As we enter Week 3 of the lockdown, Gul Panag notes, “This is going to be at least a semi-permanent way of life. And as with any challenge, when we see one, we always find ways to rise to it.” The Dor actress has been holding Cool Tech talks on her Instagram page (@gulpanag) with people who have used technology to maximise their output in these challenging times.
From businessman Anand Ahuja and designer Anita Dongre to comedian Kenny Sebastian and photographer Gayatri Nair, Gul has been talking to people who are staying ahead of the curve. “The lockdown has fundamentally changed the way we operate, and we need to ask ourselves how we will adapt to it, and continue to operate in this environment.”
The current lockdown is only to flatten the curve, she adds. “So that if there is a trickle of cases instead of a flood, we will be better equipped to handle it. From a health point of view, the pandemic is not going to just go away once the lockdown is lifted. So we better adapt to the times.”
She discusses how to do so, with her guests in her live sessions. Given we are heavily reliant on our phones and iPads as we work from our homes, we need to make sure that we optimise their use. “For instance, my talk with Anand Ahuja reminded me of how we need to be accountable for every minute of our time spent, rather than whiling it away on apps. Anand keeps his phone permanently on silent — phones constantly distract you with unnecessary notifications and are the biggest impediment to productivity. I do all my work on my iPad now instead, and use my phone just as a phone.” She adds that for daily reminders and memos, she has begun to relying on the good old pen and paper. This economising of time and effort can be applied everywhere, she says, “I have become so much more efficient in the kitchen too, and learnt to use the minimum amount of utensils to cook the healthiest food possible.”
Her current series ends with Soha Ali Khan on Tuesday noon, but she plans to host more such talks in the coming future. “I want to bring more people for another edition of the Cool Tech series,” she says. “But I also want to speak to a psychologist, about how to deal with our anxiety levels. They have risen to unprecedented points.”
Clarifying that there is a difference between stress and anxiety, she says the former has a specific origin, whereas the latter is a vague fear of the unknown. “It is not just health anxiety: economic anxiety, about pay-cuts and layoffs, is only just beginning to kick in. We have to figure out how to handle that as a community.”