The early days of last year’s lockdown often had the strange quality of childhood summer holidays—days followed a pattern of quiet activity, of time spinning out as we kept to tasks even as everything seemed to come to a standstill and we isolated at home because cases were rising rapidly, as they are again. Many parents complain—and I have no lived experience of this because the only thing I have ever raised is a cactus that died in a year—the line between term time and holidays has disappeared as children are home all day, and have taken dodging teachers and classes to an art form. But summer holidays also meant hours of playing with friends, and most children have not met their friends in a year. For those privileged enough to have access to gadgets and the internet, schooling is still an isolating experience. The World Health Organization has been warning of a looming mental health pandemic and other groups have flagged the dangers of millions of children being out of school. Our cover story looks at the ways in which childhood has changed in the past year, how children are beginning to feel the effects of a year at home, what they miss and what they have grown to love.
We also have a piece on the effects of isolation on the elderly, whose weaker immune systems make them more vulnerable to the virus. Many have not stepped out in a year, and are finally glimpsing hope with the vaccine. In strange ways, covid-19 has lessened loneliness for some and heightened it for others. It has meant more time with family but as the middle generations return to their routines, children and the elderly remain stranded. They are still cut off from their peers, the people they really need to keep them busy and happy.
For our fortnightly Business Lounge profile, Ketto’s Varun Sheth shares his truly inspiring story of building a crowdfunding platform in a country where people give informally and love to help, but where investors rarely want to back an original and risky idea that has the power to change lives. And there’s a lot more to read in this issue of Lounge—whether your passion is tea, the mountains, or both.
Write to the Lounge editor firstname.lastname@example.org @shalinimb