After months and months of not being able to meet people other than immediate family, those in the city have figured out a way to socialise with many restrictions being lifted as the days go by. Youngsters who yearned for the company of their friends and elderly stuck inside due to their vulnerabilities are now able to meet people outside their homes.
Social bubbles, as a concept first began in Belgium in May which relaxed its safety measures in the pandemic by allowing people to meet a maximum of 10 friends a week. The idea is they should only socialise with those in their personal bubble and no one else. While India doesn’t have any such rule in place, those in the city are taking the responsibility to be safe and those around them too.
The onus is on the person who must decide with whom they regularly want to interact and, restrict the interactions to those people only—essentially, repeated mixing with a small group of contacts. Once in one, you can’t switch and start another with a different household. People in each bubble can stay in each other’s homes and do not have to socially distance.
So dinners are a go, so to speak. Pavan Kumar Akula and his friends bored of staying indoors have a tacit agreement that their bubble comprises their immediate family and their friends group, all of whom stay nearby. “We meet a couple of times in a month.
Just a while back, we all met for biryani at a friend’s house and sat side-by-side rather than in a circle as a precaution. One main reason we all meet is for food,” says Pavan. According to studies done by London School of Economics and Oxford, such strategic socializing helps flatten the curve, while providing the vulnerable a chance to get the care and emotional support they need during this time. For some, it provides a welcome relief as individual space went out of the window with all family members around each other 24×7 went out of the window during this lockdown.
“I have met 2-3 friends a couple of times. It’s been way too long since everyone has been inside. Meeting friends and frustration of not being able to get out of the house can also get to you. You miss the happy feeling of actual face-to-face interactions after a while,” says IT professional Rhea Trivedi.
Sriram Venkatesh says that meeting online through Zoom or Skype is the best option, but he does meet friends and relatives, and it’s restricted to just those people. “I think everyone knows entire families will be at risk if we become careless even for a bit. Many people I know are doing the same,” says Sriram, growth consultant at an edtech company.
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