Indulge 14th anniversary special: Five pandemic-inspired trends that have changed the way we socialise

Here’s a quick recap on the roller coaster ride that was this past year. But we’ve come out on the other side stronger and with a fresh perspective

author_img Paloma Rao Published :  29th October 2021 07:00 AM   |   Published :   |  29th October 2021 07:00 AM

Rupjyoti at the Stephin Lal virtual show

I’m seriously fighting the urge to go on a ‘where has the time gone’ tangent, but I can’t believe that we’re already celebrating another anniversary here at Indulge. These past couple of years have felt like a serious time warp with all the craziness that we’ve been surrounded by, but it’s been great to be able to go on this roller coaster ride together. A pandemic and two lockdowns, but we’ve managed to come out the other side, with a new perspective. Some things we got right back to, others will never be the same.


Pooja in a Chaitanya Rao ensemble


Virtual events: As someone in entertainment (an industry that’s taken a big hit) said, it’s been amazing to see how quickly people have pivoted to make things work in the new normal. Virtual events are how things are done, whether it’s celeb interviews, fashion shows, food and lifestyle events or conferences. A ‘meet and greet’ for a fashion brand saw die-hard fans tuning in from all over the world to ask their favourite cricketers questions. Gone are ballrooms at five stars, big crowds jumping up and down, or jostling for a good view. While as a host I certainly miss the energy of meeting in person, one can’t help but enjoy only having to ‘dress up’ from the shoulders up.


Pared-down weddings: For the physical events that do actually take place, it’s a decidedly more controlled vibe. Less people, and more thoughtful celebrations. From the land of ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’, this is a huge deal. For those wondering — is an ‘intimate’ Indian wedding even possible? Indeed, it is. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I recently attended a wedding with 50 guests. Yes, 50. And no, I’m not missing a zero. While I loved the fact that it was just the family and super close friends of the couple, the post-pandemic touches couldn’t be missed. Customised masks, sanitisers every few feet and the tables strategically spaced out. Oh and every guest that attended had been tested. So along with the personal invite was a person with a PPE suit. Just kidding.


Paloma & Sweta at the Elemental pop-up


Sustainability: A mega change we have seen is that everyone is less wasteful. From eco-friendly stores to thrift sites popping up all over the place, it’s great to see people working towards a more sustainable way of life. It was definitely heartening to see a packed ‘sustainable’ pop-up exhibition recently, where everything from the products and décor, to every single container that food was being served in, met the sustainable brief. Is this something that’s here to stay? I certainly hope so.


Ayisha at the Dubai stadium

Two-part IPL: Another rather unusual feature this year was the two-part cricket tournament that just came to a close. The fans have shown that when it comes to the boys in yellow, there’s nothing that’s too big an ask. While most of us had to make do with watching the proceedings from home, a few hard-core fans made the journey to the UAE to watch all the action live. This trip was no small feat, with multiple COVID-19 tests along the way, but a win from Dhoni and Co. made it all worthwhile.

Social media: We’ve also not clung to our phones, the way we have this past year. The lines between Instagram and reality have become dangerously blurred as everyone continues to share pictures of their edited lives on social media. I miss the old days where Instagram was for sharing hilarious moments or well-captured images. It begs the age-old question... Does life reflect art or does art reflect life?

I’ll end before things get too philosophical, and we’ll perhaps continue this conversation in person, at a fun event somewhere. Stay safe Chennai, and here’s to continuing to enjoy this journey with you!