This Indian Life by Shoba Narayan: Reading body language on Zoom
Online interactions may be effective, but minus body language and touch, they are not nimble
It was a 10-year-old friend, Yuv, who taught me about the “raise hand” icon in Zoom. This, as it would turn out, was the beginning of the end of my love affair with virtual meetings. Clicking on that ridiculous ‘raise hand’ icon made me feel like a teacher had rapped me on the finger and said, “Stand up on the bench.”
Now, the entire world is touch-hungry – and this is affecting some people more than others. Are you a hugger? One of those Munnabhai “jadoo ki jhappi” types? Because I am. I actually hug loved ones for 15 seconds or more because that is how long it takes for the oxytocin (good hormones) to flow. How do you do that in this new world? Although most of us spend countless hours online, I think we also have intuited that the virtual world is a poor substitute for the real one. Holding hands, smelling the roses, touching a child’s cheek, hugging a friend, sharing a beer or wine – all these require physical presence.