Ajit (AJ) RekhyImage courtesy of Rekhy
In spring of this year, the coronavirus pandemic hit communities the world over. People were forced to stay in their homes to help prevent the spread of the virus. But while in-person communication was restricted, individuals found ways to connect virtually, and this shift created some meaningful online communities, including Facebook groups called “View from my window.” In these groups, members share unedited photos of a view from their home window. In founder AJ Rekhy’s group, members can share photos taken from any window, including from a car, train, or bus. The idea is to share your visual world with others in order to connect across space and time.
A member's view from Cortina D’Ampezzo, ItalyPhoto courtesy of AJ Rekhy
While some groups started in the wake of the pandemic, AJ Rehky started hers as a page back in 2018. She had recently moved with her husband and children from Toronto, Ontario, to a small down called Sarnia, with a population of 70,000. She had her husband had moved for his job, and she went from working full time in a bank to working from home as a stock trader. After a few days, she started to feel alone, and she wanted to put her photography hobby to use. “My idea was the same in 2018 as well [as with the pandemic] for staying connected while staying apart, with sharing pictures while staying home. And when you don’t have to go purposefully out of the house, the house and surroundings are your whole world.” The page had about 150 followers, and then the pandemic hit.
A member's view from Aubrey, TexasPhoto courtesy of AJ Rekhy
In March 2020, Rekhy decided to create a Facebook group as an offshoot to her Facebook page. “Most people’s freedom of movement has dramatically been limited, which ends at their backyard or front yard. I realized that most of the people are feeling the same as I was feeling back in 2018 when I decided to work from home. At that time in 2018, it was my decision, purposefully to stay home. But this year, the pandemic forced the whole world to stay home. Everybody’s views were limited. We cannot go outside, but we can share our views and feelings.” Rekhy says she currently has members from about 135 countries. The group “started with 50, and then the next day double, and then triple, and every day I’m getting like a thousand requests.”
Member's view from car window, Bedfordshire UKImage courtesy of AJ Rekhy
Since members can post photos taken from any window, her viewers get an intimate look at how the pandemic affects families. “Kids have gone to meet their parents in the hospital, and then they were just waving from outside, and even they cannot just touch them, and [they were] just touching the windows. That was so emotional to see that. There were a couple of people who posted their parents’ celebrating their birthdays, and how they are just driving around. Their grandkids are saying hi or giving their wishes from outside the window.”
Ajit (AJ) RekhyPhoto courtesy of AJ Rekhy
AJ’s own view from her computer is out the kitchen window into the backyard. She has a lot of flowers there, and when her kids play, it makes the space even more beautiful, she says. “It’s a dream come true for me living here.” Having achieved that dream, Rekhy considers herself her biggest hero. In 2003, she moved from India to Toronto. She earned her master’s in finance and worked for a bank for 13 years before transitioning to stock trading. “The past 15 years I have gone through so much, and I am very happy about myself that I have done everything so successfully.”
Page created on 6/16/2020 7:25:29 PM
Last edited 4/27/2021 10:29:18 PM