Five whole months at home! When the first lockdown was announced for three weeks on March 22nd, it had seemed very long. And now, we have stayed indoors for more than twenty. The only time we went out was when Srishti was suddenly down with fever in early July and had to be taken to the doctor. Thankfully, it was nothing serious. She recovered in a few days… and touchwood, has been fine since then.

But it is getting increasingly difficult to keep her at home. And I am feeling increasingly fatigued even on weekends. I long to press the pause button in my life; she desperately waits to go back to school. Neither is possible.

I am worried about her wait more, it goes without saying. Especially since she has taken it in her head that her school will re-open in September. I know it won’t. It can’t. The school has definitely not given any such intimation. Still, I quickly checked with a friend – one of her classmate’s moms – and of course the answer was ‘No’. I felt relieved and sad at the same time!

Her new session at school began full-fledged from 6th July: 6 classes every week day (7, if you take the 15-minute class teacher’s time at the beginning), with 2 breaks, from 8.45 am to 1.30 pm. Two weeks later, the new semester started in my college as well, so that our home looks more like a coaching centre now – with her learning in the drawing room & me taking classes in the bedroom (a thing I don’t like at all). I also had to buy a new laptop because the old, spare one had stopped working; and given our simultaneous classes, and her online assignments in addition to all my work, we just couldn’t afford to share one laptop anymore.

She started Grade III on a great note. “UFF, FINALLY, FINALLY, Mama…”, she told me once, unable to continue in her sheer excitement. “‘Finally’, what, beta”? I asked. “FINALLY, my life has BEGUN”!! Reason? She could – finally – use the laptop herself! She felt a tremendous sense of purpose and importance when, a few days into her new session, I allowed her to open the laptop — to type in the password, ie, hitherto not known to her. That gave her a delicious sense of freedom! Even more adventurous was to enter the LMS platform (the online system her school is following) on her own, from her new school gmail account. The uploading/downloading of material was another matter: that took some practice!

The 6 weeks of school till now has gone well. I can hear her morning classes from our adjacent kitchen and dining room, and can clearly make out that she enjoys her lessons. She is very happy, though, to let go a few minutes early, or on the rare occasions when a teacher can’t take a class: she comes to me for a quick hug then, or runs to the balcony to talk to her “pretend friends” (a secret sisterhood I am not supposed to know anything about). She likes all her subjects, but at the moment, is specially drawn to Spanish – her new subject this year. I think it is primarily because of her long love of ‘Dora, the Explorer’ & hence her sonic familiarity with the language that Dora uses. (She corrected my pronunciation of “parapata” while we watched ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ two weekends back). Overall, I see her enjoying her studies in Grade III far more than I have in the last 3 years – sitting down to do her homework soon after lunch sometimes, or looking up something online on her own (a video of a singing skeleton holding forth on the 206 bones of the human body was a recent favourite)!

The classes are fine: the first half of the day just flies away with her wonderfully preoccupied. I feel very grateful for that. Initially, she was very happy to meet her friends & teachers online. That seemed enough, after the 6 weeks of her summer vacation spent entirely at home this time. Anything was better than that. But I sense a restlessness in her the last few days… punctuated with plans of what she will do “when I go to school in September”: which frocks she will wear, what tiffin she will take, the new stationery she needs, the cards she will give her friends. All of which ends with the phrase, “OK, Mama”? I of course say “OK” and play-act an excitement that I know will be difficult to keep up in the coming months….

P.S. – Srishti’s latest creation: ‘Trymaid & her sister’.
Note: Trymaid is a mermaid with a 3-pronged tail!
This was part of an assignment in her Art class.