As the world stopped in its tracks at the beginning of 2020, lives changed. Forever. What started as a series of outbreaks in isolated corners of the world, turned into a global pandemic. Multiple countries went into complete lockdowns – offices, schools, colleges, and businesses remained closed, the streets desolate and empty. Working professionals were stuck at home, resigned to their at-home workspaces. Online meetings and work from home became the norm. Some people lived in different places, away from their loved ones. Others took this time to bond with family and friends, or reignite old habits, and create new routines. Everyone has their own story to tackle 2020. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) in association with WADE ASIA invited women in Design to share their inspiring stories from 2020. Here, we are sharing the encouraging story of Ranna Parikh the principal architect at Ranna Parikh Architect.
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Various professions had to change the way they were being approached. Architecture was one such profession. An architect’s job description requires them The architectureious sites and check the progress of their work. However, the national lockdowns made this almost impossible. Work areas and focusses changed immensely. Ranna Parikh is one such architect who had to deal with the disadvantages of being stuck at home, unable to have the more hands-on approach that she is habituated to.
Turning Negatives into Positives
Regardless of the various difficulties that she had to face during the lockdown, she decided to make the most of this situation. Turning negatives into positives requires a lot of mental strength and passion, both of which she had in spades. A well-established architect and interior designer in the bustling city of Ahmedabad, Ranna’s conversation with her friends made her verbalize the changes she went through in the year of the global pandemic.
(In Center) Ranna Parikh, Ranna Parikh Architect & Interior Designer, during the 10th Talk of Town Event in Ahmedabad
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More Time for Family
She found herself talking to her friends on a fine evening. A question stirred the air, coming from one of the people present, on how the lockdown and 2020 itself had personally affected each one of them. Multiple people had the same nature in their tales – tales of fear for their own health and their loved ones. Others talked about how their routines had changed, with visits to the parlour becoming infrequent, and feelings of melancholy pervading the everyday. Ranna had something quite different to say:
“2020 gave me an opportunity to fill in the blanks of the years passed by.”
As one of the most in-demand architects and interior designers in the country, Ranna Parikh had little time to devote to family life. The veteran has been an expert in the field for the past 30 years, and has two children, one 31 years old and the other aged 21 years. Her home is away from the main city of Ahmedabad. This provided her with an environment to practice her hobbies, and get back to spending some quality time with her family.
Ranna Parikh decided to use the year to bond with her second child, her 21-year-old daughter, Tanya. At the time of Tanya’s birth, Ranna’s career was peaking. This meant devoting more of her waking life to meeting client expectations and deadlines, and building a secure future for her family. This was in stark contrast to her life when her first child was born. At the time, her career was still in a stage of being weaved, and she was finding her footing in a vast competitive space. This allowed her to experience the joys of raising her child, something which she missed out on during Tanya’s growing years.
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As the lockdown started and allowed for more mother-daughter time, Ranna took full advantage of the situation. The duo invested their time in bonding through simple acts such as cooking, cleaning, and playing games. She kept in touch with her son, Samay, through the wonders of modern technology. Samay stays in Mumbai, and online meetups resulted in them playing online poker, Samay’s favourite. Ranna also started to manage her time more efficiently – dividing her attention between her professional life and personal life, making sure that she had a fun time in handling the household chores and the tedious tasks of managing a home. A lot of her evenings were spent with her husband, Nayan, playing badminton and getting her daily exercise.
All of this work at home and on the family front did not mean that she skimped on her work life either. She does admit to having a difficult adjustment period, as everything had to be managed online, at a moment’s notice. She says “…as a chairperson of IIIDARC; all the meetings were very chaotic at first and eventually, we learned to host even grand events”. She took a learning experience from this as well, learning to brush up on her technical skills on the computer.
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Even though 2020 was a year of adjustment for Ranna, she took it in her stride; despite all the difficulties. “2020 was indeed a year of detox, walking away from everything that had made us forget how beautiful it is to make time for things that make you happy”, she says.
Her positive thinking led her to reconnect with her “happier version”, and removed all the deadline-oriented markers of life that pervaded her workspace and invaded into her private life. For Ranna, it led her to take things a bit easy and to go through the paces of life one day at a time – to breathe in and understand how important it is to be grateful for what she had.
For a year that upended a lot of people’s lives, it also gave us time to reflect on multiple perspectives of our lives. Ranna Parikh is one such person, whose attitude in dire circumstances can teach us a lot about understanding experiences in times of distress. Life does not have to stop, not even when a pandemic has ravaged our daily routines.
Ranna Parikh’s inspirational take on the lockdown life teaches us to find the silver linings in every cloud. An important takeaway from her story is that we are not what our routines and daily lives make of us. Humans have the capability to not just survive, but to thrive in adverse circumstances. Ranna Parikh thrived despite her situation and given enough time and mental space, we can as well.
Keep reading SURFACES REPORTER for more such articles and stories.
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