll probably end up making maggi or khichdi.
Doing these as a one-off is way more gratifying than having to do them everyday. As one of the WhatsApp forwards rightly said – on day 1 of doing jhadu pocha, I took so much extra effort trying to reach all the difficult corners in my home. Day 10 of jhadu pocha and I now understand my bai better! So how frequently did we end up doing all those things that we don’t like?
Unfortunately, one metric stands out like no other – Washing vessels, that was the most hated chore by common consensus, was also the chore that needed to be done everyday. My survey did not have the option of “multiple times in a day” else I am sure you would have picked that! I think when we had help for washing vessels earlier, we would leave them in the sink and they would only get washed once or twice a day. But when you have to do them yourself, you don’t want to come back to stare at a huge pile of dishes waiting to be done so you tend to do them more frequently – which on some days translates to all the time because in lockdown, when you can’t go out, you also consequently end up snacking more!
Understandably, all of the chores that ranked high on frequency were related to food or ‘pet’ pooja! – Washing vessels, prepping for cooking and cooking itself. Cleaning chores typically clustered around 3-4 times a week on an average – considering sweeping/mopping, dusting and cleaning the washrooms.
I am not stressing on the remaining three chores of cleaning the vehicles, walking the pet and mowing the lawn since most of us did not have to do these even once throughout the lockdown. (Side note: If you have a lawn in India, and more specifically in Mumbai, then I’d be surprised that you don’t have a butler, a cook and/or gardener at your beck and call – the only people who can afford a lawn in Mumbai are the ones that don’t have to tend to it themselves)
Those were the harrowing parts of the lockdown. Time now to talk about what we all missed the most from a fun and recreation perspective and what helped us cope better.
Let’s start by looking at all of the outdoor options that we missed the most. I asked you to rank these places in the order of what you missed the most (rank 1) to what you missed the least or nor at all (rank 11)
By a massive margin, it was restaurants and cafes that were missed the most (and if you combine the results of pubs and breweries with this segment, the margin is even larger)! Malls, gyms, and movie theatres – all places that many of us frequented before the lockdown were also ranked high. Religious centers and places of worship also had about 50% people putting it in the upper half of places that they missed – Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this and it’s a welcome revelation – It also probably meant that a lot of us were relying on divine intervention to get us through this trying time.
Some of you ranked airports pretty high – I realised this was largely people who were separated (or staying away) from their family during the lockdown and expectedly wishing they could have travelled home to be with their loved ones in this time.
I thought salons/spas would have ranked higher (given how many men that I know either went bald or ponytail during the lockdown), but it seems good food makes more of us happier than good looks!
To cope with the inability to venture out, here are some of the indoor activities that kept us engaged.
On-demand television was the greatest saviour in the lockdown. The situation was further helped by lot of movies and shows opting for an OTT release which meant movie theatres didn’t matter so much anymore.
Collectively, you were all cooking, baking and reading more but exercising much less (including meditation and yoga). It was good to see that despite the stresses of the lockdown, most of you were eating and sleeping pretty much the same. (I was definitely doing more of both at the start of the lockdown but have now gotten more disciplined.)
One of the sections of the survey that I was looking forward to the most was knowing if any of you acquired any new skills or expanded on any existing skills in all the extra time saved from daily commute and other outdoor activities. It was soooo good to see a long list of these when I sat down with the responses! 24 of you said you learnt a new skill and 25 of you honed an existing one! Pat yourselves on the back from me!
Below is a compilation of all the skills learnt and honed in this period by all of you! Thank you so much for taking the trouble of responding in detail to this open-ended question! To capture all the individual responses, I have intentionally not edited the responses and have let repetitions stay on the list.
So as you can see, some really interesting, unique and creative ideas there. I know I am going to reach out to many of you for some knowledge transfer – especially on ayurveda, mindfulness and poker! It gives me so much happiness that I have as part of my circle, people with so many diverse talents and interests!
Learning a musical instrument was hot – we have guitar, piano, harmonium, ukulele there on the list. Similarly, art was in the spotlight for many of you – mandala artworks, canvas painting, art and craft work also featured prominently on the list. The third category that had a common thread running among many of you was cooking, baking, bread-making (better at making roti had cracked me up by the way!). Lastly, some of us used this time well to upskill professionally through LinkedIn learnings and educational courses, improving excel skills and even personal wealth management through value investing and money management.
It’s so heartening to see that we have all fallen back on things that make us happy and keep our spirits high during this period. Undoubtedly, this is what has helped us get through this phase, apart from of course taking one day at a time and relying on technology to keep us connected with other human beings in our personal and professional life.
Wrapping up the survey was a question on how you see yourself moving about once the lockdown ends. Given that the strict lockdown has ended in most parts of India, some of you may already be living this reality.
Below were the four options to your views on the post-Covid world:
- I can’t wait to get out and about; What’s with these masks? They’re so uncomfortable?!
- I am looking forward to going out once the lockdown ends but I am happy to wait for it to happen in phases and when it does, I will exercise all caution by using the appropriate protective gear – I am kind of getting used to this life!
- I am happy staying indoors and venturing out only for essentials until a vaccine is developed and there is no threat of falling sick
- I will be wearing masks and gloves whenever I step out of home for the rest of my life!
I want to spare couple of minutes to talk about how I came up with these options. The options were largely drawn from the views of people I was regularly interacting with. While the first and last options were at extreme ends of the spectrum – first one being callous and the last one being paranoid – the middle two were workarounds……just accepting the situation and moving on.
In the past when epidemics such as SARS (2003) and swine flu (2009) had occurred, wearing masks and gloves had become a way of life for many and in a lot of the affected countries, these habits continue till date, long after the epidemic died out.
Unsurprisingly, not even one of the respondents picked option 4! This is actually quite gladdening because it implies that we believe that this situation can be tided over and that “this too shall pass”. While the peril lasts, many of us are happy to follow all the safety measures when we step out. A lot of us are further okay to even stay indoors and venture out only for essentials till a vaccine is devised.
Below is a further split of the response analysis –
The sentiment is more or less evenly distributed between options 2 and 3 with more men favouring option 2 than women. The trends were similar across age groups, employment categories and locations. This shows that by and large, we are determined to stay safe during the pandemic and do all it takes to safeguard ourselves and our loved ones.
As for me – I am definitely more than happy being indoors till the risk of infection is so low that I can play on probabilities!
Do let me know if you want any more in-depth insights from my Covid survey (or indeed, if you want to call and chat with me in detail about the findings!). I’d be more than thrilled to humour you!