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Monday, April 12, 2021

As the lockdown took over our lives, what do children have to say

They may have learnt to chop and sew but school lunches and kabaddi matches were sorely missed

Written by Paromita Chakrabarti | New Delhi |
March 21, 2021 6:15:44 am
Four children talk about how they survived the lockdown. (Photo: Getty)

‘We had to stay indoors because it was very dangerous’
Radhika Tanwar, 5, Bengaluru

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‘I missed my kabaddi matches in the park’

I missed going to school the most last year. I missed my teacher because I love her and she loves me but I wasn’t able to meet her. I didn’t like staying at home as I could not meet her or my friends even if I wanted to, because of the corona (virus). I didn’t like anything about staying at home. I just liked to play, I liked staying with Mamma and Papa, but I don’t like doing anything inside the house when I am not going to school.
Online classes were fine because there was a new teacher and a new school and I was excited, but I couldn’t go to my new school. We were also supposed to go swimming, learn ballet and some football and hockey, but I couldn’t do anything. During the lockdown, we could still meet Naani and Daadi, but I wished I could see Eva, my friend, with whom I always played in school after we ate, even Riddhi and Ahmed. I missed all my friends.
Corona is a virus that comes from bats but these bats don’t drink blood. They spread the disease everywhere to make people not go outside. They can make people sick. Bats usually don’t make people sick but these ones are more dangerous. We had to stay indoors because it was very dangerous — you could get fever, or chicken pox or something else like cough, cold, sneezes.
I didn’t like getting more screen time instead of going out. Going to school makes everything fun. Because then Saturdays and Sundays are holidays and that’s nice. But without school on workdays, it’s not fun at all. ‘I missed my kabaddi matches in the park’

Agnibh Phukan, 7
New Delhi
I think the lockdown was partially good, partially bad. I long for this (the pandemic) to get over soon so I can finally go to my class and play in the tunnel in the playground. I missed going to school but this virus spreads from one person to another faster than other viruses, so one can fall very sick. That’s why I couldn’t go out to play often and had to wear a mask and a face shield outdoors.
I missed Jilmil Ba, my cousin in Duliajan (in Assam), missed our annual visit to Goa, missed going to Guwahati and Dibrugarh. I missed my kabaddi matches in the park during taekwondo classes. But home was nice, too. I liked (that I could) read a lot, sleep under blankets comfortably in winter and play cricket almost every day. I enjoyed online school because there were more activities than normal times but I am not so sure about more screen time. I half enjoyed it, half didn’t. When the lockdown ended, I went to go to my friend’s place and we played cricket together.
‘Online parties are fun but not like real birthday parties’

Prithviraj Boruah, 10, Guwahati

‘I saw my friends’ profile pictures for the entire year’

I have to say the lockdown was amazing for me. I learned how to chop vegetables like carrots and beans and make scrambled eggs; I learned to sew. I helped my parents a lot during the time by doing chores like dusting. I don’t like reading books much but I watched (BR Chopra’s) Mahabharat on TV. I had never seen it before and I liked it very much. I also spoke to my (maternal) grandmother often on the phone. She lives in a different house, so I could not meet her during the lockdown.
The only things I missed a lot were meeting my friends and playing outside. We had online school on Google Meet and the teacher would give us assignments for which we had to form WhatsApp groups. I really enjoyed that. We would often speak on the phone. We even gave our exams online. Our teacher would show us the question paper on screen and we would write the answers and send them back online. It was a little strange but then it became okay.
Before the lockdown, there was never a single day that I did not play outside for at least two hours. When I had to stay at home all those days, I would feel sad, especially during play time. I even had to celebrate my birthday, on July 5, online. No one could come to my house except my aunt. So, I had a WhatsApp party with my friends. Online parties are fun but not like real birthday parties. But this virus is very bad, so we had to be careful.
Do you know the other thing that I enjoyed during this time? I play the guitar, so I made a lot of videos in which I am playing songs on the guitar. I sent it to everyone. I learned to play five new songs and wanted to start a YouTube channel but my mother said I can only do that when I grow up and play in a proper band. But everybody says I play like a professional.
Now that the lockdown is over, everything feels better. I wish I could go to school, too, but it is not open yet. Maybe, if everyone gets the vaccine soon, we can go back. ‘I saw my friends’ profile pictures for the entire year’

Mohor Sengupta, 12, Kolkata

Staying at home has many disadvantages.

Lockdown has changed the lives of many people, including me. After the initial days, I realised that I had changed — I had become lazier. After the lockdown was partially lifted, whenever people proposed to take me outside, I would ignore them as I kept on thinking about the fact that after returning home, I would have to sanitise myself 10 times, take a bath and only then be able to sit on the sofa or the bed.
As for school, after some time, I just gave up. The lockdown kept on extending and I understood that going to school was becoming an impossible feat. I do miss the small things of “real” school life, like the fun we used to have on Teacher’s Day and Children’s Day, our lunch breaks and the last day of exams. For me, online learning was a different experience. I learned about the many platforms and saw my friends’ profile pictures for the entire year!
Staying at home has many disadvantages. For me, the biggest disadvantage was that after a point of time, I did not have a single book left to be read. I just re-read the same old books. I know that we can buy books from online stores as well, but the thing is, you just don’t seem to get the same satisfaction from it. At the store, the way you can flip through the pages of a book, turn it over and read the blurb, get the feel of a new book by holding it in your hands before purchasing it, makes for a totally different kind of feeling.
Moreover, we have to keep the parcel outside for 24 hours, sanitise it and only then can we open the box. I have got used to the process now. Whenever some kind of packet arrives, I don’t get too excited about opening it because I know that I will get it after a day. Even after taking so many precautions, no one is sure whether it is free from contamination.
Personally, I never watch news channels much or read any updates about the virus. I do not feel depressed, though, at times, I do get irritated looking at the same home-cooked food and the same rooms every day. Perhaps, I want to break free.

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