The Connectere brings forward the mind’s eye and panoramic view of the young writing enthusiasts on various topics

Month: May 2020 Page 1 of 8

Ceremonies and religious practices

Ceremonies and religious practices amidst COVID-19

The thing with Covid-19 is that it has not only crushed opportunities through job losses and restrictions on travel but also caused massive changes in how ceremonies and religious practices are taking place around the world.

INTRODUCTION
It’s often the economic effect that is in the limelight, but it is the cultural impact of Covid-19 which may change the very roots of various human practices. That “Once in a Lifetime Opportunity” is what we all crave for. An opportunity to have that perfect job, marry the perfect partner, enter into our dream college, or just going on a solo trip results in butterflies. No matter how eagerly you are waiting for something with your entire faith, things can always turn out in the opposite direction. Missing on these once in a lifetime opportunities, not being able to celebrate the most awaited festivals of the year, common lifestyle changes, or even a slight change in how ceremonies and religious practices take place, tend to have negative psychological impacts on all of us. 

INSTANT EFFECT OF COVID-19
Apart from fear, income loss, and the skyrocketing price of masks, what almost everyone faced was an abrupt lockdown. With immediate effect, graduation ceremonies witnessed postponement or cancellation. The situation was no different for marriages, birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations, inaugurations, corporate ceremonies, college festivals, food festivals, concerts, conventions, conferences, award ceremonies, stage performances, etc. This was also accompanied by a disruption in all kinds of religious movements and celebrations. Lifestyles changed instantly with virtual ceremonies and worship all around the world.

OUTCOMES OF COVID-19:

DISRUPTION IN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES
With COVID-19, major religious and sacred places of worship closed for the general public, halting pilgrimage. All major temples (Vaishno Devi, Jyotirlingas), mosques (in Mecca and Medina), churches (St. Peter’s Basilica), gurudwaras (Golden Temple) and monasteries shut their doors. On top of this, the idea of virtual worship doesn’t appeal to devoted pilgrims. The celebration of festivals has faced severe disruptions and changes. In any other year, the month of April would be cherished all around the globe with people celebrating Navratri, Ramnavami, Ramadan, Easter, Vaisakhi, Passover, and mass gatherings in places of worship. But this year, everything about festival celebrations has been restricted to homes or virtually on-screens. In the future, there is a possibility of Hajj and Kumbh Mela being canceled, which attracts millions of pilgrims from all around the world. 

DISRUPTION IN CEREMONIES
Many dreamt of walking the stage for receiving degrees in convocation whereas others wished of marrying and celebrating events in front of a huge crowd. But with Covid-19, the term “virtual ceremonies” seems far more concrete and realistic. Virtual ceremonies have started taking place and it sure depicts the futuristic lifestyle we may live some decades from now. One might argue that things will remain as they are in the long run, but the thoughts of personal hygiene and social distancing have been too deeply ingrained in the human brain. Concerts, award ceremonies, and anything involving a stage performance with a large crowd have to be done away with at least for a year, only if we are fortunate enough not to witness any second wave of the pandemic which would devastate the situation even further. The future definitely lies in the hands of virtual ceremonies with acing technological changes.

DISRUPTION IN MARRIAGES
The big fat Indian weddings, where an average Indian spends 1/5th of his/her savings, will change. Millions of job losses, thanks to Covid-19, will ensure a fall in the number of guests being a part of the celebration and the couple will be forced to prioritize. The long time gap between finalizing the marriage and actually getting married will get reduced due to constant mental awareness of the occurrence of unforeseen circumstances. The rituals that take place over 3 days to a week in a few cases will get restricted and the focus will shift to completing everything in a couple of days. This will hit the hitherto ever-growing industry in all segments. Similar changes along with social distancing will be observed in weddings and other ceremonies all around the world. On a realistic note, no matter how virtual things may get, the idea of a virtual wedding doesn’t stand a chance in the most important day of one’s life. 

