Flashback 2020

Struggling to cope with the Lockdown, and worrying about my mother living alone, I forget my kids. It is not easy for them. On March 16, one was going to start grade 12, and the other had the last exam of grade 9. Instead, the Lockdown was announced. Real life was paused.
For a week, they lived in a strange No Man's Land. Coming out of two months of study leave, the older one just wanted to spend physical time with his friends. He resented being kept indoors. The younger one had one exam to go. He wanted to relax, but couldn't.
Then one day, the younger one's WA group name changed from 9 to 10. The school had decided to promote the entire batch. But we still don't know whether to pack away the grade 9 books or not. One exam hasn’t yet been conducted, after all. Assignments for the new grade are sent daily. They have a new class teacher. But I worry about how the syllabus will be covered. They do need quality time with the teachers after all.

The older one has four hours of online classes every day. They see the teacher, and they can DM each other. My kid told me he sent a message to the entire class by mistake. "No profanity, I hope", I said. "No. But you don't mind?" Why should I? I passed messages in class too. We all did.
One day, I walked in and found them chattering away. Apparently the teacher had gone offline, and mayhem had erupted as it would in any normal class. But this is not normal. It cannot even be the new normal. Online classes will only increase the distance between us and them- those who can afford wifi and those who cannot.

But the Uncertainty! When will classes resume? How will the syllabus be covered? Will the Board Exams be conducted next year? What of this year's Board Exams that not all could take? How do adolescents cope with so much uncertainty?
They are already burdened with far more than they should. Their Insta stories are full of 'Fridays for Future' or Anti CAA/ NRC stuff. They are caught in a world that is changing too fast even for them to grasp. The last thing they need is to be in a middle of a pandemic.
And yet, that is where they are. Caught in a time pause at a time when they should be moving at full throttle. As parents, all we can do is to keep the pressure off. Reassure them that no matter what, we will get through it together. And then leave it to the teachers.
So when the world resumes, whenever it does, they will be ready to take on whatever new challenges are thrown at them. And till then, there is PubG! Without that, they may not survive.

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Natasha Ramarathnam

Mother | Education | Youth empowerment | Gender rights | Civic Action | Book slut | At home everywhere | Dances in the rain | Do it anyway | Surprised by Joy