Manisha, Principal Engineer, Piping & Petrofac Workforce Forum representative, lives in Mumbai, one of the world’s most populous cities. Lockdown has been strictly enforced, and when Petrofacts talked to her she was living and working in a small apartment with her two daughters. A positive attitude, Indian music, meditation and Marathi movies have kept her spirits high…
What’s the most positive thing that has come out of your lockdown experience – for you personally, for your local community, for your working life?
I feel I’ve grown as a person. Before, we used to run after immaterial things in life and everyone’s now realising the difference between luxury and necessity.
On the positive side, social isolation might be a never-seen-before opportunity to practise greater self-reflection. It’s like embarking on an inner journey. It means discovering what we stand for and finding out our strengths and weaknesses and working on them. Staying connected with others is important – but also staying connected with ourselves.
It’s become really clear that a lot has to be done for our society. For my part, I have taken the initiative to serve all those who protect us from the virus. We are providing food, tea and coffee to our building security guards. I have also brought water and breakfast to the cops at my nearest checkpost, who are on duty on the roads.
But we help most at the moment by keeping ourselves in isolation and avoiding unnecessary social contact.
On a professional front I have eased down a lot. It helps me to concentrate and helped me to rely on self-motivation, self-discipline, focus and concentration. There are fewer interruptions, which helps me to stay focused on work.
Is there anything you unexpectedly miss from pre-lockdown life? And anything you thought you'd miss but actually don't at all?
Lockdown 4 has started and the city of Mumbai and its 24x7 busy scheduled life has ground to a standstill. The local trains and buses, the lifelines of Mumbai, are closed till further notice (a few networks are partially working for our respected community helpers like policemen, doctors and nurses). In the initial stages of lockdown, life was a little unstable, as I had never worked from home before. But after about a week, a lot of meditation helped me to stay focused in my life and work.
Fitness is one of my top priorities, and I missed taking a good long jog or just a walk in fresh air outdoors. But instead I do early morning yoga at home and even jog on the spot for general fitness.
I’m a very social person. I thought I’d miss going out with friends and family much more than I do.
What one lesson/change will you take from this experience that will change you as a person and change the way you think about and do your work?
One lesson is not to take nature for granted. We keep running after materialistic pleasures which are mostly unnecessary. This lockdown has taught me the true value of things like spending time with family, taking care of our health – mentally, spiritually and physically.
This lockdown has mellowed me and changed my perspective towards life.
Have you felt supported by your colleagues and by your local community? How have you supported others?
I have been always supported by my colleagues on a professional level.
Our piping lead and our head of department Rajendra Kumar has guided the team so well and very systematically. When we took our desktops from the office, the IT team of Yatin Patil was also very supportive.
What I have noticed during the lockdown period is that the community is very supportive as well as cooperative throughout.
I supported my co-workers through the initial stages as it was a challenging task dealing with the technology. I found it very hard myself so I knew what they were going through and was able to help them.
Microsoft Teams is so helpful for meetings and discussions and giving instructions to the team. We are managing our work as efficiently as we did working in the office, and achieving our targets despite issues like internet speed, printers etc. The lesson is never stop working in any crises, the show must go on.
What personal qualities have you found most helpful in getting through these times and helping others to do the same? How will you use those qualities more in your job from now on?
This period of lockdown has transformed me into a better person. A positive attitude and meditation has given me views on my goals and working from home has taught me self-discipline and the importance of giving yourself a proper schedule.
What’s inspired you most over the last few weeks – one piece of music, one book or film, or one person perhaps?
I’ve been ticking-off the movies which were on my pending list. The one movie which inspired my life big time was the documentary The Secret [which suggests that if you believe in an outcome, think about it, and stay positive then you will achieve it] and also a Marathi movie [Marathi is the official language in the Maharashtra and Goa states of Western India) The Bucket List, which puts me in a good mood. A piece of classical music which will stay with me, rejuvenating my inner peace, is from a Marathi movie.
“This lockdown has taught me the true value of things like spending time with family, taking care of our health – mentally, spiritually and physically.”
WORDS RICHARD LOMAX
PUBLISHED MAY 2020