DISRUPTION IN FUNERALS
The most astonishing impact of Covid-19 has been the change in funerals. The restrictions due to Covid-19 has led to changes in rituals of death and mourning. Family members of the deceased are not allowed to have any contact whatsoever with the body. Mass burial sites are being made by governments. The altered funeral formats are very unpleasant for many. The officers are seen reluctant to touch the coffin. In many places, only 5-10 close family members were allowed to see the deceased and social distancing was to be maintained while burning or burying the deceased. 

IMPACT OF CANCELLATION/POSTPONEMENT

Ceremonies and religious practices play an important role in community life as it has several benefits. The emotional attachment and connection that sparks when each and every member of the family comes together for a good common purpose is a natural therapy for distressed family members. Stronger and resilient communities are formed as a result, which shares common beliefs. Cancellation of ceremonies (or virtual ceremonies) and disruption in religious practices hit natural therapy and is a fine example of the cultural impact of Covid-19. Actual participants are impacted emotionally and the backend participants financially. Florists, DJs, kaarigars (Craftsmen), workers, bands, photographers, hotels, planners, waiters, travel agencies, aircraft, restaurants, chefs, and other small businesses face direct job losses and financial distress.

CONCLUSION
Experiencing lifestyle change is common to all today. Everything is focused and linked to hygiene and social distancing. Future possibility of greeting guests with trays of sanitizers and by hands wearing gloves is extremely realistic. Although the cultural impact of Covid-19 can be witnessed through changes in how ceremonies and religious practices are taking place, some aspects will revive and remain as they have been for centuries. However, some other aspects might go through a permanent change. In virtual terms, sad emoji has been commonly used by displeased individuals who were not able to act or have things as they wished. Even though some virtual ceremonies are taking place, the entire feel around them has changed. After all, it’s almost a year lost in financial terms and opportunities lost in emotional terms. The need is to support the world to fight the pandemic. Values have been developed from centuries of practice and will not change if one year or so doesn’t go as planned.

podcasts

The Connectere Podcast #29: Unearthing the darker American history: Part 1, 1844-1941

The Connectere podcast is an  initiative to bring forth innovative ideas and opinions of the youth  forward via the digital medium. In this episode of the podcast, we have Sahib who talks about the American History.

Here is the spotify link for the podcast – https://open.spotify.com/show/4lBNc63mANGyz0iJ80WsOt

 

culture of eating out

COVID-19 and the Culture of eating out

Picture this. The virus has been contained successfully. Lockdown has been lifted. Life has returned to normalcy. But is it, in sooth, normal? Perhaps, living with coronavirus is the new normal. To keep people at arm’s length has been perceived quite literally. Going out to eat just because you were bored might not be welcomed anymore. But how deeply will these values be imbibed? Would the culture of Eating out entirely change?

If you wish to eat out on Saturday, you have to act on it a day before at the very least. You’d ask why? It’s because reservations will now act as a prelude to every social activity, be it coffee dates or get-togethers. While you’re at it, you have to choose a good restaurant. Let me redefine ‘good’ for you. It’s not the one with the cheapest of meals, but the cleanest of tables. The caddies may not have sauce or condiments, but sanitizer and wipes are a must. Dineout, an online reservation platform, performed a consumer survey where it revealed that Indian diners are now ranking safety assurances and premier hygiene as prime factors when it comes to picking a restaurant to dine in.

However, such change in consumer preferences will lead to a rise in the maintenance costs of the restaurants. Needless to say, the burden will be shifted to the customers. But is the customer ready to pay a little higher price for dining out? Most probably yes, as long as you are assured you won’t get the “virus”.

These are some of the changes that you could possibly predict being a consumer yourself. When we flip the coin, we realise that restaurants are undergoing tremendous changes in their infrastructure at the same time. The restaurants cannot, at any cost, operate at their full capacity. A 6 metre distance between the tables is going to cost these massive chains a fortune. Besides, the less fancy eateries will have an even harder time dealing with social distancing. The fixed costs like rent, salaries, electricity will remain the same. However, revenue will be reduced fractionally due to ineffective utilisation. Now you can do the math.

