NEW DELHI: Time seems to be standing still as the world is battling with Covid-19. The nationwide lockdown was announced in India on March 24 2020, and with it, “stay home, stay safe” became the new normal for those who could afford to abide by it.

I have been living in the same neighborhood of Mehrauli in Delhi for the past 13 years. The joy of spending time on the roof had been forgotten even though it was once a ritual for my kids to go to the roof, just to gaze at the sky and fly kites. Since the lockdown was announced, the roof became an integral part of my time at home.

People flying kites as the sun sets for the day in lockdown.

A brother and sister during sunset on their tiny little rooftop surrounded by multi story apartments.

Two young boys get down in a hurry from the rooftop while playing hide and seek.

A girl rides her cycle on the roof.

Young boys on the roof during sunset.

In the beginning, coming up to the roof was just an escape from the four walls of ‘home’. While news of the lockdown was creating panic all over the world, my gaze followed a different direction. I noticed that coming up to the roof was not just an escape for people; it eventually became their routine.

Staying in a city where people are often strangers, I wondered when and how life got so busy? Standing on my roof I noticed myriad different lives. Some were scared while some were playful, some were sad but some grateful. I witnessed different kinds of people. People under different roofs but all united with hope.

A mother and son on the balcony. Mom looks at the phone while her son peers down at the street.

A family sitting outside, watching kids play.

A child laughs at a sight ahead.

Two young boys enjoying their evening flying kites.

Coming to the roof for 40 days gave me an insight to observe the surroundings and see the new yet unfamiliar pattern in the ordinary life of my neighbors. Every shot I have taken during this time is a gentle reminder that with this coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the globe, everything we do and everything we see has changed, even if only for now.

Rooftops gave me a limited yet important perspective, enabling me to sneak into the lives of people who are quarantined. For these few hours in the evening, the pursuit of creating pictures gave me the inspiration to involve myself in the situation in my own way and do my part in this very own battle that humankind is facing with the virus.

Residents of the building come up together on the roof and play and chat.

A lady comes out onto the balcony.

Families out on their balconies/roof, observing the world.

An evening jog on the roof.

A man on his phone, while a pigeon sits by, undisturbed.

The author is a Delhi-based photographer.