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Love thy neighbour in Covid times: Indians value friendship even if it's online

Video calls, group chats are helping us stay connected.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 11.38 AM IST
Video calls, group chats_iStock
Now is a good time to use technology to build upon those relationships and take them to the next level.
Technology has come to the rescue in these social isolation times. Video calls, group chats are helping us stay connected. Especially helpful, since Indians apparently value friendship equally whether it’s based on an online relationship or a physical one. Internet service providers have recorded an unprecedented traffic in the last week, driven, not only by increased numbers working from home, but by friends and family urgently Skyping and ‘Facetiming’ their loved ones.

We have similar fondness for our neighbours and we take the whole love-thy-neighbour approach very seriously. “Nearly one in three Indians (31%) claim to ‘know everyone’ in their neighborhood by name, while a similar proportion (29%) claims to be able to recognise at least half of their neighbors.” These findings are based on a research that Godrej Security Solutions conducted across India.

There are other insights about the relationship Indians share with their neighbours. For instance, one-in-four Indians (24.7%) would entrust a neighbor to receive a delivery in their absence, rather than propose an alternative address, or attempt to coordinate the delivery via telephone.

When considering age, the issue of ‘neighbor knowledge’ became more pronounced; 43% of Indian householders aged 36 or over claimed to know ‘at least half’ their neighbors, compared to just 36% of their younger counterparts (aged under between 18 and 35).

Finally, when comparing different cities, which proved to be the most ‘neighbor aware’? Lucknow topped the charts with 37% of residents claiming to know all their neighbors, followed by Chandigarh (31%) and Mumbai (30%). Chennai residents appear to have the most ‘neighbor awareness’ catching up to do; only 19% claim to know everyone, and 21% admit that they don’t know anyone in their neighborhood.

Neighbors are a critical part of our social lives generally and how we structure many of our daily activities specifically. Now is a good time to use technology to build upon those relationships and take them to the next level. The maxim we are all in this together never held truer and it would certainly help to have more people on your side at this time.

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