The unprecedented challenges that the lockdown posed led many people to discover their neighbours and even inculcate a para culture that did not exist before.
In multiple localities in south Kolkata, Salt Lake and New Town, containment zone warrior groups that had formed during lockdown are still active and have only increased their areas of interest. While elderlies living alone have benefited most from the change, residents of all ages also got to know each other better because of the prolonged stay in a controlled environment for a long time.
“The pandemic led to new bonds of friendship being created. From chit-chatting from their balconies to providing essential items to the sick and needy while practising self-isolation and social distancing, neighbours had become friends during the lockdown. Now that a year has passed, the bonding has remained and no matter who is ill or in need of something, the entire block now comes forward to help at the drop of a text message,” said Basab Aich of Salt Lake BE Block resident association.
When Covid-19 had just come to Kolkata, questions were raised about the upkeep of elderlies and sick living alone in places like Salt Lake and New Town, where people were often blamed to remain confined to their homes even during neighbour’s distress. But overnight, social welfare teams and groups were formed and now even though their original purpose (to deliver essentials to Covid patients under isolation) is over, the groups continue to socialise and extend a helping hand to the ones in need.
“We had initially started the group to reach out to the needy and feed the poor and helpless. But now that the concept of lockdown has been eased, the group has started embracing larger issues like stubble burning, visual pollution, vaccination, life certificate registration process, group fitness activities and even promoting sporting activities,” said Ankur Roy Chowdhury, a resident of New Town and one of the founding members of New Town Forum and News.
Complex residents – especially elderlies — have benefited a lot from these groups that continue to be rich in discussions and solutions. “Once a Covid distress chatbox, the WhatsApp group has become a residents’ forum now where everyone can voice their opinion and seek help,” said Ashok Baid, a resident of Silver Spring Housing Complex.
Source: Times of India