#The Hashtag world we live in!
#Work from Wilderness
#Work from Mountain
#Office in the hills
2020, the year when everything stopped, the world came to a standstill and the Human being was left with his own company!
Scary, isn’t’ it! Well that’s what has been the toughest task for all of us this year…..Yes….to be IN OUR OWN COMPANY……ironically it feels lonely, it feels let out it feels eerie!
90% of us are in love with ourselves, but is the love genuine? In actual, 90% of the 90% of us that love ourselves get bored of ourselves in a few hours! That what, most of us have felt and experienced during the lockdowns and COVID pandemic!
There is a lot of learning to take from this once in a lifetime experience of a pandemic and the drastic lifestyle changes that were forced upon all of us! I am sue all of us, might have surely taken in a lot and inferred some conclusions and learnings. I too have my own learnings and realisations which I would like to share here!
CORONA- The experiential teacher!
- Fictions have and expiry date:
In the very near past, electricity was a fictional object, and, now we are already talking about wireless transmission of electricity. Transmission of sound across the globe, carrying a mobile phone, schooling over a phone, working from home, were all a fictitious imagination in our minds. Who would have imagined, that all that could become true sooner than later.
Thus, I leant, fiction is only fiction, because the human being has not yet discovered the way to materialise that fiction. Sooner, someone will crack the code and it shall become REAL.
Who would have imagined being LOCKED DOWN in your own home, feeling like a participant of a very GRAND BIG Boss show!
Take away: I have thus started to appreciate people’s ideas and imaginations. I appreciate the belief people put in their thoughts now, specially the younger generations, because, you never now, when the code is cracked and things are DISCOVERED and made real. Anything is possible, so never underestimate the power of imaginations!
- The vague dynamics of Needs and Luxuries:
Need and Luxuries are unique to each individual, and they are dynamic in nature. Needs are somethings that are required for our happy and content survival. Luxuries are something that we can choose or forego to make us feel happy and awarded.
What is a NEED for me could be a LUXURY for the other person or vice versa. Moreover, what I NEED today might not actually be my NEED tomorrow, what might be a LUXURY to me today might now qualify as a NEED. It’s a very fickle commodity.
A decent WIFI connection in our homes was something that was desirable by me in the pre COVID era. Suddenly with #WFH the same desirable commodity has now became my utmost nessisity. The Laptop, Bluetooth earbuds, Mobile phone, the coffee mug have all actually become my body parts. Can’t detach them from my body, because without them I feel like a HANDICAP! My whole life has turned upside down. I have lost the concept of needs and luxuries, I am confused!
On the other hand I observe my Homestay’s caretaker, a Farmer by profession, Mr. Vipin. For him, COVID has not changed much. He wakes up, tends to his fields and cows in the morning. Then treks down his village to our Homestay, does his job, and returns to his family, plays with his children, has food with the family and sleeps! For him, life has simple needs and COVID has not affected hi lifestyle and priorities much! Moreover, I don’t find any signs of depression, discontent etc. unlike myself, in him. For him, life has always been like this. Surely, some changes are inevitable and actually required, but, still the basics remain simple ad sustainable.
Take away: Our needs are simple, but, our mind is very fickle. The more you have, the more deprived you feel, as all the more now starts becoming visible to you. So, the simple idea is to adopt simplicity. Needs and Luxurious are all the play of the mind. The mind is at play with you all the time. Suddenly, the BMW you say at the mall is imagined and approved by the mind as your NEED. At the next moment the Bose speakers next door, become something you cannot imagine life without. Then, CORONA and the lockdown happened. Yu realised that what kept you going strong in this lockdown was YOU yourself. YOU entertained YOU, YOU became YOUR best friend, YOU played with YOURSELF and YOU kept going! Sans the BMW and the bose speakers. All that was required was Air, Water, Food and a space filled with your loved ones you could call ours!
- Small is beautiful, clutter is non-essential and Open Spaces are liberating:
Well, we live in Dehradun and run a Forest Villa Homestay in Purukul Village. Our family of eight, spent good 2.5 months of lockdown in our homestay, tucked away in a hill surrounded by forests with a great valley view. All we had with us was Open Spaces, Food, Decent Stay and company of a variety of Flora and Fauna! We had no TV, no WIFI nothing. But the stay was one of the best things that happened to us!
We woke up in the morning to the rising sun and the chirping of the birds, we walked/trekked in the jungle and close-by trails, we worked the soil and initiated a small kitchen garden, we worked the mud around to create a masterpiece of a mud-rocket-stove, we had family sessions-cooking food and enjoying the food with our near ones. We helped in household chores, went out in a week to buy vegetables and groceries and just became one with nature. Little, did we miss the fancy malls, entertainment TV channels and Cinema Halls that were so integral to our living.
