Dusting the pride and chalk off me after solving the hardest question on the board, is something I never thought I’d miss. The sleepy faces of my classmates in those small squares on the screen during online classes, are to be considered a rather decent pick me up. But it’s no match to high-fiving them the second I entered the class.
And the beauty found in killing time by walking slowly to the classroom, is no longer accessible, for these online classes start instantly. And then on, it is about watching a teacher speak to a camera, for what feels like an eternity. It’s almost like watching a Vlog. No matter how hard the creator tries to engage you, it’s simply not the same without physically being there.

Even the learning has changed; the thrilling act of ‘note making’, when one tried to match the speed of writing with the teacher instructing, now is about pressing a simple combination of keys to take a screenshot of the document the teacher shares on our glowing screens.

While one could marvel at technology rendering education in this manner possible, it is definitely not making us any healthier. These classes are unbelievably straining for my eyes, apparently 4 hours of constantly being in front of a screen is bad, who would’ve thought? They put a lot of mental pressure, too! The school Google drive is constantly being updated with tonnes of work, since we are at home and apparently ‘we have a lot of time’. Well, we have a lot of subjects, too.

It becomes rather tedious trying to balance everything. I had planned to learn so much during this lockdown but had to settle for the harmonica and working on the piano, which, of course, have their own beauty.

Times like these, is when one realises how much of the real school they actually miss. Sure, the studying and stringent rules aren’t the best bits, but it’s not just that… Gasping in unison when you saw a substance change colour in the science lab, or even the fight for the window seat at the back of the bus ending with you gossiping away with the very friend you fought with for that seat… That’s what completes  the school experience. All that makes school days so memorable.

Even as I read this blog out to my parents, I see a faraway look taking over their eyes, and I know they are taking a quick jog down memory lane to their own schooldays.

One would be forgiving to think that because the amount of work being done is a lot, we must be learning a lot! It’s quite the opposite. The
never-ending stream of online classes on the trot barely gives us any time to even let things register. Plus, with constant deadlines to worry about, the intention to revise the day’s work, goes out the window.

It’s not just the classroom that I miss, I miss the cafeteria. The
not-so-appetising idli that was made better when served with pointless conversations with friends on the table, is what I miss. Oh how I miss sneaking into the tuck shop in the middle of the day, because you were on good terms with the ‘bhaiya’, and relishing a lavish feast of chips and Frootie. Also, do you know a pack of chips could be passed around an incredible number of times in a classroom without the chips getting over (since much like the atmosphere, they are 70% nitrogen) .

Having shared all this, I also realise that as much as we might dislike these online classes, the sooner we accept them as the new normal, the better. They will continue for a very long time. Until then, we could only hope that we once again sit at our desks and listen to the chalk squeaking on the blackboard, guided by a hand and not a cursor.

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Viraat Arora

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