“The school,” she continued grimly, walking about at the front of the class, her hands fixed decidedly in front of her, “is ready for all possible obstacles and us teachers have also been instructed on how to use various online websites to communicate if necessary.” She stopped, nodding to the class. We looked at each other, every face openly displaying a different emotion; some eager, some disappointed, some confused- many confused. I furrowed my eyebrows together and leaned onto my desk, suddenly intrigued. The teacher, knowing that she finally had caught our attention, smiled at herself proudly. “Okay now, open page 208. I suppose we were on Exercise 20E when class got over last week, right?” A loud groan rippled throughout the class. At the front of the room, her smile widened, satisfied.
The lockdown hit me like a strong gust of wind, forcing me to take a couple of steps back. What had just happened? All of a sudden, out of the blue, there was no school, no meeting friends, no playing sports- no nothing. Everything came to a stand-still and there was little we could do about it.
It was a few days into the lockdown when I realised there was a lot good that could come out of this too; and not just on a personal level, but on a global level as well. Pollution levels must be slowly decreasing, nature could finally get some time to breathe and there was still so much we could do at home! Starting that day, the lockdown, through my family's craftful eyes, was no more compared to prison, but rather just a rainbow that we discovered hiding behind the ballistic clouds and thundering rain, waiting to be noticed.
So, from then onwards, we would find something to amuse us every day and many times, it was baking. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have learned how to make myriad desserts- more than that that I could learn in a year due to my schedule! Furthermore, every night, the family comes together not just for dinner, but to spend some ‘quality time’ that hundreds of other families just like ours often get stolen from. Whether it was a simple game of UNO or a more competitive one like Battleship, everyone tried to make it. If not a board game, we would all gather together for a late night in the TV room, our grins as wide as our faces.
It wasn't only this, however, that kept our time passing, but the online school also played a big role here. For all five days of the week, since the very start of the lockdown, we would wait desperately to see our classmates, our tongues hungry for a small piece of life as we thought to stay placid on the plate.
However, this also willingly welcomed homework, with big warm hugs. It also meant that things would be very different during this period of time seeing that there was no employment and worries clouded the gloomy minds of people with an unpredictable future. Money had to be saved, food had to be valued and every tiny little glimpse of sunshine from out the window had to be cherished the way it was.
I do believe that we must have an optimistic view of the future at this point. Nonetheless, some intimidating facts have marched into view. The stress level for numerous people has reached its apex, leading to unhealthy thoughts, to gloomy, pessimistic views that can arouse alarming ideas in people's minds and can cause disturbing results. Instead, this has come to such an extent that the government has called for over-the-phone counselling centers so that people do not make any rash decisions too soon.
There is a lot one could learn from these few restrained months and many more to go and each individual could learn something different from the other. Finally, we have learned that there are always two sides to the same problem- it doesn't have to be a dilemma- it can be more of a choice. The world must learn to work together, to trust, to cooperate, to respect- but most importantly, to empathise and I feel, thanks to this virus, gradually this virtue is coming into play. The world is gently but progressively learning to choose the nicer path, the choice that doesn't surround ‘me’ but instead surrounds ‘us’.
By Dia Makhecha, representing The Weekly Focus