IT’S been almost a month since the movement control order (MCO) was imposed as a preventive measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
StarMetro looks at how five families have found creative ways to stave off boredom. These include doing things they always wanted to but never had the time for before and continuing what they enjoy doing despite the restrictions.
These families have learnt to make the most of a challenging situation by turning it into a positive endeavour and in the process, have grown closer.
Together in the garden
Lawyer Janani Kalikumari, 48, leads a stressful life that requires her to spend long hours in the office.
“During the MCO, I start my day by checking the case list and the e-review list on the e-kehakiman website.
“There are case managements for me to attend to virtually most days, and while at it I would also start working on my pleadings, affidavits, submissions and research, ” Janani said, adding that she would also check that all dates given by the courts during the e-review session have been entered into her legal firm’s diary.
Apart from attending to calls from clients, Janani also has a WhatsApp group where she keeps everyone in the firm updated.
The mother of two has also taken the opportunity of working from home to indulge in some family bonding with her daughters, Shruti and Navyaa Nagan.
This usually happens in the garden of their home in Selangor.
While Janani is busy gardening, her elder daughter Shruti, 17, would whip out her Canon EOS 1300 D and start shooting.
“Shruti’s passion is photography and I am proud to say that my girl is talented, ” Janani said with pride.
Mother and daughter will often be joined by Janani’s husband, Nagan Rajan, 49, and her other daughter, Navyaa, 12.
“Gardening takes the stress away and it is satisfying to be surrounded by greenery, butterflies and birds. Touching and feeling the leaves and soil gives me a much-needed energy boost, ” she said.
Salsa and candlelit dinner
Ram Ranai’s plans to celebrate his wife Yalini Kanapathy’s birthday on March 22 fell apart when the MCO was imposed four days earlier.
“I was horrified when I heard the news because I had been planning my wife’s birthday for the past three months, ” said the 36-year-old business support manager.
“I was planning to drive her to Janda Baik in Bentong, Pahang, for a staycation but everything had to be cancelled, ” Ram said.
“But my husband is very romantic and creative, and decided to make the most of the situation, ” Yalini, 36, quipped.
The birthday girl was treated to a delicious candlelit dinner, including a birthday cake.
Ram and Yalini decided to dress up as if they were going out and dined on the balcony.
Dinner ended with a Skype session with family staying in different parts of Malaysia, London and Melbourne.
“I was missing my parents in Seremban, but thanks to technology we could make the best of the situation, ” she said.
They have also been killing time by doing things they enjoy together, especially salsa.
“We have been searching for basic salsa steps for beginners on YouTube, ” Ram said.
Preparing gourmet meals
Jashodaa Suresh, 19, was supposed to leave for India to study medicine on April 6. But all that went out the window when the pandemic hit, with most cities around the world in lockdown.
Jashodaa is now homebound and has put her higher education on the backburner.
She is using her free time to learn how to bake and cook.
“I had wanted to pick up some skills in the kitchen before leaving for India so this is the perfect opportunity to learn, ” she said.
Jashodaa also wanted to treat her mother, Dr Kasthoori Jayarani, 49, who works as a doctor in Kuala Lumpur, to homecooked food.
“My mother comes home exhausted most days so I wanted
to surprise her with something nice.
“So far I have made lasagna, mac and cheese, pasta with pesto sauce and baked different types of cookies, ” said Jashodaa, adding that it made her happy to see her mother enjoy her dishes.
Learning while bonding
Since the MCO was enforced on March 18, Zuliana Zulkiflee Abbas, 33, has had to find creative ways to keep her three-year-old Dina Jaslyn occupied.
The entrepreneur, who works from home, usually sends her daughter to a daycare centre four days a week.
“So from 9am to 3pm when Dina is at daycare, I get my work done, ” she said.
But now Dina is home and her mummy is keeping the little one busy by coming up with creative ideas.
“The idea is to make learning fun and engaging through activities and games.
“I use letters, numbers, shapes and colour recognition which are appropriate for her age. She loves animals so I try to incorporate animal-themed activities as well.”
Zuliana uses items that are readily available at home like baking trays, animal figures, stickers and cotton buds, among others, to teach her daughter.
“It is challenging to teach young children but I also get to spend quality time with her which is precious, ” Zuliana said.
Daily workouts continue
Natasha Yusof, 36, and husband Farhan Hasran, 38 are both into exercise. They share a passion for staying fit and would hit the gym six days a week.
“Farhan and I work out at a gym in Petaling Jaya two hours a day, ” said Natasha, who is a management consultant.
With the MCO, their routine has not changed much.
They work from 9am to 6pm at home and around 6.30pm, they will start working out.
“We do a group workout via Zoom with members of the gym we go to. We will set a specific time to log into Zoom to complete a prescribed workout together.
“We don’t follow a live class. We know what the workout is, so it’s really just doing it together and cheering each other on, ” she said.
“We have a friendly competition so all of us will set a date and time to exercise together once the workout of the day is announced.
“It is the best way for us to stay engaged with one another.
“My priority during this period is the daily workouts because it is a major part of my lifestyle and keeps me energised and sane, ” added Natasha.
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