Chhimi Dema

Day five of the lockdown. How are people coping?

More than the inconveniences of the lockdown, people are worried about the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Dawa Tshering, 76, from Tsirang, enjoyed waking up early for his morning walk and meeting his friends for a chat in the evening. But now, he has only to stay home, chanting prayers.

“In the current situation, staying home is helping the nation,” he says. “I will walk around in the house spend quality time with my family,” he said.

Sonam Dema said that she was able to guide her children with studies. “Before lockdown, I could guide them only on weekends. I help them write journals to capture their own experiences.”

Pema Choden, a civil servant, said she now had ample time to read and work out at home. “But I have also been sleeping a lot after the lockdown.”

Deki, 25, said that after lockdown she got to be with her family, which does not happen often otherwise. “It is difficult with professional commitment.”

Rinzin Norbu said he had become lazy after lockdown. To keep himself active, he guides his niece and nephew with their studies. “I am trying to make the best use of this time—to read and do household chores.”

Yeshi Dorji from Zhemgang said that he was on social media most of the time. “I feel caged. So, taking advantage of the situation, I read a lot about cinematography online.”

For the students, lockdown has meant more time to study and follow one’s interests. A 17-year-old high school student said that when she was bored she engaged in activities such as baking and cooking.

Kinley Dema said that she had started practising yoga. “Lockdown is a chance to practise good habits that are important in life.” As a teacher, Kinley said that she would be able to spend more time online helping her students.

Dorji Drakpa, an employee with a private company, said that he would try to cultivate reading habit during the lockdown.

Dorji Tshering, 25, said that his routine had not changed after lockdown. “I spend most of my time inside the house. This is normal for me.”

So it is with Sangay Wangmo, a teacher in Mongar. She spends her time doing gardening in her small backyard.

“Not being able to go for walks makes me feel lazy so I am with my phone most of the time,” Sangay said.  To kill boredom, she is also weaving a kira.

Although lockdown brought inconveniences, people say that because of the government’s initiative of delivering essential goods things were manageable.