In isolation, but not isolated

Percy S Chowdhry, director, Rustomjee Group, is all for families and people coming together to fight the virus

Percy Chowdhry.
Percy Chowdhry.

On the night of 5th April 2020 when millions of diyas, candles and flashlights lit up the cities and countryside of India – their collective brilliance sent out a clear message – we are not alone; we are all facing a common foe; we will overcome together.

This sense of solidarity and support is crucial at a time when people are feeling helpless and lost, especially those who are living alone, away from family and need to feel that sense of ‘oneness’. Humans are essentially social animals and the enforced isolation due to the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus epidemic can wreak havoc on sensitive souls.

After ‘Social distancing’, ‘Social strengthening’ is another buzz word that is gaining import in the stressful times of lockdown that have psychologically drained most people. General trends point to the fact that most people who live in gated communities are able to handle this stress much better mainly because they perceive a sense of togetherness. This is very important at a time when individuals, families and friends are forced to be in isolation. It is at such times when the benefits of community living come to the fore.

There is much to be said for the friendly wave to neighbours across balconies. Thanks to the power of modern technology and apps like Whatsapp, gated community groups become a virtual meeting ground, where people air common issues and problems and usually find solutions as well. The sense of being part of the larger whole is heightened by the fact that one feels part of a ‘safe zone’ where the walls of the gated community serve as a physical barrier to prevent the entry of unauthorized strangers, who could inadvertently be carriers of the disease.

Along with the psychological benefits, there are also the more practical advantages of being a part of a gated community, for instance, most gated communities are able to source vendors who can deliver essentials right to the doorstep in the time of lockdown.

Living in the same area, having friends in the same gated community, being able to help each other and knowing that friendly advice is just one intercom call away plays a very important role in making one feel a part of a cohesive unit and not an isolated individual. The term, ‘we are all in the same boat’ has become especially relevant during the coronavirus crisis and when individuals in a gated community work together for the common good, they can indeed solve seemingly insurmountable problems.

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