Hear, O hear the buzz around cities across India as the feet of eager children scuffle, bags are packed, pages are hurriedly filled and clothes are tidied – the ‘Back to School’ season has returned with new hopes after more than 17 months!
The picture on top is of the class I attended last, before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Wearing the well-aged uniform and the preparation for offline classes did certainly provide a sense of purpose, and help tackle the languorous vibes offered by the four walls of my bedroom. Masks, gloves, sanitizers – going to school with all these necessary evils felt both casual and different at the same time; even though we have been wearing masks and gloves for a long time now, some experiences cannot just change, right?
Due to a plethora of reasonable explanations, it was not physically possible for a majority of students (9th , 10th , 11th and 12th graders) to attend school, but it was really exciting meeting my peers and teachers. The live interaction and in-person communication that online classes were significantly devoid of, the classic chalkboard teaching – sitting in the ‘actual’ classroom seemed to be a dream turn true.
It did feel weird yet wholesome meeting my teachers who had been teaching through Zoom for months, and I was constantly worried whether my inactiveness in online classes would be questioned! Unsurprisingly, all my teachers were extremely considerate and welcoming, which just made attending physical school way better. Attending 4-5 hours of physical schooling didn’t seem to be as taxing and mentally tiresome as online classes, and it was a major break from all the gadgets.
Pictures shot during a cultural event in the last academic year
But of course, all students and teachers were expected to wear masks and gloves throughout, and all students were seated in a socially distanced order. It was visibly straining to an extent for both teachers and students to teach and speak (when asked a question) loudly due to the two-layers of thick face masks. It was also difficult for students to stay put in one place with respect to the restrictions and safety measures imposed, as most of them had been acclimatized to the comfy ambiance that our homes offer. Nevertheless, I indubitably had an amazing experience, learning became fun once again, and I got to people multiple friends!
Hopefully, the ‘normal’ classes remain permanently, and we are not forced to go back to the online mode of education. Maybe the term “new normal” became widely used by people in a short span of time to show their acceptance of the situation, but quite frankly, no one is ready to transition to a whole new life from something that they have lived for longer.
Mustafa Topiwala is a high school student who aspires to use his abilities and talents to help others. Reading, writing poetry, sailing, surfing, and blogging are some of his hobbies, and he hopes to study law in the future. He is also an avid speaker and debater and is ready any time to engage in a fun conversation.