Mumbai: The Janta-Curfew, on March 22 was the first step to the seemingly endless journey of "The Country Lock -Down". The school had just re-opened a few days back after the Spring-Break and suddenly we encountered worst crises of a century that led to a complete halt in daily activities including going to school.
Initially, we all were very happy to have an extended period of holidays, but gradually the Bleak scenario started unfolding as the news of spreading disease started coming with an increasing number of victims.
The Educational Institutes, malls, the offices, the gyms, the outdoor games, the parks, the morning and evening walks, all came to a halt. We were all confined within the four -walls, with indoor games, T.V. watching, listening to music, dancing etc. It was quite exciting for a few initial days but soon we started feeling bored, and then started our on-line school.
The online school was a new concept in my life. It took me little time to get tuned to it but I really loved it eventually. I didn't have to get up early, take bath, get properly dressed, have breakfast and travel to school.
I could take things easy in the morning. I realized very soon that I was concentrating more in the class and I didn't have to hide my distractions in the guise of being attentive. It gave me a lot of space as mostly the lessons were recorded so I could visit the class even later if required.
Another, very interesting experience that I had was that I felt close to the teachers. The freedom of working at my own pace gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to be more participative in projects. There were ample opportunities for correcting, re-arranging and representing the tasks with the guidance of teachers.
Working and presenting the PBL (project-based learning) was a very unique experience for me. I enjoyed every moment of it. The whole process gave me a chance to learn newer things as working on computers for starters. Doing research using multiple channels as the internet, books, the discussion gave me a totally new perspective.
The lockdown initially frustrated us also as we could not go out, meet friends or eat out but somewhere we realized that we were missing the real contact and bond with the family when the lockdown was not there. The lockdown has definitely brought us more together in the family. Sometimes we click funny moments, share work moments and lock them in the memory treasure.
Lockdown has caused a few scarcities also which has educated us positively to manage the affairs with shortages in life. With domestic help being minimal, we have become more independent in doing our daily household jobs. I have been entrusted with the task to make evening snacks and I'm enjoying being the little chef of the house, by all means.
One major positive change which has taken place during the lockdown is that the air quality has improved beyond imagination with no/ minimum possible toxic-traffic-pollution being there. The rivers have become clean and all the pollution has disappeared as there is no bathing in the rivers, washing of clothes in the rivers, industrial and other wastes flowing into the rivers etc. Birds from foreign countries have again started to be seen in India. I just recently spotted a Flamingo in my own garden.
All said and done the lockdown has severely and adversely affected our G.D.P, and the economy at large as the industries, manufacturing units, and related marketing and financial activities have also closed down. It has costed our nation very heavily in terms of human lives, resources and damaged the social fabric to quite an extent.
The heart-rending pictures of migrant labours who lost their livelihood, walking barefoot with bleeding sores to their hometown/villages, falling and dying of hunger and thirst can never be erased from our minds no matter how high we reach someday.
I am confident that there will come a day when we will stand high with victory over the deadly pandemic COVID-19. We will be the centre of global economic, industrial opportunities after this pandemic is over as suggested by some very renowned economists but the unanswered questions in the empty eyes of scared, homeless, disappointed, disgusted and shattered artisans of all modern, smart and developed cities will keep haunting our minds and souls for centuries to come.
With this, I wish we are out of the woods soon and start re-living our older lives, that we took so much for granted.
The views expressed in this Opinion piece are those of Yash Raaj Puri, a student of BD Somani International School, Mumbai.