In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and a curfew in India, all of us, barring, of course, the medical health professionals and essential service providers, have been willingly or unwillingly locked inside their houses. But as they say that when the going gets tough the tough gets going, many custodians of Indian luxury – influencers, B-Town and international celebrities have devised creative ways to keep themselves and their audiences engaged and their minds busy and healthy. From online French language lessons to makeup classes, craft lessons, food talks and home workout tutorials, there is so much out there.
Chef Pablo Naranjo of the restaurant chain Le15 in Mumbai is spending the quarantine days with his family in his home country Colombia. An alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Pablo has created quite a stir on his Instagram page by posting videos of
easy-to-make gourmet dishes that he prepares at home. In these videos, he makes simple and fun recipes like the Middle-Eastern Shakshuka, a classic Hummus, Risotto with poached eggs and easy, crunchy Sesame rice.
Aditi Dugar, Co-founder of Mumbai’s Masque, has started a blog called Three Peas in a Pod, a chronicler of her home-cooking adventures. From vegan and gluten-free banana bread to stuffed millet tortillas, Aditi describes the entire cooking process in her posts. “Cooking with my kids brings me so much joy. I love that it’s a shared hobby that we all enjoy and that they have such a keen interest in being in the kitchen.
My kids actively come up with dish ideas and combinations, and it’s proving to be a great way to get them involved and invested in their own nutrition by making it fun,” says Dugar. The response to her posts, she says, has been good as many friends and family members have been asking for her recipes, especially parents with young kids.
Riaan George dons many hats. He is a journalist, men’s grooming guru and also a certified French language teacher. Having taught the language at Alliance Française de Bombay for over a decade,
he has now started conversational French tutorials for his followers online. According to him, the lockdown is a golden opportunity to effectively utilise time. “Use it to the maximum to relax your body, incorporate a healthy, slow lifestyle and, maybe, learn something new.”
Instagram influencer Shenaz Treasury, despite being unable to travel around the world like she usually does, engages her social media followers with her cooking endeavours and her live home
workout sessions. She also urges her followers to share photos or videos of their talents.
Celebrity fitness instructor Yasmin
Karachiwala, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Bipasha Basu’s trainer, posts videos on pilates workouts. One of her videos stars actress Katrina Kaif practicing a full-body workout routine. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has long been an advocate of holistic health and simple food. She is known for her easy-tofollow and life-affirming lifestyle plans that she recommends to her clients and followers. She has been charting out sustainable diet and exercise plans to help her followers become fit, both, mentally and physically.
Wine knowledge Sonal Holland MW, the first and only Master of Wine in India has been posting interesting videos on wines. She is covering all-things-wine — ‘60-minute wine pro’ crash course in wine; 10-minute module videos talking about the types of wine and how to savour it and cooking with wine. In her #AtHomeSeries, she highlighted the mistakes that should be avoided while uncorking
a bottle of sparkling wine.
Beauty blogger Malvika Sitlani, the winner of Elle India’s Best Beauty Blogger Awards in 2019, got married to her longtime boyfriend and fiancé Akhil Aryan on March 17 this year. Followed by as many as 533K subscribers on YouTube for her makeup lessons, Sitlani posted a video of her own wedding make-up; a step-by-step guide to a flawlessly done low-key bridal do.
It is entertaining to see actress Katrina Kaif perform daily household chores like mopping the floor and washing dishes in the absence of her house help. Videos like these give us just another dose of motivation to practice self-sustainability when we have the time to do so.
Carrying forward the legacy of his late father and a legendary poet Padma Bhushan Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan shared a video of him reciting a self-written poem on Coronavirus in Awadhi, his mother-tongue. He also shared a poem penned by his father from 83 years ago, which he believes is highly relevant in the current time.
Apart from being an RJ, VJ, singer and an award-winning actor, Ayushman Khurrana is also a poet. In times of social distancing, while many of us might end up feeling dull and low, the actor makes it a point to recite one poem every day, either a self-written short poem or the ones written by his favourite artists.
Ellen DeGeneres, the famed TV-show host from TheEllenShow has 37.1 million subscribers on YouTube. In the episode titled ‘Ellen’s Tips to Pass the Time in Quarantine,’ DeGeneres talks about the hit Netflix series Love is Blind and playing the ‘Heads Up’ game with friends and family.
When Chris Martin came to India for his Global Citizen concert, Martin’s performance was all that people talked about. The lead singer of the rock band Coldplay performed a virtual, mini-gig on Instagram Live and charmed his fans from across the world. The live concert titled #TogetherAtHome was organised in collaboration with the World Health Organization to unite and
support people practising self-isolation.
Bacardi NH7 Weekender is one of the mostawaited annual, multi-city and multi-genre, music and comedy festivals held in India. Despite the lockdown, the festival wasn’t cancelled and was
streamed live on Instagram. Held between March 27-29, stand-up comedians Rohan Joshi, Abish Mathew and Rahul Subramanian, musicians Benny Dayal, Nikhil D’Souza and Nucleya performed at this gig.
Events app BookMyShow went all out with their ‘Live From HQ’ event, which featured renowned music artists and stand-up comedians performing live on Instagram and Facebook. Artists like Varun Grover, Vir Das, Prateek Kuhad and the Indian Ocean band entertained netizens from March 25 to April 1.
Tweak India, a digital media company by Twinkle Khanna is hosted the Tweak India Wellness Festival, which brought together mental health therapists, nutritionists, chefs and fitness
trainers on Instagram Live, from April 1 to 6. They discussed
different ways of staying fit and healthy during the lockdown. Chef Sanjana Patel of LaFolie, Mumbai, dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal, psychologist Hemali Sanghvi and fitness coach Urmi Kothari of Kinetic Living were some of the participating experts.
Art and culture
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) in Mumbai hosted a free, online Origami workshop by Origami artist
Bob, in which the participants learnt to make a flapping bird and flexigon. The museum engages its followers with virtual jigsaws of well-known paintings. Their collection is also on Google Arts
Mumbai’s oldest museum Dr Bhau Daji Lad City Museum is exhibiting its collections virtually on Google Arts and Culture. It is an art lover’s blessing in disguise to see virtually, the textiles
and attires from 19th century and early 20th century Bombay, the Florentine Renaissance and rare books on Indian textiles and clothing.
Gauri Devidayal is a restaurateur and a Partner at Food Matters India Pvt. Ltd., a hospitality group that runs Mag Street Kitchen, The Table and delivery service Iktara and is also in the managing
committee of National Restaurants Association of India. The association and its committee members have been holding Instagram live chats, discussing the problems faced by the F&B
industry and its solutions.
Devidayal’s session discussed how to communicate with employees right now and how to think about the wage issue. “Our industry is one of the worst hit by what’s happening currently. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and people, especially new restaurateurs, have many questions on managing the business during this crisis,” says Devidayal.
She thinks that there is just too much out there on offer. “While I do think that it’s a good time to learn something new, I also feel that it’s equally important to not do anything and not feel guilty about it,” says Devidayal. “At least in my situation, I’ve been a restaurateur for the past ten years and this is the first time when I’ve literally been able to switch off, like yes there’s work going on a little bit but this literally is the first time that I’ve been able to switch my brain off for sometime. It’s really important for us to