Shabnam Kelvin – English

Masks now control our lives to stay healthy. Until now they are the best protection to stay safe from the invisible beast Covid 19. Since the time this disease hit our planet people were reluctant to use them as it sometimes gives a feeling of suffocation to some. However, gradually people have shown acceptance to the inevitable change and started wearing them giving in to stay safe. Now they are available in matching shades and materials to attract customers not only to highlight the crucial impact of the disease if we don’t wear them but also to make money.

Physically we cover our breathing passages to fight the disease from entering our bodies but figuratively we have started building fortresses around us in everything we do.

Are they actually fortresses to stay healthy and alive, or we are actually detaching ourselves in many ways.  Life on the globe is in a changing process. Virtual environment is immediately replacing physical settings which turned lifestyles to 360-degree angle. The question remains, when and how this all will end and whether we will ever be able to go back to normal life or not. The biggest concern at the moment is what will happen to our children. The Pandemic has affected them in more ways than we have observed. The fear of socializing safely resulted in the use of masks globally. Masks now are a part of our luggage and attire until we are back to normal life. If ever we do.

Normal life and our future

Play and friends are the entire focus of a child’s world. They love to share, touch, and hug each other. Imagine a school corridor full of chatters from all age groups during recess time. Pushing and pulling each other to release energy stored during study time, snatching each other’s lunch and enjoying it without any fear of getting sick. Fighting and wrestling anywhere without bothering to look at messed up clothes and surroundings.  There has never been anything more important for a child to play with friends. Looking from a child’s eyes recess time is the most precious time to share not only their very important matters with their peers but also to have fun time besides routine school hours. It is now banned. Envision life two years back when everything was ‘normal.’ It was cool doing things with friends. At school, projects were given to enhance group learning, and classroom activities were designed to boost shared activities. Students were motivated to share resources and they loved working with teammates to create the best of their products. Sports events, the annual school fair and other activities allowed students to showcase their other hidden talents like acting and singing for the audience.  The end product for all this may not be a winner for every child but the glowing excited faces full of energy and laughter for being a part of doing things together.

Being together is no more and many feel it may never come back!

No more parks, no gatherings, and no schools most of the time, no sports, and no recess…  Where is fun from a child’s point of view?  Globally people are concerned about what will happen to our future. Children are affected more psychologically than physically. As parents and teachers, we need to closely look at what are we teaching them now. Isn’t it scary to think about toddlers who will see life from a different angle now and grow up adopting the new norms for us as normal for them?

What will happen if the vaccine fails and this fatal beast becomes stronger? As teachers and humans, we fear this, and globally, measures are taken to keep it at bay. One way to do this is to work and study from home. Okay, so learning will not stop and we have a new option to carry on with activities. What about mingling? Will there be options? We are not using masks just to cover inhaling passages we are masking away all social processes. Wearing masks is not the only barrier we need to put for survival, we have to mask around many other areas for our children if we want them to live and grow into healthy successful humans. When we compare life to the past we now see an entirely different future not only in terms of life processes but also clothing and gadgets they will be required to use to be safe. With time there will be more options to be safe and more to carry around.

The New Norm

Reversing the values as lifesavers?

Aristotle said ‘Man is a social animal.’  It meant humans need company, they can’t live in isolation. Who had imagined life behaviors will reverse to make people live. In the past sharing was considered an important value taught to children. Covid 19 changed it. Positive became the most negative word. We have become selfish. Yes, because whatever the reason is we now instruct our children not to touch each other’s belongings at school or in presence of guests at home. Eat your own lunch. Playtime is limited and if allowed it’s highly recommended to wear a mask, a covering to protect ourselves to stay alive. Now with the current scenario touching each other’s things is suddenly life-threatening. We need isolated working stations away from people to focus on virtual sessions; we need to sit separately while working and sometimes need to shut doors and isolate ourselves for a while. We involuntarily step back when someone coughs or sneezes which were not a menace in the past. We are beginning to mistrust everyone.

Is this going to control our next generation?  Are we no more humans? Is this disease going to make our future generations selfish and lonely?

We are masking everything for future generations. The possibility is, they will become secluded in the long run.  The sad thing is, if this happens the next generation will remain oblivious of the lifestyle we had and the new norm will be ‘normal’ for them. We see our future with isolated individuals studying and working from home which is nobody’s fault. It is the most important alteration to our lives to stay safe but if this disease stays we are going to live a remote life. This is the beginning of change for us.  Our children will get adjusted to it but they are going to be selfish humans when we are masking away everything. This will also leave a great impact on their behaviors in the long run.

Some suggested Solutions for survival

Virtual life is the option and a glimpse of the future that is put into gear but the beginning is always strident and based on trial and error. At the moment we see students struggling through online classes but in the long run, they will start enjoying them as an acceptance of the change. Teachers will become equipped with new tools to make learning processes more interesting.  However, we need to think about how to replace breaches we are forced to mask. We need to think of ways to mingle in a more normal way especially, giving our kids a concept that the mask should not hinder our relationships and life in the long run. We hope to find ways to safely provide our children a safe healthy environment where they can take precautions but live normally.