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People are having ‘virtual parties’ in lockdown



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By Aashish Mishra

Kathmandu, May 24: The ongoing lockdown may have brought life to a standstill but that does not mean occasions have stopped coming. Birthdays, anniversaries, family rituals and other festivities which would have traditionally invited gatherings and celebrations have all come and gone quietly because of the need for physical distancing and restrictions on movement.
But with the nationwide shutdown now entering its third month, people are no longer postponing or cancelling their revelries and are instead opting for ‘virtual celebrations’ so they can enjoy their special days without breaking the lockdown rules.
Anushka Shahi had her birthday last week and there was no way that she was not going to share that day with her friends. She had already put off enough occasions, in her words, cancelling her parents’ wedding anniversary and her brother’s birthday last month because of the lockdown. “Cancelling my birthday was entirely out of question,” she said. “I was determined to have a birthday party with my friends.”
Her determination led her to Zoom, a video conferencing app. “I found it very easy to use and asked all my friends to download and join it. And we all had a video party,” she shared. “Although a physical party would have been better, the ‘Zoom party’ at least allowed me to celebrate my birthday like a birthday.”
Similarly, Simran Thapa and her husband Dikesh Awale celebrated their third wedding anniversary on Friday through Facebook Live. “My husband had brought a cake and my in-laws had prepared a whole event with music and drinks,” Thapa said, explaining the day. “We cut the cake and then danced after that, all the while, live streaming the whole thing on Facebook. We received loads of comments and calls from our friends and family and it made us feel connected in this time of isolation,” she said.
But one does not always need an occasion to party. Abhishek Khanal threw a virtual party just because he felt like it. “I was feeling lonely one day. So, I video-called a few of my friends on Facebook, we all played the same music in our rooms and danced and laughed and had a good time,” he said, exclaiming that the lockdown was not going to keep him from having fun.
With the end of the lockdown being uncertain, people are coming up with innovative ways to mark occasions and celebrate with their loved ones, virtual parties being one of them. This is a huge global trend right now with renowned Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities like Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Ali Faizal, Richa Chadha, Krystle D’Souza, Elli AvrRam and Evelyn Sharma throwing parties on social media platforms or apps like Zoom.
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