This is the third entry in a three-part series about family life during the pandemic. Read the first and second.
In March 2020, India was under strict lockdown as health and government officials scrambled to contain the deadly spread of COVID-19. The country’s entire population — roughly 1.4 billion people—had been forced indoors, forbidden to leave home unless it was for food or a medical emergency.
Phiroze Parasnis and his family — younger brother Yohann Parasnis and their father Kaushik Parasnis and mother Kashmira Wadia — watched Mumbai, one of the world’s most populous cities, fall silent. Streets emptied, schools converted into field hospitals. Before long, they heard about the death of a neighbor from the virus — and then another. As the world shrunk to the size of their apartment, they tried to adjust to a smaller, scarier reality.
“We were more or less locked up in this house,” said Kaushik. The family filled their days with work, school, and cooking, and with simple joys like watching TV as a family. Binging sitcoms, including “Seinfeld,” became a popular dinner-time ritual; they made it through all 180 episodes of the 1990s hit in the space of a few months. But not everyone was a fan.