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How kids are dealing with spending time at home

Locked down but not locked out of ideas to make the most of this quarantine. here’s what these kids are up to

By Priyanka Roy
  • Published 6.04.20, 11:42 PM
  • Updated 6.04.20, 11:42 PM
  • 5 mins read
  •  
Nilanjanaa with daughters Sara and Zara. Sourced by The Telegraph

For a whole generation, ‘Virus’ probably meant Viru Sahastrabudhhe of 3 Idiots. A shade of grey with a heart nonetheless. ‘Virus’ in the last couple of weeks has been only about the virulent coronavirus, which has stopped the world in its tracks. Time for a new generation to grapple with the unreality of it all. We spoke to a bunch of celebrity parents on how they are dealing with the situation and how they are acing the challenging task of keeping the kids busy.

Model-turned-choreographer Nicola Gomes is keeping daughter Nysa, 9, busy with fun learning. Nysa is a student of Class IV at La Martiniere for Girls. “Initially it was a welcome break as the exams just got over. Gradually, however, keeping her engaged became a little tough as she is an only child. She started getting addicted to the phone a little. But now I have engaged her with a lot of new activities at home. I started with art and craft initially. She painted on jute bags. She loves drawing, painting and shading. And I think she learnt from TikTok how to make Oreo mug cakes. It is very simple and can be made in the microwave. She served us her Oreo mug cakes for breakfast one day. It was delicious!” smiles Nicola.

Nysa’s dolls will also have new wardrobes soon. “She loves dolls and has a huge collection. I have a lot of old fabric at home and I taught her how to make dresses for the dolls, like we used to do as kids. She really enjoyed it and now each day, our plan is to make one outfit for one doll. We are also planning to host a small exhibition of the dolls for her friends after the hard times are over,” says Nicola. Besides trying out new hairstyles, Nysa is also watering plants and reading storybooks. “She absolutely hates doing household chores. I am teaching her that also a little every day. Now she waters the plants regularly in the morning,” says Nicola.

Nysa does understand the current situation demands that we stay at home. “Initially, she was very sad that she has to be at home because she is a very social person. But now she understands that we have to be safe. She also made a first-aid box and kept it at the entrance. Whoever enters, she suggests them to use the sanitiser from the box and also wash hands thoroughly. Sometimes she asks, when will school reopen but the good thing is she is learning a lot of positive things during this break,” says Nicola.

Nicola Gomes and daughter Nysa have turned designers for the dolls!.
Nicola Gomes and daughter Nysa have turned designers for the dolls!. Sourced by The Telegraph

Footwear designer Rohan Arora and Luka Arora’s daughter Chitrangana Arora, 6, a student of Class I at Modern High School for Girls, is learning a lot of new things every day. “She is being engaged in a lot of art and craft activities. She is making DIY pockets and visiting card holders. She also has a great interest in origami. We also introduced her to the kitchen. She learnt how to make omelette and beating the egg properly. We are trying to do a little bit of home-schooling with her. We are making her sit down for two hours every day with her studies. She enjoys painting. We have a lot of painting books at home, which she is using to colour and paint. She also loves listening to music and dancing. She is getting a lot of time to dance now and also read a lot of storybooks. We taught her how to play Ludo and various types of board games and she is really enjoying that,” says Rohan.

Though initially she did not understand why school got shut, her parents explained. “Yes, there are bouts of missing her friends but she is trying to cope better every time we explain it to her. She has also been taught the benefits of washing hands, of course without keeping the tap open,” says Rohan. 

Little Chitrangana is picking up cooking skills from dad Rohan.
Little Chitrangana is picking up cooking skills from dad Rohan. Sourced by The Telegraph

Fashion designer Abhishek Dutta and Jayshree T Dutta’s sons Aaryansh, 13, and Aakarsh, 8, are prepping for the new school session as well as chilling. “Both of them are interested in drawing and doing a lot of creative work at home. They are playing table tennis and spending a lot of time on the gaming console as well, since their exams are over. They are also studying a little bit every day. They are also being given some responsibilities,” says Abhishek. They are giving the pets a bath, which is usually Abhishek’s duty! “We have a terrace garden where the elder one does gardening. They are also playing and fighting with each other a lot! The elder one is a lot on WhatsApp. They need to be engaged in activities constantly because their lives are very fast now, but because of the Internet they are very much aware of the situation and they are not complaining about not being able to go out,” says Abhishek.

Aaryansh is in Class VIII at La Martiniere for Boys and Aakarsh is in Class IV at St. James’ School.

Abhishek with sons Aaryansh and Aakarsh, in artist mode.
Abhishek with sons Aaryansh and Aakarsh, in artist mode. Sourced by The Telegraph

Actor Jisshu Sengupta and homemaker Nilanjanaa Senguptaa’s daughters — Sara, 14, and Zara, 7 — are both studying as well as utilising the most of their free time productively. Both the kids study in Calcutta International School. While Sara is in the eighth standard, Zara is in Class I.

“They are still having to do their academic assignments regularly. Though their school is shut, their teachers and school has organised everything online so that the academic flow is not hampered. The whole virtual setup is commendable. Sara is getting her daily assignments that she has to complete within an allotted time and submit. Zara’s worksheets are being mailed to us, she needs to fill it up and submit it to the teacher and the teachers are checking and sending it back to us. But it’s true that they are having a lot of free time too,” says Nilanjanaa.

While both are reading books, Sara is keeping in touch with her friends over WhatsApp and call. What about Zara? “Zara is very busy playing with her toys and trying make-up,” laughs Nilanjanaa. Do they have a hang of the situation? “Sara obviously understands the situation very well, and Zara also eventually came to understand it. Though she is missing her tennis classes and her friends sometimes, but she is not really complaining, they understand it is necessary to stay at home,” says Nilanjanaa.

Having the whole family around at this time is nothing short of relief, though. “We are fortunate to have the whole family together. We are having our meals together and they are learning new values due to this situation. They no longer have the option of choosing what they want for their meals, they can’t say I don’t eat this and that. The meals are same for all. We are getting to spend some quality family time together. And obviously having siblings help and Sara and Zara have each other to cope with the situation,” signs off Nilanjanaa. 

Loreto Convent (Entally) principal and model-turned-choreographer-turned emcee Jessica Gomes Surana (yes, she wears many hats!) and fitness pro Neeraj Surana’s kids — Vivaan, 7, and Kaira, 5 — are occupied with both studies and extra-curricular activities. “Each day they are engaged in academics for at least an hour. They love painting, so they paint. Kaira plays the Casio, whereas Vivaan plays the guitar. They play music, dance and also do a lot of craft work together. We are also stitching a lot of doll clothes with my old outfits and saris. My son loves animals, so I am showing them a lot of animal movies. It is very rare for all four of us to sit and watch movies, but now we are doing that sometimes. Showing them a lot of educational videos as well. I am also introducing them to a lot of things that we used to do as kids but they don’t generally get the chance to do,” says Jessica.

Jessica with Vivaan and Kaira, get creative with craft.
Jessica with Vivaan and Kaira, get creative with craft. Sourced by The Telegraph

She has also tried explaining to them the current situation. “My son is aware about what is going on, but my daughter is really small. We still tried to explain it to her. I told her that, remember when masi tells you don’t do this, ‘eta korona’ in Bengali. That is how I explained the name corona,” she says.

While Vivaan studies in class III at St. James’ School, Kaira is a kindergartener at Loreto House.