You could say there were two distinct phases in how our lives hit, like a meandering sentence, this long comma—or is it a coma? Initially, every student looked at the lockdown as a blessing. Schools were closed! And the need to wake up early and get ready suddenly vanished. An alternative was introduced in the form of online classes. These heavily impeded the learning process because it’s very easy to get distracted and lose focus of the syllabus from the comforts of your own home. Believe me, the only preparation the assessments needed was an extra tab open on your browser and mediocre acting skills.
Everything was sailing smoothly. We had a lot of free time on our hands. Some of my friends utilised that time meaningfully and improved themselves in certain aspects. Some others, like me, didn’t do anything to write home about, except play video games and binge-watch movies and shows.
Our sleeping cycles were heavily affected during the vacations, with most people my age staying up till 8 am doing nothing. Boredom quickly set in. We had no way to meet each other. This is where technology came to the rescue, and we relied on our devices to keep in touch and also consume copious volumes of entertainment. I would also go on walks early in the morning with my mom and look at the clear, colourful sky, which was, suddenly, pristine and unpolluted by fumes from cars and factories. Playing games with my friends, watching movies with my family and listening to music made almost everything seem normal.
Around August, everything started to become repetitive and mundane and the Covid cases started coming under control. As the lockdowns were lifted, I started meeting my friends once every few weeks and my offline tuitions resumed too. Everything was done while keeping all the necessary precautions in mind. This hiatus from staying at home was much needed. It was refreshing to see cars on the road and people living their lives normally. All of this was short-lived, of course. We were still dealing with the pandemic, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.
Academically speaking, I had managed to get a vague idea of the syllabus. The schools were to open for the class-10 pre-boards and practical exams in mid-January, so I spent two weeks doing nothing but going through my notes, books and YouTube videos of a syllabus that had been taught for no less than six months. It wasn’t just me who got below average results. I told myself that I’d get my act together for the board exams that actually counted. I still had four months for them at the time. I studied harder for the second pre-boards and got better results than the previous outing, but I knew there was still a lot of progress to be made for the boards. I continued studying, meeting my friends, and maintaining some sort of balance between the two for the next three months. Things were easier than I expected at that stage.
Then a second Covid wave started spreading. This time it was more contagious than the first one. People were dying—and are still dying. Vaccinations started taking place. Amid all this, there was talk of the boards being postponed or some other alternative being brought in. But I kept that thought aside and studied, preparing for the boards, whenever the authorities decided to hold them. It was fun hearing my friends talk about the exams and the various possibilities because all their ideas were very optimistic—yet everyone had their fingers crossed and continued studying as I did. I managed to break free of my lethargy and immersed myself in a routine where I managed to study regularly and with some intensity. Living with a routine and that sense of productivity felt much better than lying around aimlessly, doing nothing the whole day, at least to me.
Then came news that the government would address the situation vis-à-vis the boards. Everyone was voicing their opinion on whether the exams should be held or not, leading to further uncertainty. All that got resolved one day when I was sitting in my room and studying, when my mom walked in and told me the boards had been cancelled!
No, I didn’t jump out of joy or burn my books. I just accepted that all the work that I had been putting in for the past few months had been deleted by the government itself, and that the next few weeks would be aimless as well. Now I have been promoted to 11th and I am trying not to repeat the mistakes I made last year—that of being irregular with my studies—and I am living better.
Anhad Singh, 16, is a student of Class 11 at Suncity School, Gurgaon