Sipping hot coffee on a rainy day in the monsoons of 2030, I plan to organize my folders on the computers. Tomorrow is the big day for me as I will retire after 30 years of dedicated service to the teaching profession.
I recreate nostalgic memories in moments. In this emotional journey as a teacher, I read the mails in my inbox, to re-experience these fruitful years. My mailbox had the maximum mails on e-learning, webinar invites, e- certificates, and virtual world. Yes! It was the year 2020, which made many of us tech-savvy. Yes, the year of Covid-19 pandemic, an altogether different year which taught humankind more than desired. Clouds of gloom had gathered on the horizon of our minds. Everything halted and it seemed normalcy would not ever return.
Lockdown, social distancing, curfew, and quarantine was the novel convention. Acceptance of the new norms was the only way out. Normality was a far-fetched dream. Tuning is the basic human trait and we all had learned it fast. Recreation and entertainment styles had changed. Baking, cooking, singing, fitness workout channels were in vogue. Passionate dreamers wanted to grab the platform on social media becoming overnight lockdown celebrities. Despite sickness at heart, this pandemic motivated the unquiet souls to find solace in the innermost self. Exploring hobbies and passions was the new mantra.
An unalike world with strange worries and uncertainties was evolving. Teachers and students were fraught with the virtual classes. Promoting screen time and mobile usage was ironical. Teachers lost the privacy of their lives. Living rooms were the new classrooms which had not only students but parents too attending the classes. Teachers were assessed by the student’s family on the scale of 1 to 5 based on the parameters of convenience. Relentless dedication and uphill struggle kept the teachers going. Students too were perplexed switching from paper pen to online tests. Human touch and connectedness were missing in the New Academic session of 2020. Physical Education, Activity and Library Classes, Assemblies, Lunch breaks, Pranks, and Campus life were lost somewhere. Confined in the four walls, constantly watched by the elders, hindered the emotional quotient. Yet these youngsters adapted to the prevailing times.
Migrant workers in native countries and expatriates in foreign lands slept with the fear of what next! Jobless executives, exploited staff, underpaid laborers, unsettled dues of terminated employees were a global phenomenon. Whereas front liners forfeited their folks to help families in need, the insensitive and carefree indulged in merrymaking at beaches and malls. Nations were tackling at the utmost to stabilize the economies. Fat cats with copious assets were over-the-top life, bourgeois scuffled and pauper pulled through life. The world suffered threats to its existence but life never halted.
Planet Earth was in the process of cleansing. Nature was flourishing with flora and fauna. Seas and Sky were richer. Stuffy air was now fresh yet men couldn’t breathe the cooler air with masks. All this was as if we were dreaming with eyes wide open, a dream come true!
Masks, gloves, and sanitizers were the new accessories. Life moved on at a sluggish pace. Elders, relatives, neighbors, friends met frequently in the conference rooms on social platforms. Relatives and friends shared the joy of special days through the virtual exchange of sweets and cakes. Weddings and mourning became personal affairs. Mankind passed these testing times steadily.
At present, School History books worldwide have units on Pandemic 2020. Though, not distant past, yet it is a history which, young and old have correspondingly encountered. Eventually, we could unfold the uncertainty. Wonderstruck, we catch the bygone times.
No mask, no gloves, no quarantine… Period…. normal again!