One fine day, as we frenetically were going about our lives, merely skimming through newspapers and channels and reading about a virus called Corona, the lockdown was announced in our country, India. We were asked to be remain indoors; be quarantined in - thecomfort of - our homes and even as we grappled with a pandemic and all its resultant baggage, we at Aalaap went through the first week of lockdown also wondering what we could do to stay relevant and meaningful in a time when everything seemed to insignificant, irrelevant.

We turned to the arts and decided to unleash its power and potential to act as an emotional vaccine for the pandemic even as we battled a slew of mixed emotions - fragility, uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, and a sense of restlessness.

We thought of the word, hope and how that simple four-letter word had the ability to help us sit up, get out of bed, look forward to the days ahead and simply move forward, even if it meant one day at a time.

We crafted a campaign called Hope in the Time of Corona and that became for us, an anchor of sorts. We found in the campaign not only a sense of anchoring - much-needed for a time where everything seemed sloppy and unstable - but also we drew inspiration from it to curate ideas and initiatives that used the arts and its transformational power and quality to make even the impossible seem not only possible but also beautiful.

What began as a small desire to make a tiny difference slowly blossomed into a project that brought together a range of artistes and the fraternity at large to share their arts and creativity through concerts and conversations, exchanges and interactions, sharing and showcases that allowed people - lovers and followers of the arts - find in it, a sense of succour, a blanket of comfort, moments of joy and many learnings, small and big, on the arts, and life, at large.

And even though the performing arts is largely a live medium, we turned to the digital platform to capture and bring alive these experiences in formats that were interesting, and engaging. We were conscious - in our curation and execution - that the lockdown didn’t mean that people had all the time in the world so we programmed with an intent to keep our audiences engaged but never exhaust.

We recognised that the lines between weekdays and weekends had blurred and hence we curated four-long long marathon series that offered rasikas and lovers of the arts, across the globe, the possibility of switching off from work, family and household chores, and dive into the arts, almost as they would over weekends when life was normal. Our marathon series were also meant to create for our audiences an experience of a sense of community; how do different artistes from across the world come together and respond to a common idea in their own individual style?

Here’s a quick tour of our marathon series

The beauty of this campaign is that it caught the attention of media persons and the press from across the country and stories on our attempt to use the instrument of the arts as a tool for hope and comfort, validated our intent further. You can read some stories here…

Live in the Living Room – A feature in the Sunday Herald - Click here

Dance in times of Distress – A feature in New Indian Express - Click here

Shift in Paradigm – An article in the Friday Review - Click here

Femina Corona warrior Click here to read the article - Click here

Hope in the Time of Corona would not have hit home and tugged at our hearts if not for the love we received from our followers and well-wishers from across the globe. Slowly, names from afar became familiar; we waited for our regulars to tune in and give us a thumbs-up, a warm message that’d spur our spirits and reinforce our faith in what we’d set out to do.

The pandemic is still very much a reality as we write this but time is a great healer and it is imperative to archive and move forward. The arts helped us and will continue to be our anchor.

Thank you to everyone who made Hope in the Time of Corona, a campaign we will remember, for a long time to come