One fine day, we woke up and found our city, country, whole wide world and everything else come to a standstill. Something absolutely unexpected, not even in the worst of our dreams, had happened. Then, suddenly, all the related challenges began hitting us.
There came in the role of a teacher. I have been a person who is not so tech-savvy and struggles to overcome her anxiety about going online. In fact, just as me, there were many teachers, mostly at the verge of retirement, who were trying their best to connect with their students. We were aware that life shouldn’t stop because of the lockdown and that the show must go on.
Last year, when the lockdown was announced nationwide, I felt very excited at the thought of not going to school anymore and getting a break from studies. I had thought that this would go on for a couple of days and once the situation becomes better, everything would be back to normal. But then, the days turned into months, and I never expected it to go on for a whole year!
Attend classes, study, eat, sleep, then rinse and repeat. Sounds peaceful, doesn’t it? It sure did to me, at least in the first few weeks of lockdown. Though now, instead of the noisy interruptions by many loud students, my classes are punctuated by silence.
We all like pandas, don’t we? Those cute furry little creatures with big shiny eyes who do nothing all day but roll on the grass and munch on bamboos!
But unfortunately, pandas live mainly in temperate forests, high in the mountains of southwest China, or in the zoos in which your parents will never take you because they’re six hours away from your house. I mean, why go to the zoo when you can solve 15 math problems from RD Sharma in those six hours and actually be ‘productive’ in that time!?
I blinked in confusion, “Psychics, yet again!” As I kept jotting down notes in my copy, I started another episode of daydreams in my mind. My friend messaged me in between asking, "Hey, which page is Ma'am teaching?" I frowned.
"Maybe 39 or 40," I replied.
I missed my friend because, in school, we never talked about which chapter we were being taught or what books we should bring...
I was excited to go to school as our new session was going to start soon. But, but, but… just two weeks before it was about to reopen, we were banned from going outside.
LOCKDOWN—Yes! This is the word which has a lot of power. Are you thinking that I am praising it? No, never. This innocent word locked us inside our homes for months and months and drove, we the students, online with no end in sight.
Attending a government school in a remote village, all my students required greater attention. They have a rural background and pursue farming apart from studies. In the beginning, I contacted three of my 8th-class students through video calls on WhatsApp. Pawan, Adarsh and Bhavesh almost broke down over the call when they saw me live after months. Then, I made several WhatsApp groups like ‘Science 6th’, ‘Science 10th’, etc. and contacted them daily.
When a free bird is trapped in a cage, it writhes in pain and pines. My uncle had a parrot who used to roam around the house even though it had a cage to live in. That parrot is the representation of our lives before the pandemic. We used to live in our houses just the same but we had freedom too. However, during these two years, it feels as if our gates are shut with a huge lock called‘Covid-19’.