The Last Man – Film Trailer

This Trailer contains disturbing and possible trigger imagery. 18.

Trailer for a new film by Shatterproof Productions.


The Blame Game – Film Trailer

This Trailer contains disturbing and possible trigger imagery. 18.

Trailer for a new film by Shatterproof Productions.


Quilt Exhibition by BIG, Bharat Integration Group

Lockdown life, work and pandemic parenting by Nilanjana Tewari PhD, FRCS

Lockdown life, work and pandemic parenting 

Nilanjana Tewari PhD, FRCS 

Consultant Surgeon

My life usually keeps me incredibly busy, constantly striving, at home and at work, to keep afloat. I try to be systematic and organised in my approach to life but it is not always successful. Two young children, a husband who often works in a different city or different country, a demanding job, an ambitious nature and a desire to please mean that my head is usually full of thousands of tasks and plans. I schedule our day to day lives in a great deal of detail and usually several weeks in advance. It is a trait which my husband struggles with as he prefers an element of spontaneity.

When we started to receive information about the scale and seriousness of the impending Covid-19 pandemic, my first feelings, in common with many people around the world, were of panic. I couldn’t imagine even a short period of time when my children could not attend childcare, schools would close, people would stop going in to work and healthcare workers would be asked to deal with a global emergency situation the likes of which we had never encountered or been trained for. The suggestion of pressing the pause button on the remote control of life was unthinkable.

As the year progressed and more Covid-19 cases were reported from China, then Europe and the first cases were diagnosed in the UK, the impending pandemic became a realistic threat. Conversations at my primary age child’s school remained light-hearted and parents were stoically unconvinced that the established school system would succumb to this invisible virus. At work, in a healthcare setting, meetings were called to discuss involving as yet unqualified medical students in delivering a service when the pressures outstripped current staffing levels. Yet, despite the constant discussions on global news, social media and among social and professional contacts, I steadfastly maintained that all the concerns would end in anti-climax.

Suddenly, one Thursday, I collected my daughter from school and our Prime Minister confirmed that schools would be closing from the following Monday. Our school communicated with us that all belongings could be collected the following day in anticipation of a full school closure. There were 10 remaining days of term before the Easter break and I had believed that even if schools ever closed, they would stay open until the holiday. This enormous step for the children, parents, government and country highlighted to me, finally, that the Covid-19 pandemic was going to vastly change our lives.

As we prepared for the following day, the last day of school, still somewhat dazed, I explored childcare options. I had conversations with my widowed mother about how she was going to manage living alone. We learned that my in-laws had received a letter from the government advising that, as they were at significant risk from the virus, they should remain at home and would receive regular support packages. My husband had confirmation that he could work from home as long as he needed to support childcare. When I collected my younger daughter from nursery, her carers sorrowfully confirmed that they, too, had been advised to close the premises except for children of keyworkers. Emergency meetings at work followed to rearrange schedules in anticipation of staff sickness, need for self-isolation, increased emergency demands and the loss of capacity of elective activity. We began to familiarise ourselves with terms such as ‘shielding’, ‘furlough’, ‘redeployment’ and ‘social distancing’.

Groups of parents from school and nursery set up virtual social groups so that the children could keep in touch with each other while they were at home. These became a welcome insight into activities of other families, but also a forum for competition on who was providing the most successful home schooling experience. My husband bore the heaviest burden of childcare and provided a variety of educational experiences for the children, ranging from cooking together to growing root vegetables and herbs, exploring the local nature reserves to practising goalkeeping skills in the back garden. After a few weeks of attempting to do this while dialling in to virtual meetings and regularly being interrupted by inquisitive children, he was furloughed.

