Like everyone else, we went into the pandemic not knowing how long it was going to last or was this the end of the world or would we grow old and shriveled behind closed doors wearing our Kanchipuram’s and Ramraj lungis.
When in doubt I always turn to food. We jumped on the banana bread bandwagon along with the whole world. I think the amount of banana we ate through the whole of last year we are definitely radioactive. I dislike coffee, actually hate it, but I have learnt that hate is a very strong word to use. Especially around children so let’s settle with dislike. But Dalgona Coffee became a staple. I don’t know what it’s with food in times of crisis that is what we all reach for. For some of us, it was cell nourishing food for others it was food that was nourishing their soul, but who cares we have all been on either side or in between that spectrum, and also we were in no hurry to fit into our outside attire, now pajamas and athleisure were our most forgiving friends. How can we forget Instagram? Ravenous kids or hangry husbands couldn’t stop us from posting pictures before we began eating. Instagram naivedyam was all the craze, and also what happened to our well-behaved evenly mannered children, overnight they turned into Bhakasuras. I knew we burnt a lot of calories when using our eyes, but these were new levels every “rest your eyes break “ between classes as I am hungry for more food break, their stomachs had turned into this constant instant crusher.
The world had changed, from physical books moved to virtual learning. The first hurdle was the scramble for a device that we needed and calling dibs for the best room in the house where the network was the strongest. So we could connect with the outside world. The Google baba’s and the WhatsApp University become our source of misinformation, everyone had an opinion be it in a family group, an extended family group, a core family group never understood groupism. My nightmare has always been my kids swimming in this digital soup and how their young brains will be fried, caught in this dark World Wide Web and it came true. THANKS, COVID. But kids being kids took to devices and online learning like fish takes to water.
During this period a lot of people embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys. We had our own budding entrepreneurs in our house. Our son started his journey by charging money to teach his younger siblings how to look interested on Zoom while doing other things without the teacher noticing. My daughter who hates to clean after herself thought mopping the floors could help her earn her pocket money, we didn’t mind paying. The best part was that mopping kept her engaged for an hour. That was mission accomplished. But on the flip side, she was so good at doing it we could eat off the floor.
Working parents had their own challenges. I teach yoga, so while taking the class I have to stay unmuted at all times. Other than the washroom, this was my hour of peace. The whole household knows that they have to maintain pin-drop silence, so do the kids. But even staying silent, a storm can be brewing between my children, Ankho hi Ankho me dangerous isharrey. My yoga class is the calm before the storm. It’s time for me to leave the OM zone to get into the WAR zone, I am still getting used to it. So I can’t imagine what it must be for working parents with little kids or special needs. Let’s not forget I have an 11-year-old and a 16-year-old. Audiobooks and podcasts were a mother’s blessing during this time and any mundane task became interesting.
But what I think was missing the most was SCHOOL. What you can learn at school nobody can teach you that, not online not parents. The social interaction with their classmates, disagreements with friends, a place to voice their opinion, their first crushes, and a space to make mistakes away from the prying eyes of their parents. This piece would be incomplete without me acknowledging the support extended by teachers and staff of Ekya who adapted quickly to teaching online and also conducting activities to keep the kids engaged even during their holidays. I really appreciate all the efforts that they took which went beyond the school curriculum.
This year and a half have been hard on all age groups be it kids cooped up at home, parents working from home, stay-at-home mothers ( I salute you ), or grandparents having their children and grandchildren at all times. People who retired last year thinking they could travel the world, young adults finding their foothold in their careers or personal life. I can’t think of 1 person who hasn’t been touched by the changes this pandemic has bought to our lives. But what I am grateful for is that my family and friends are safe and healthy, it’s worth all the challenges the last year and a half has been. I am also hopeful that tomorrow will be great again.
By, Archana Alu Parent of Nakshatra & Hruday Alur