Nandini YadavJan 01, 2021 12:05:35 IST
Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series about tech gadgets and devices that helped Team tech2 and some of our friends through the pandemic, lockdown, and the year 2020, in general.
Having spent close to 300 days indoors in 2020, my mind, body, and soul experienced chaos in many ways. Working, sleeping, eating, living in the same space for so many days made my house seem smaller, I experienced burnout, and it wasn’t easy to keep going. But, I did, because my mama didn’t raise no quitter (J/K, quit if you have to. No pressure. Whatever makes you happy!) While I was one of the lucky few who spent this quarantine at home with family, we often forget our privilege in the moment, and so, on various occasions, I turned to technology for comfort and sanity.
While as a tech journalist, I am often using several kinds of devices at once, 2020 wasn’t exactly the same for me professionally, so my dependence skewed toward some tech more than others. And as the year ends, I want to give huge props to my Amazon Echo Show 8 and my Apple Watch SE, for keeping me entertained and pushing me to stay healthy.
Since the beginning of the lockdown and to date, my day begins with Alexa waking me up to Ganesh Atharvashisha and Mahishasurmardini Stotram, followed by the top hits in the US and then I go on experimenting with and exploring music all day.
My Echo Show 8 sits on my work desk. It is switched on first thing in the morning and it stops only in the evening when I watch shows on the TV, and sometimes it’s playing until I fall asleep.
I have honestly never been so up-to-date with every song released in India and the US. In 2020, I hear new songs the day they release – 2019 Nandini would be so impressed by 2020 Nandini.
The Echo Show 8 has been a wonderful companion. I especially like the device because I always wanted a smart speaker with a display because it doubles as a clock, you can watch videos on it, watch news, read lyrics. However, with the older generation Echo Show you couldn’t switch off the camera, and that bit kind of made me a little uncomfortable with having the device in my room. But the Echo Show 8 comes with a shutter for the camera, so I like to keep the camera shut, and turn the mic off after I have found my playlist for the day.
My other hero device during the lockdown was my Apple Watch SE. During the lockdown, some of us – unconsciously – and many of us – happily – turned into sedentary beings. Home workouts aren’t easy to follow when you live in apartments; you don’t want to disturb your downstairs neighbours. And workouts are even harder to follow when you live in a place like Delhi, and the winter has set in.
With Apple Watch SE, the fitness rings kept me motivated. I had a goal to achieve. And even if I couldn’t get a proper workout in, standing for a minute every hour, mindful breathing, and step counts really helped me squeeze in some physical activity into my day. Also, if I am being honest, the watch almost shames you sometimes with the “You didn’t get any workout done yesterday” prompts, and I am scared of being called a failure like that.
Besides keeping me active, the Apple Watch SE helped me break the large, medium and small screens vicious cycle.
— philip matarese (@philorphilip) April 3, 2019
The smartwatch lets me attend to most of my notifications and calls. It also helped me reduce the time I spent mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I focused on work much better on days I wore my watch.
And finally, a gadget that has unfortunately become vital for a quality lifestyle in a city like Delhi – an air purifier.
If I absolutely must find a silver lining in the whole mess that 2020 was, I’d say that I think I breathed more clean air this year than I have in the past. Starting in March 2020, the air purifiers in my house have run 24×7. I can count on my fingers the number of times I have left the house in 2020. My annual winter congestion (sounds like a festival, because it really returns right on schedule every year) was way milder than what I am used to. I also contracted COVID-19 in October, and while there is no medical proof that it works, I genuinely feel that the clean air in my house helped in my recovery. With the winters setting in, I have also been using the air purifier as a heater, which has been crucial in surviving Delhi winters cooped up in the house all day.
Picture this: I wake up, put on my Apple Watch SE, my Amazon Echo Show 8 plays my favourite music, my room isn’t blanketed with smog, it isn’t freezing at 8 degrees, I dance around my room, I meditate and do mindful breathing, I focus on my work (while listening to some good music), I do some more happy dancing once my work is over, my fitness rings close in to the daily goals, and I end my day happy, entertained and comfortable. That’s not a life I can take for granted!