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Lockdown blues? Amazing things you can do online

By Veer Arjun Singh
April 14, 2020 12:36 IST
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Veer Arjun Singh brings you a roundup of the interesting things you can do online in the lockdown age.

A Student looking to the BYJUS website. Photograph: Mahipal Soni / Rediff.com

IMAGE: A student tries out the BYJU's website. Photograph: Mahipal Soni/Rediff.com

It's just you and the internet.

There's the mindless Ludo, the endless scrolling down to see what people are up to on Instagram and those foolhardy attempts at inventing a new dish in the kitchen or cooking up a million-dollar idea in your head.

Before triviality has a tenacious grip on your mind, freebies are here to save you from a looming existential crisis. Not the freebies that brands use to lure people into spending more money later, but the carefully filtered kind that should have you jamming through the blues and maybe even earn you a certificate from a prestigious university.

Here's a roundup of all you can do from the comfort of your couch while sipping on a dalgona coffee (Don't know how make it? Check out the recipe here) in your pajamas.

 

Jam away

If you have a dusty old guitar lying around somewhere, join me and some 10,000 users who have signed up for Fender's brilliant repository of online guitar lessons made free for the next three months.

You can choose your instrument (acoustic, electric, bass, ukulele) and go through the entire course manual.

It's like having a trusty professional by your side.

The more advanced folks can jump right into their preferred genre, pick an artist and learn how to play a few more songs with video tutorials.

From Damn Right I Got The Blues by Buddy Guy to Ace Of Spades by Motörhead, I am euphoric with this discovery.

Want more?

Gibson is offering lessons on the augmented reality guitar learning app, Amped Guitar, whose premium membership is free for the next three months.

While an ESP guitar is what I am trapped with, if you happen to be in the company of a fine set of ivories or even an old-school keyboard, check out the piano lessons on Skoove that gives you real-time feedback on your progress powered by an AI engine.

For the composer in you, Apple's premium DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Logic Pro X (Mac) and the Ableton Live 10 Suite (Mac and PC) are free for a 90-day trial period, which includes access to a huge collection of virtual instruments, effects and loops, providing a complete toolkit to help you create amazing music.

Skill up

MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, platforms are like home schools for adults.

Coursera has seen a 505 per cent year-on-year jump in registrations.

Among the thousands of courses available, 85 of its top certifications from universities such as Penn, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, Caltech, Duke and Imperial College London, and from companies such as Google and Amazon are now free till the end of May 2020.

You don't even have to pay to get the proof of certification.

Closer home, Byju's -- one of India's leading online education services -- is giving free live classes to students till the lockdown is over.

More than six million new users started digging through the content just in the month of March.

Unacademy has started a 'gamified' UPSC CSE championship, offering five free mock tests for UPSC aspirants. The top 20 rankers within the programme will be given a free annual subscription that gives them access to all the features and courses.

And while the world contemplates on the ethics of it, don't forget to check out the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library, which is giving free access to its massive repository of 1.4 million ebooks and audiobooks until June 30, along with a 14-day borrowing pass.

I have picked André Aciman's novel, Call Me By Your Name, to begin with, which also made for a really good film. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom's cinematography here deserves a special mention.

For people who have an eye for visual detail, Fujifilm is running photography workshops with celebrity photographers, such as Shantanu Sheorey and Dabboo Ratnani, on every alternate day till April 28 on its Instagram handle.

Isolate those muscles

Online physical trainers are a dime a dozen but the hard workouts should be backed with some credible advice.

Bengaluru-based health care start-up cure.fit has roped in some extra firepower in the form of free sessions with celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, Olympian Mary Kom and actors Sonam Bajwa and Mandira Bedi for anyone who downloads the app.

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth's Centr is free to use for all, albeit for a six-week period.

If you own a Fitbit device, the useful free trial to its premium service has been extended from 30 to 90 days.

It helps me keep a tab on my runs, make use of video coaching and learn from insights into my sleep stages and patterns.

I am tracking my meals to estimate my macronutrient and micronutrient intake on the HealthifyMe app, which has also launched a tool kit for a free immunity assessment test and tracks frequency of your hand washes, among other things.

Social isolation can also cause anxiety and stress to peak.

You can trust politician Omar Abdullah, who is fresh out of a more serious kind of quarantine, to recommend the right kind of wellness apps.

His pick is Calm and Headspace. Both apps offer a select range of guided meditations, sleep stories and mindfulness exercises for free.

Get help

It's true that in a war-like situation such as this, doctors might not be always available to inspect every case of sore throat in person. But that doesn't mean that you should not seek help when you need to.

Apollo's free self-assessment online test can help allay some fears about the Covid-19 contagion.

Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy-backed Acko General Insurance, too, has an AI-based risk-assessment test on its website, which can be followed up with a free virtual consultation with a doctor.

DocsApp has a free 24/7 helpline for senior citizens (080-47193443) for complaints across all departments. And the American company vHealth by Aetna is giving free virtual consultation for everyone till April 15.

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Veer Arjun Singh
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