The pandemic has proven to be unprecedented in many ways. Locked in our homes, many of us learnt the art of cooking, although the learning curve for some of us stopped with Dalgona coffee. While some turned to online courses, others became serious about their fitness. Dhawal Shah, Founder of Class Central, a US-based app which provides access to fitness classes, said that the traffic they received from March 15 to April 15 was more than their total traffic in 2019.
Most mortals like us were glued to our Instagram handles and were watching the latest flicks on Netflix. But some women became popular by making an immense contribution to their fields, becoming household names. Let us look at some of them:
Little did 24-year-old Eshna know that her video on Instagram titled #sareeflow would become go viral. A self-taught hula hooper, she has been practising hooping for more than a decade.
A graduate of psychology from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, she believes that her quirky combination of shoes and pyjamas, and a not-so-often visible hula hoop were the reasons that the video went viral.
Eshna also credits the video’s popularity to A R Rahman’s head beating Genda Phool track, which attracted everyone’s attention. She discovered hula hooping when she was in Class X. Today, she teaches the art of hooping to interested students across the world.
Three years ago, the 23-year-old singer became noted due to her rendition of the poem ‘Sakhavu’, but it was during the lockdown that she gained popularity. Even Amitabh Bachchan tweeted about her music and said that she was a ‘special talent’. The video that catapulted her to fandom is a fusion of swaras in Thodi and Believer by Imagine Dragons.
From having just a few thousand followers before she went viral, as of writing this, she has 270K+ followers on Instagram and 366K subscribers on YouTube. Arya is trained in Carnatic music and aims to become financially secure before she ventures into independent music. The Kannur-based girl is currently doing a course in Bengaluru.
Also dubbed as the ‘Corona Voice,’ Jasleen is the voice behind the automated phone message that instructs us to behave during the pandemic. She has been a practising voiceover artist for more than a decade now. She gained fame after the media got to know it was her voice in the coronavirus warning ad.
Bhalla was asked to record the ad in both English and Hindi. She had no idea about her reach until her friends said that they keep hearing her voice every time they make a call. Two more updates to the 30-second audio clip were recorded by her as the guidelines changed. She believes that even though the health message can be irritating to listen to, these are trying times, and we need to preach and practice the message.
When 263 of our citizens were stranded in Rome, Swati Raval, a pilot with Air India, was tasked with bringing them back. On March 22, 2020, Captain Swati Raval piloted the Boeing 777 along with Captain Raja Chauhan to bring back the Indian diaspora, which mainly comprised students. With this incredible feat, she became the first civilian woman pilot to pilot a rescue aircraft during the coronavirus pandemic.
Congratulations poured in from all quarters, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi heaping praises for her valiant effort. Captain Swati, who hails from Gujarat, has a five-year-old child.
K K Shailaja
Popularly known as Shailaja teacher, she is the current Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Kerala. The 63-year-old minister became popular for her handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Kerala. She has drawn praise from various quarters for the way she prepared the state of Kerala by creating a task force as soon as the first case was registered in Wuhan, China. The BBC news featured her among the list of Asian women coronavirus warriors.
Shailaja was selected as one of the world’s top thinker for COVID-19 in 2020, even topping Jacinda Arden, the popular Prime Minister of New Zealand. The United Nations invited her to participate in a panel discussion on United Nations Public Service Day 2020, for the way she tried to combat COVID-19’s impact. She served as a high school teacher for seven years before she retired in 2004 to become a full-time politician.
Also read: KK Shailaja: Kerala Health Minister’s Fight Against Coronavirus Shows Why Women Leaders Matter in Indian Politics.
(Edited by Kanishk)
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