Take away: The bedroom, the bathroom, the interiors all these spaces can be filled up with all the clutter in the world. Huge investments can be made in these spaces to make them luxurious and comfortable….but, after all the endeavours and investments in the world, you cannot create nature as it is! The REAL joys are in the open spaces, in the company of nature, the flora and fauna around you. Surround yourself with people you love and the the nature that loves you. The REAL joys are not in the devices and possessions. Feel nature, smell nature and immerse in nature. You instantly make a connect with nature, because, deep inside you know that it is the substance you are made of and thus, it is what you connect with!
I inferred that the next time when I plan to build my home, I will ensure that the open spaces are maximised. I can reduce the size or no of bedrooms, but I shall have a bigger green space, a bigger space where I can soak in the rain and dance with my hands spread out.
The above inference has been validated by all the #Work from Mountain guests coming in at our homestay post the lockdown restrictions were raised. All of our Homestay guests feel liberated and overjoyed by the green open spaces that surround them here. They share their stories of frustration and depression, resulting from being locked down for 3 months on the 17th floor of a luxurious concrete apartment in Gurgaon. They have surrounded themselves with all the luxuries and creature comforts in their apartments, but have deprived themselves of nature!
- The Five senses are the best tools of learning:
The old way of learning was using the 3R, i.e. Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Then came the digital era. Aided by the lockdown restrictions all the learnings today has been transferred online. Your phone has become your school, college and university. From toddlers to senior scholars, everyone has shifted to their hand held devices to continue their learnings in such difficult times, where Humans fear Humans the most!
The electronic medium has really proved to be a change-maker and helped us greatly in continued learnings. At the same time, it has also resulted in newer ailments and diseases. Research’s and experiences have shown that more screen time has resulted in following harmful effects to our children:
- Shortening attention spans- with multitasking now common in digital schools. This includes presentation of multiple sources of information on a single monitor screen, working on several open windows, using interactive whiteboard technology and engaging in activities in online or video game formats.
- Altered leisure patterns – Affecting physical health, especially obesity rates.
- Communication changes – from artificially extended ‘friend’ networks, to anonymity. These changes in communication are breaking previous social norms.
- Sexualising practices involving children, including sexting, with unknown consequences.
- Information overload, and fake news. Students need the skills needed to cope with vast quantities of information, while also critically evaluating that information.
- Major Source of Distraction- In the present day, social media has evolved leaps and bounds, with 90% of the world’s population using social media. So the devices which are provided to the students for studying are instead used to be active on social media.Students are not studying with the help of these devices, they are interested in checking the posts and status updates of their near and dear ones and many other things. This is how technology is becoming a huge distraction for the learners, thus increasing the gap between students and educators.
- Learners Get Disconnected from the Real World-In the present day, due to the huge advancement of technology, teachers are educating the students with different online tools instead of physically communicating with them, hence the students are unable to interact with the students and also cannot share problems with them.Teachers miserably fail to draw the attention of the student. It is recommended to use verbal communication with the students along with using online tools. So the students can learn the topics as well as they can share their problems with the teacher.
- Adverse Effect on person’s mental health- Increased screen time has resulted in rising cases of depression, anger and frustration in people as they spend more tiem away from natural things and nature itself.
The way forward towards a more holistic approach to learning is to focus on the 3H i.e. The Head, Hand and Heart.
The world around us would be better understood if we involve al the five senses together, feel it with our hand, connect to it emotionally with our heart and head (Mind) and resonate with them together. Experiential learning is all about immersing yourself in the moment, surrounding yourself with REAL things and learning by doing! Research also clearly states that the retention rate of Experiential learning is as huge as 85%, whereas the theoretical learning helps retain max 5% of the learnings I the long run!
The two most important and biggest modes of entertainment in this world are Eating and Travelling.
No entertainment in the world can parallel the satisfaction and joy experienced from eating a Good food and travelling to a great destination!
So, my learnings from the COVID experiences are simple:
- Aspire towards a Simpler, Sustainable and Responsible living.
- Continue Travelling, experiencing and exploring new places, cultures, traditions and ambiences.
- Eat health , eat to make myself happy rather than confirm to a certain class or style.
- Spend quality time with nature, my loved ones and myself.
- Reduce clutter and increase open spaces around myself.
Kaathkuni homestay is one such endeavour where all our learnings have been used to create a space where guests can be themselves and open up to a new world of experiential slow living!