HOW TO MAKES YOUR HOME SAFE DURING COVID-19

The government released a new set of guidelines this week to combat COVID-19 transmission, emphasising the importance of masks, distance, hygiene, and well-ventilated spaces. It has been stressed that “ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission” from an infected individual to others.

It was recommended that outdoor air be introduced into workplaces, houses, and wider public spaces, as well as that steps be taken to increase ventilation in these spaces.

It was also recommended that fans, open windows and doors, even partially open windows, be strategically placed to introduce outdoor air and increase indoor air quality. It also said that adding cross ventilation and exhaust fans is helpful in curtailing fans running if the windows and doors are locked, it said.

To generate the optimal air flow for optimum protection from indoor infection, add an exhaust fan or convert a pedestal fan into an exhaust fan by turning it to face outdoors, according to the guidelines.

COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged stay-at-home phenomenon, according to Shalini Chandrashekar, principal designer and co-founder, Taliesyn- Design & Architecture, have revised the value of comfortable dwellings.

Optimizing the use of natural sunlight

By orienting the openings toward the northeast (N-E), an open breezeway can be created within the built volume. Orienting the kitchen in the southeast (S-E) will reward the mundane morning chores with the soothing morning sunshine, and locating the bedroom in the southwest (S-W) can pull in the warmth of the afternoon golden sun, all such conscious considerations can come in handy when designing a well-ventilated home, she advised.

Furthermore, strategically placing the openings while keeping the sun path and wind direction in mind lowers the operational costs of mechanical temperature regulation and indoor lighting, allowing the architecture to take on a more elevated spatial identity, she adds.

Incorporating skylights

In India, people prefer to keep their windows closed to keep insects out and preserve privacy. Openings with screens or jaalis can solve this problem by allowing fresh air in while maintaining protection and privacy.

Windows with buck mesh and sheer curtains inside are positioned disgonally to allow for instant cross-ventilation in the room. Because of the heat strength coming from those directions, large glass walls on the south and west are typically closed.

“It’s best to ensure that the prevailing wind direction of the site/city is taken into account and the fenestrations are placed in accordance with them to maximize the air flow,” Meena Murthy Kakkar, Design Head and Partner, Envisage, says.

Keeping the house dry

For proper ventilation and hygiene, it is important to keep the house dry. To keep the dampness out, create a dedicated wet utility area, which is a semi-covered utility room for washing and drying. Powerful exhausts in the kitchen and toilets, as well as easy-to-open windows, are a must if the position allows it. To keep the kitchen dry, place it in the sunniest part of the house.

Segregating wet and dry areas

If you have a balcony in a shady corner or a house without a balcony, invest in a dryer to prevent a dark and musty odour inside. Separate the dry and wet areas of your bathroom’s bathing enclosures with a partition. This also aids in preventing moisture from entering your quarters. Invest in high-capacity exhaust fans.

Arun K.R., senior architect at Brick&Bolt says, “We usually take care to provide sufficient and proper air circulation by having larger windows. Since morning sunlight is so beneficail, openings to the east help.”

A Poem in Appreciation of Solitude.

Did you know solitude is different from loneliness? Though many think the words mean the same, it is not the case. Loneliness refers to a state of feeling lonely. It is possible to feel lonely even when you are with people. But solitude refers to being alone. It means being by yourself and spending time with yourself. Many philosophers have appreciated solitude. In fact, the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said, ‘Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realising he is one with the whole universe.’ 

The English poet, Alexander Pope, sings in praise of solitude in his poem ‘Ode on Solitude’, just as the title says. Though a man lives secluded, he can be happy if he has a small land to take care of. He wouldn’t have big ambitions and would feel content just by breathing the fresh air of his native. He surrenders to nature and enjoys being by himself. He does so because he feels tranquility.

Happy the man, whose wish and care

   A few paternal acres bound,

Content to breathe his native air,

                         In his own ground.

He feels happy even when he is all by himself because he has enough of everything for him. His cattle provide him milk, his fields food, his congregation clothes, and his trees give him shade during summer and firewood during winter. He doesn’t need to worry about making ends and spends time for himself. 

Blessed is he who doesn’t need to worry about running out of time. He enjoys the drifting time and passing days because he can take care of himself. He is healthy and peaceful, so he is calm doing his routine in daytime and sleeps well at night.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find

   Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

                         Quiet by day,

When he has enough time for himself, he learns many things and does everything with ease. When this happens, he reflects on his deeds, his memories, and on himself. He recalls his past and re-lives those happy moments. He understands about himself and can reveal his true self without fearing to be judged. 

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,

   Together mixed; sweet recreation;

And innocence, which most does please,

                         With meditation.

The last stanza ends with the poet asking to be granted such a life where he can live   unnoticed by people and unknown to them. He doesn’t want people to mourn his death for he wants to leave this earth without regrets. When he dies, he doesn’t want to take anything from the world, not even a stone which marks his grave and let people know where he lays dead.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;

   Thus unlamented let me die;

Steal from the world, and not a stone

                         Tell where I lie.

This poem shows us how self satisfying solitude can be. We keep running and running without ever knowing what we are after. So, by being alone and spending time with ourselves, we can know what we need and what we want to do. Thus, when you enjoy loneliness, it becomes solitude.