By any stretch of my imagination, I could not have thought I would spend the better part of a year staring at a computer screen, listening to my college teachers deliver their respective lectures, while I sat at home in a T-shirt and pair of pyjamas. In retrospect, it has been a terribly long vacation.
However, my reasons for coming home predated the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. One evening, while I was playing football at my college, I mis-timed a tackle, and my ankle caught the grass, while I was carried forward by my own momentum. It broke, and I came home the next day itself – 27th February, 2020. Three weeks later, I found out that the college was being closed, and everyone had to go home. Corona had finally come knocking.
During or after my recovery, online classes for the ninth semester of law school began. It was a challenge adapting to at first, but then it became mundane routine. Giving online objective exams in place of regular written tests, easily muting my microphone and stepping away to do something else, or even muting the teacher’s voice, if I was too bored by the class. These are things I confess I did. Other times, I paid attention. But there is something about being home which puts you at ease, and thus you are never willing to work. Lethargy, laxity, laziness, whatever it is called, tempted me. Contrariwise, the immediacy and final purpose of all this, combined with my mother waking me up every odd day so that I would attend a class, dragged and drove me through the year. But the food was, and still is, so delicious.
There were other things – such as being away from dear friends for all that time. But that brought some of close in an unexpected way – we used to play a mobile game together, video-called each other, and would talk for hours on end. We would imitate and make fun of teachers who did not, in our not-so-humble opinion, know how to teach. Also, we would share the hope of one day seeing each other on the college grounds again. Alas, that never happened. The pandemic had other plans.
Online classes would continue, and it is not that I hated them for their own sake, but for what they brought for us. Time and fate forced these circumstances on everyone of us, even our teachers. But we nevertheless always had concerns, as a batch, that certain concepts were not being adequately dealt with in classes, or had an issue with a certain faculty, or some or the other qualm.
There are five stages to grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. All of us, went through each of these stages. Or perhaps we have yet to accept this. I am not trying to make a mountain of a mole hill by saying that online classes are so bad that they should never happen. I am instead, denouncing, berating, and expressing my most sincere hatred for the ultimate reason because of which these classes became necessary in the first place – the pandemic. We have all been through a lot in this span of time. I wish that we could have some respite from all this.
In summary, online classes have had their advantages for me – ease of attendance, ease of evaluation, the odd and amusing disturbance because someone inadvertently left or intentionally switched on their microphone(s) during class. The bad, the distance from friends, the lack of clear instruction, the technological hurdles faced by some of our better teachers, the monotony, the near paradigm-shift in pedagogy, which was not always for the best, the frustations of sitting at home, unable to go out, talk to people, or take an ambulatory stroll. I would say, in my most humble opinion, I never want to attend online classes for as long as I live, unless I cannot help it.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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