15 Things To Look Forward To In This New World

GQ India|June 2020

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15 Things To Look Forward To In This New World
In an Age of Disruption, the novel coronavirus has proved itself to be the mother of them all. Most of the globe has been in some version of a lockdown for over three months now. During this time, a few changes have been accelerated – our dependence on tech in all aspects of our lives (hi Zoom, IG Live) – whereas others are new, such as the idea of physical and social distancing. But people and businesses alike are also adapting, resetting and rebooting, and harnessing new opportunities to imagine what the world could look like. GQ’s editors cast their eye over this vastly altered landscape – and tell you where we’re headed.
Shikha Sethi

01 NATURE IS HEALING (no joke)

You couldn’t have missed it: An endangered civet otherwise endemic to the Western Ghats, walking across a street in Kozhikode. A sambar deer doing a Beatles stroll across a zebra crossing in Chandigarh. Peacocks, flamingos and dolphins in Mumbai. The Dhauladhar mountain range visible from Jalandhar after 30 years. Life in lockdown has been good for wildlife and bettered air quality. It’s also made people focus on gardening and growing organic produce at home, when stock wasn’t readily available. Composting has received a fillip, too, with folks becoming more conscious of the waste they generate, and experimenting with making DIY face scrubs with used coffee grounds and coconut oil, thanks to a steady stream of how-to videos by Sahar Mansoor at Bare Necessities. What may’ve begun as distractions to kill time quickly turned into hobbies. And are unlikely to stop post quarantine either. To start composting stat, check out Bengaluru-based Waste Warriors and its nifty Smart Bin Air, designed for smaller city apartments, as well as the Daily Dump, which can help with more elaborate set-ups for your standalone home or apartment complex. Consciously opt for recyclable packaging. Seek out zero-waste stores like Adrish in Pune and Mumbai. Look out for sustainable clothing. The rewards for you or anyone sitting in Punjab or Kerala are much sweeter. —SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR


From coriander to cucumbers, ripe red tomatoes and tangy limes, the ultimate luxury of lockdown is fresh vegetables and fruits from the unimpeachable source of home. It’s the new social media bling: Who needs diamonds when you can show off what you’ve grown by getting your hands dirty? It seems like everyone is getting into the act: Your 12-year-old kid, who’s growing mustard cress in egg-cartons, your 72-year-old neighbour, whose pots of kari patta (curry leaf) have kept the entire apartment complex fully stocked. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot post quarantine. There’s happiness in those sprouts! Start with growing your own herbs (mint, basil, lemongrass) and microgreens, then potatoes, tomatoes and carrots, which require more space and care. There are plenty of YouTube videos to get you going; @HomeCrop on Instagram and theorganicfarm.in are also good resources. And if you’re composting at home, your food waste will eventually become nutrient-rich soil for your home garden, making it a double win. —VIVEK MENEZES


Even if your red zone fades to orange, and eventually becomes green, chances are your gym – along with restaurants and cinemas – isn’t reopening any time soon. Which is why this is the perfect time to pick from any number of online classes, streaming mostly via Zoom and IGTV, to break a sweat, burn calories and calm your mind. There’s no commute time, no waiting for the treadmill and no passing on of germs. Sure, you can always practise your downward dogs alongside popular YouTube channels such as Yoga with Adrienne or put yourself through the paces with a HIIT class online on PopSugar, but that only really works if you’re highly self-motivated. If that doesn’t sound like you, sign up for one of these endorphin-boosting classes instead.


Based in South Mumbai, The Seventh Sense is a movement centre, rather than a fitness studio, so if you’re looking for a more niche workout, this should be your go-to. Started by Neha Kothari and Ayesha Mehta, the former a well-known physiotherapist, TSS offers yoga for hormone balance, mixed martial arts, capoeira fitness, an energising Bolly X workout as well as a highly recommended kinetics class, which works with the body’s underlying muscular and neurophysiological systems, and is an excellent starting point for those with an injury or imbalance of any kind. (@ttheseventhsense_mlc; available on Zoom)


With over 20 years’ experience, Mumbai-based Hungarian, Melinda Malik, is our pick if you’re looking for a mix between strength training and cardio. Over one hour you’ll experience a blend of circuit training, HIIT, bodyweight exercises and Tabata, set to a killer playlist that’ll keep you pumped throughout. The classes are intense, but the results speak for themselves. The post-workout sweaty selfie is just a bonus. (@melinda1 on Instagram; available on Zoom)


Mumbai’s hipster hood of Bandra may be home to more yoga studios and vegan cafés than any other pocket in the country. Tucked away in a leafy bylane off Perry Cross Road is Yogacara Institute of Inner Wellbeing & Excellence, a holistic institute that offers Hatha, Vinyasa flow and restorative classes, based on the principles of Iyengar yoga, as well as a smorgasbord of deeply relaxing massages and Ayurvedic treatments. The lockdown has meant a shift to digital, but the classes continue online with founder Radhika Vachani – the author of Just Breathe – leading most of them herself. A weekly newsletter and a brief introduction before each class links the asanas you do to your daily life practice, making your time on the mat about so much more than just physical exercise. (@yogacara.in on Instagram; available on Zoom)


Perhaps you were a Cult.fit regular back in the day. But more likely, you’re one of the thousands of folks who’ve downloaded the app since the lockdown. Choose from yoga, dance fitness, boxing, HRX, or join in for a live masterclass with celebrities ranging from Smriti Mandhana to Mary Kom. You can track your energy levels through the class and you’ll even get ranked at the end of it. You’re never going to get another chance to score 1/1,000 again. (@becurefit; available on the web as well on the cure.fit app) —SHIKHA SETHI


Those decadent Sunday brunches and raging Friday night drinks may belong to an earlier era, but the hankering for a restaurant-grade meal remains. Enter, DIY haute cuisine, with a series of our favourite restaurants converting their greatest hits into make-at-home kits. PCH (Ping’s, ATM, etc) is delivering its star recipes across Delhi, pre-prepared to come together in three easy steps, while DIY Deli by Smokehouse Deli (currently in Mumbai, but poised to go pan-India) features kits with marinated mains and fresh veggies.

Try baking with the Hyatt Regency’s Bread Kits, which arrive with ingredients and simple instructions – or, for the first time, order from its curated, delivery-only menu. In fact, several iconic restaurants that never delivered have started to do so – including Masque, Mumbai. Also delivering cocktail premixes are PCH, Masque and Social, and liquor delivery is already a reality in some states. Ergo, everything you need for a fabulous meal – cocktails included – without leaving home. —SAUMYAA VOHRA

05 IGTV AND BEYOND: How The Live Gig Will Change

For those of us waking up front row in a live DJ concert by Questlove on Instagram, the Covid-19 lockdown brings with it a paradox. Musicians, producers, rappers have never been more accessible and more distant at the same time. Bars, clubs, music festivals, warehouse parties, comedy clubs – basically, any manner of entertainment that thrives on playing to a crowd of humans – aren’t going to return in full form till at least September 2021, analysts predict. Even when they do, hosts will be compelled “to market their events with heavy messaging around hygiene,” says Tej Brar, founder of Third Culture Entertainment.


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June 2020