Talking about other possible innovations to survive the post-pandemic era, digitization will get further impetus. Starting from reading the menu to making the payment, a phone application (read: Jio-Facebook’s youngest venture) will do it all. Some secondary products that we unconsciously consume include pickles in the basket, mints in the bowl, sauce bottles and many more. Well, bid goodbye to them. Restaurants will know better than to offer them. They don’t want bad reviews, do they?

There are more facets to the culture of eating out. Buffets, for one, could be a little tricky. If hygiene is taken care of a little more seriously, buffets could be everybody’s messiah. This would barely cost the restaurants anything, and could go a long way.

Takeaways will become a regular exercise. It allows you to enjoy the savoury without the fear of unwanted contact, giving you the best of both worlds. But home deliveries serve this exact purpose too. Home deliveries will pick up pace quickly once virus subsides. Zomato and Swiggy have already come up with comprehensive non-contact delivery process. The panic among people has not diminished enough to allow them to order in.

Fast food franchises such as Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC had popularised the idea of drive thrus in recent years. This concept might be adopted by Indian fast food restaurants as well. Drive thrus seem like the most feasible path to take since they allow you to take responsibility of your delivery, rather than trusting a 22-year old boy with it.

Creative ideas that could help this industry make a comeback are the need of the hour. DIY meal kits could be one of them. Although it’s a very niche industry in India currently, it allows people to enjoy gourmet food at home while giving a feigned sense of cooking for self. But it won’t be late when niche turns to a necessity, changing the culture of eating out entirely.

“Restaurant industry is one of those industries that will show no optimism for the next 8-12 months. The loss of business for high street restaurants will be gain for food delivery players and a new segment of DIY meals will see the rise,” said Karan Tanna, Founder, Ghost Kitchens. Cloud kitchens are feeling the pain too, as they scout for buyers. Cloud kitchens are restaurants that only operate through online ordering. Social dining was an upcoming trend in the country where people bonded with strangers over food and drink. Given the current situation, all the developments in this area have gone down the drain.

Besides, there are some psychological changes that will indirectly impact the culture of eating out. Do you feel weirdly uncomfortable looking at crowded places in movies or shows? Have you been enjoying the sheer pleasure of cooking food for yourself? Will Joy of missing out (JOMO) replace Fear of missing out (FOMO)? Has the millennial generation undergone a transformation while quarantined? Let’s see how long they stick to it.

Credit Rating Downgrade

The Credit Rating Downgrade – Young, Junk and Broke

BBB-: is it sufficient to keep the Indian economy going? An economic and fiscal analysis of the possible repercussions the Indian economy will face as the danger of a credit rating downgrade hover above its head.

Japanese Economic Miracle

The Japanese Economic Miracle

“The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly”, these golden words were said by the Emperor Hirohito of Japan during the Great World War II. Mostly everyone knows about World War 2 but it’s time to ponder about Japan’s Economic Rebirth after World War II. The dramatic growth of the Japanese economy after world war 2 and till the end of the cold war is famously known as The Japanese Economic Miracle.

The First Forum

The First Forum – Edition 36

The First Forum is an initiative which focuses on covering the latest happenings in a brief format. This is in lieu with the importance of knowledge about current happenings in this fast changing world.
In the Thirty Sixth Edition of The First Forum we would be covering the following topics:
1. Politics
2. Society and Culture 
3. Science and Technology

(By Ankita Punjani, Mehak Gupta and Divyansh Gupta)

the four asian tigers

The Four Asian Tigers

What is a Tiger Economy?
A Tiger Economy is a term used to define several booming economies in Southeast Asia. The Four Asian Tigers, also known as the Asian Dragons, typically include Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, that have consistently maintained high levels of economic growth since the 1960s, and have together joined the ranks of the world’s richest economies.

podcasts

The Connectere Podcast #28: Trade Embargoes – part 2

The Connectere podcast is an  initiative to bring forth innovative ideas and opinions of the youth  forward via the digital medium. In this episode of the podcast, we have Manav who talks about Trade embargoes and various examples of the same.

Here is the spotify link for the podcast – https://open.spotify.com/show/4lBNc63mANGyz0iJ80WsOt

 

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