By Akshaya Pavanje
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a strict lockdown for some parts in Muscat Governorate. The lockdown, coupled with the fear of infection, has prevented people from coming out of their homes in the Holy month of Ramadan.
This year, with places of worship being closed and public gatherings being banned, Ramadan is being observed in a quiet and reclusive manner by families and individuals in Oman. Friends and family are getting together for Iftar virtually, by breaking their fast through online community iftars and gatherings on video conference apps like Zoom and WebEx. People are, however, staying positive in this grim situation by making the most of their time at home with family, and engaging in productive indoor activities. We caught up with some people to find out on how they spend their time in keeping themselves occupied during the lockdown.
Dr Saqar Al Tai, Senior consultant Radiologist and President of the Oman Radiology and Molecular Imaging society, says, “I was able to interact with my colleagues digitally, doing online research on the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (A.I) in the chest X-rays of Covid-19 patients. With the onset of Ramadan, I have been reading the Holy Qur’an and teaching my kids the stories of different Prophets. This is, of course, besides them attending their online classes and having their fair share of entertainment by watching television programmes.”
“The pandemic has been a very unusual time for us. This Ramadan, we are unable to visit the Masjid to do our prayers, or have gatherings for Iftar. Therefore, we have been staying at home and praying indoors. My sons have their online classes and homework, this is keeping them occupied. We have a house full of different kinds of pets. We have a goat, a coop of chickens, a cat and a few birds. Therefore, all our time is spent in playing with the animals, and caring for them“, says Syed Mohammed Zulnoorain, Sales Representative at Gulf Resources Intl.
The pandemic has indeed forced people to stay at home longer than they’re used to, especially for Saud Al kindi, who loves spending time outdoors. However, he took this opportunity to show his young sons the value that the outdoors and the environment hold in his life, by teaching them how to garden. “They now spend more time in the garden than they did playing with other kids. It brings me great joy to see them take up interest in gardening.”
Eid al-Fitr this year will be celebrated in a restricted manner, with close family and friends at the comfort of their homes. However, with their spirits up and prayers consistent, this too shall be remembered as a fleeting yet remarkable period which will hopefully make the coming celebrations much more memorable.