It is just the fourth day of the 21-day lockdown in India and we are already done with counting the stars. Four days ago, no matter how desirable it was to stay at home with a lot of time to binge-watch and sleep, now the quarantine life is tiring and stressful. Sigh, we can’t really end this but we can certainly “laugh it away”! So SheThePeople in its very first edition of Online Summit has brought together our favourite women comedians Neeti Palta, Kaneez Surka and Shreeja Chaturvedi who are in conversation with Raina Raonta about finding comedy in quarantine.
What is quarantine life for you?
“I am enjoying my quarantine!” says Kaneez Surka. “I am by myself and alone. It has been a great me-time and I feel like I am having a meditation retreat.” Kaneez has also been using the quarantine to cook. “Every evening I call my mom. She helps me cook and we are having a nice bonding session too.”
Neeti Palta is spending her quarantine with her family and three pet dogs. “Family irritates me so I try and stay away. But my dogs! They keep entertaining me all the times.”
“I am living with my parents and we are mutually irritating each other,” says Shreeja. “ But I have started cooking and my parents are very happy about that. There is some pressure off me now,” she adds.
How are you using your quarantine to be more productive and creative?
Neeti is spending her time teaching her dogs some yoga. She also shares a funny anecdote on how her dogs are not very obedient when she tries to teach them some yoga positions.
“Apart from cooking, I have memorised all the lyrics of Shankar Mahadevan’s Breathless,” says Shreeja.
Is Quarantine the best way to have some me-time?
Neeti Palta says that me-time is not her cup of tea. “I need people. People are like energy for me. Right now I am joining all the social chat sites, replying to all the trolls and messages. People have started asking me how free I am.”
What shows are they watching?
“I have been going through all my comedian friends’ content and watching them like an audience. There is a lot of stuff out there to watch and spend a good time," Kaneez believes. While, Neeti Palta has been watching Special Ops, Vikings and Money Heist. Shreeja strongly recommended the web series Sex Education. “It is a teenage comedy-drama but also very informative. It has sex education in the most watchable format,” she adds.
How are you connecting with your audiences during the lockdown?
“Through social media platforms,” says Kaneez while Shreeja is using mostly Instagram to interact with her audience. “We are going live, posting stories, putting polls and quizzes so that people can interact,” says Kaneez.
“We are experiencing this together. The whole world is in this together.” - Kaneez
Are you more on social media than before?
With only the social media as the connection to the outside world, the comedians agree that their presence on social media is now more than ever. Neeti Palta adds, “I have rejoined my family WhatsApp group.”
Adding how quarantine is a change for the whole world, Kaneez Surka says, “We are experiencing this together. The whole world is in this together.”
Are you funnier in this quarantine?
“I am way more creative in this quarantine if not funnier. It is making me think more about how to interact with my audience differently,” says Kaneez.
Shreeja says that she has become more absurd in the quarantine. “We are not able to meet people and gauge their reaction. We are just putting out stuff without filter,” she adds.
Neeti Palta says, “I am getting weirder in quarantine. I think our weird inner self is coming out with full force.”
“Some people working from home say that now they have to work more because now they are just available 24/7. No one would want this to become a norm.” - Shreeja
Is work from home becoming the norm?
“I feel that after the quarantine people will want to be out,” adds Neeti Palta. She adds, “I am an optimist so I will say people will want company and life force.”
Adding to this, Kaneez says, “We can’t stay at home and work. We have to go out and perform.”
“Some people working from home say that now they have to work more because now they are just available 24/7. No one would want this to become a norm,” says Shreeja.
The positives from the quarantine
Shreeja adds, “I like to believe that the lockdown has happened at the right time. Soon we will be fine and ready to go. The traffic jam will be back again.”
Drawing attention to how the quarantine is helping the earth to rejuvenate while we are going through this hard time, Kaneez Surka says, “Our earth is getting some well deserved and necessary rest. When we will come back, we are going to see a new planet.”