By Aashish Mishra Kathmandu, Oct. 29: This year’s Dashain was a subdued celebration for Anusha Ghimire Nepal and her family. Every year, they used to travel from Kapan to Gotikhel, Lalitpur to put on Tika and seek blessings from Nepal’s maternal grandfather. But this year, because of the pandemic and the need to limit travels, the family could not go. “My grandfather was very sad that his only daughter (Nepal’s mother) could not be with him this Dashain. But the situation necessitated it,” Nepal said. But while the pandemic kept them apart physically, social media allowed them to connect virtually. “We video called and he gave us his blessings online,” Nepal said. Nepal’s family is one of many who celebrated Dashain Tika online this year. The concept of virtual Tika is not a novel one. However, it was only thought to be for relatives living abroad. People inside the country would physically travel to their homes and to the homes of their loved ones during the occasion. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible this year. So, people chose digital means. Rose Magar and her parents live 25 minutes apart in Samakhushi. However, because of her pregnancy, Magar chose to stay home and called her parents on Skype instead. “My parents have many people living on rent in their house. My father also eats out very often. So, I chose to keep distance this year, for the wellbeing of my unborn baby,” she said. “Me and my husband Skyped our parents. My father chanted the mantras, put the Tika on the laptop screen where he was seeing us, we also bowed down to him in front of our laptop. Hopefully, next year, we will get to be there in person with our baby.” Dashami Tika was a similarly virtual affair for Raman Pradhan as well. He was planning to go home to Butwal and had booked a bus ticket for Phulpati. However, a friend he came in contact with tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing him into home isolation. “I don’t think I have the virus but I still have to be responsible. So, I stayed home and received Tika through Messenger,” he said. His father video called him and blessed him virtually.