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04 July 2020

COVID-19 : Virtual family gathering

NINE OF my siblings and I gathered together tonight on Zoom. This is the first time we have all come together and reached out collectively to each other during the pandemic. It was initially challenging to decide on a time that would work for everyone with five different time zones. Breakast on Saturday in Toronto and Virginia was dinner in New Delhi and late night in Manila. But it eventually worked out.

On Zoom, there might have been a dip in nonverbal communication: you can't really figure out those silent emotional cues on the computer or smartphone screen. But talking to each other face to face is much better than exchanging messages on WhatsApp and having conversations on the phone. On Zoom, we get to be as loud and expressive as we are in person.

Reading prayers and sacred writings gave structure and focus to our gathering tonight. It eased the awkwardness of trying to keep up with the conversation after the devotions, especially with so many of us chatting together.

We decided to make this gathering a weekly one from now on. COVID-19 has now forced us to operate outside our comfort zones. But being physically isolated should never account to being psychologically and socially isolated. Technology has allowed us to bridge that gap. This is what has made the Zoom moments with my siblings very special.


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