In the healthcare sector, work life was unrecognisable. I was in the fortunate position of recently being appointed to a senior clinical position but the hierarchy was flattened to manage the demands of the pandemic. Our junior team were asked to move to medical wards to assist with the deluge of patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with Covid-19. Our specialist nurses were required on the intensive care unit to care for those who were the most seriously affected by the virus. Although people were afraid to present to their doctors, the most seriously ill had little option and we continued to manage those with emergency and life-threatening conditions. This required the constant presence in hospital of the most senior clinicians, through the day and all through the night. I had hoped that this work pattern would be left behind once my training days were complete and at my later age, with years of child-related sleep deprivation, the tolls on my body and mind were considerable.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a revelation in aspects of my family and professional life. In between long and demanding shifts, it was mandated that I spend 72 hours off work to reduce my potential exposure to the virus. My husband and children were also at home and incredibly excited to have me around and free for days at a time. We took family bike rides and my older daughter impressed me with her hitherto undiscovered stamina while the younger one fell asleep blissfully relaxed in her seat on the back of her dad’s bike. We cooked and ate together and the addition of homegrown herbs facilitated my previously slightly fussy daughter’s experimentation with more exotic foods. The warm weather allowed us to spend days being splashed by hyperactive children jumping in and out of the paddling pool, setting up dens in the tent pitched on the back lawn, creating colourful art on long rolls of paper stretched across the patio and taking long walks during our allocated exercise time punctuated by stops for iced treats.

At work, our new work pattern paired me up with colleagues who I rarely encounter and some who I distance myself from intentionally. I learned more about their lives outside work and most of what I learned allowed me to view them more favourably. Some individuals embraced the increased challenges and demonstrated admirable leadership while others showed themselves to be troublemakers rather than problem solvers. We learned to ‘don’ and ‘doff’ and re-educated ourselves on offering comfort to our patients through the barriers of face masks, gloves and gowns. We learned of the valiant efforts of individuals and teams, of innovations, laudable achievements and tragic losses. In the words of Winston Churchill, we had “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”.

As I write, we are approaching the third phase of this global pandemic. We have endured a full lockdown, school and nursery closures, we have been restricted to virtual interactions with even the closest family and friends. We have accepted that this summer our most glamorous adventure will involve a staycation in the West Midlands and we are hopefully anticipating that our children will be able to return to a recognisable school day in a few weeks’ time. I have revelled in the opportunity to educate and be educated by my children while acknowledging the supreme skills of their teachers and carers. I will keep the image of the wind-blown grins on their faces while cycling at full speed and remember that it helped me through nights away from them trying to sleep in a stuffy on-call room. The first visit to my mother’s garden when we phoned her and told her to look out of the window then huddled in her garage when it rained has created a memory, and a video, which sustains us through the long weeks of separation. Lunch with their nana and granddad, uncles and cousins in the garden was the highlight of my children’s school summer holiday.

Pandemic life and post-pandemic life bears little resemblance to what came before. We have gone through several versions of a new schedule of work and no longer know what ‘normal’ is. Although both children have returned to nursery and school briefly before the summer, ‘bubbles’ and ‘social distancing’ have affected their experience in ways we have yet to fully understand. The sense of fear with which this global event has blemished the world is not yet expunged. However, I have learned about who and what the priorities are in my world. To finish with another quote from Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts”. 

Simple Steps to make a Doll from a Sock by Rubi Haq

Asian Yorkshire Puds by Mariam Shah
Diversity Creative Bags Instruction Sheets

These are the instruction sheets that were included in Diversity Creation Bags around the borough.

Right click an image to save it to your computer.

A lockdown Story by Maya

Some excellent drawings.

Maya Tewari Bull age 6 years

Aniya Tewari Bull age 3 and a half years

Covid Poems

Two Covid-19 Tanka by Debjani Chatterjee

Coronavirus Tanka 

As eclipse-demon 

Rahu-Ketu Earth disgorged,


Swallowed our cowering world.

Survivors are transmuted.


In Hindu mythology, Rahu and Ketu were two halves of a demon who causes eclipses.

A Shut and Open Case

When the pandemic 

locked all doors and quarantined

whole populations,

neighbour reached out to neighbour,

Love, or fear, freed friendship’s gate.


A Covid Poem by Brian D’Arcy © 
















Contact details for both Debjani & Brian:

Guitar by Nita Basu Choudhuri
Yoga Demonstration – by Sharada Rao: Sunsalutation

Yoga Demonstration – by Sharada Rao: Sunsalutation

Bollywood Dance Classes coming soon.