By mid-February 2020, dragging him out of our home, my father went to stand in long queues in front of XYZ ltd., a spoken-English centre in our locality. He was dead keen to make that poor boy’s tongue flexible to the relatively unknown phrases in English. The boy, my brother, was just about to have his debut, his first step from the world of dreams and magic to the world of reason and cold logic, stepping out from the beautiful world of innocents to the cunning world of hypocrites; like you, like me, like everyone.
How could his little brain forsee his near future: after barely two months, he’ll be well-familiar with the reasoning ability problems related to “clock and time”, that I do in my Quantitative Ability papers, as he’ll be spending long hours, glancing at a clock in faint hope and ultimate melancholy, in an A/C room, anxiously waiting to escape from the taxing English ‘training’: training in the literal sense, like animals being forced into the loop of fire in a circus ring.
By the beginning of March, the novel SARS CoV-2, lovingly labelled as “Covid 19” shook the foundations of the world- to which even the so-called developed world couldn’t stand a chance. On one hand, it drowned the whole world into an air of desolation: witnessing uncontrollable death rates and armed burial grounds; but on the other hand, it incarnated as a saviour of the children: who brought them blissful memories of an unforgettable holiday season, giving a different, unfamiliar interpretation of the term ‘vacation’; that they might never experience in their entire life again. ‘Vacation’, in an actual sense, free from long, despondent, boring hours of ABCD classes and drawing lessons, granting our children their ‘lost spring’: swinging to and fro from the branches of the old mango tree and making cakes out of the mud- interacting with the forgotten spirit of mother nature. As it’s said, vacation per se is blissful.
For the first time, I saw him with my cousins, all below the age of 10, experiencing the beau ideal of mother nature. Thanks to the pandemic that our children, who would’ve been stuffed into the A/C halls with keyboards, drumsticks, brushes or books of different colours open with a costly pen in their hands; are now free, experiencing the joy of carte blanche, lashing out in the open air amidst the half-acre compound of our village home, playing under the blissful shade of the old forgotten mango tree: that witnessed my childhood as well as my mother’s and maybe, my grandma’s too. Their hands, which got numb holding computer mouses and pens of all standards, are now enjoying the pulpy juice of the golden mangoes tracing its path through their arms while stuffing it into their mouths.
Edit: However, thanks to the growing technology that after some time, some sort of digital revolution took place that witnessed mass digitization of education from the lowest rungs where nearly everyone is now attending classes, one or the other, via their phones, tabs or laptops.