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Kalyani Chaudhuri, Principal, Billabong High International School, Thane: Asks students to utilise time wisely

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Kalyani Chaudhuri

Hope all of you are keeping well. This advance closure of school and forced isolation is probably the most trying time in your life. Believe me, I have never experienced anything so unusual in my lifetime. But I know, being millenials, you have the resilience to overcome this 21day CCC (Combat Corona Challenge) successfully.

I was reading about Scott Kelly, the NASA astronaut who spent a year in space. Also, the submariners who are under water for months, live in isolation as a regular way of life. They have some simple points to suggest:

· Have a mission to keep oneself healthy

· Have a daily routine and stick to it

· Create one’s own space in your shared house

· Try new things

· Don’t look too far ahead i.e. don’t count days

· It’s ok to feel sad

· Exercise/ practice what you enjoy doing

· Stay in touch electronically

And all of this is tried and tested by them in isolation. So it’s not as difficult as we feel.

Your teachers and I have been missing you much. So we thought of connecting with you remotely. Now, this too has not been easy, dear learners. Especially, so because now our dear friend of 24×7, Mr Internet has started playing truant. Exercising his free will, he decides to come and go at his whim and fancy. And if a worksheet, PPT or video lesson has to be uploaded, you can only see the icon moving round and round. Maybe, it is trying to evade work, just like you do sometimes! Never mind, that’s the fun we are having!

The confinement and untimely closure is teaching us things we will remember a lifetime. Do you know there are companies like Scholastic, Amazon, Amar Chitra Katha and Oxford that have made their content freely accessible? These would otherwise be available only on payment. My favourite of all is still Amar Chitra Katha, so I have downloaded it and enjoying reading all of them again at my pace. So, what’s your favourite? Reading is the best friend that you have now, download and enjoy audio books, comics and fiction or if you don’t have your textbooks, go on to the publisher’s site and bingo you may find yours too. (Between you and me, if you are not in the Secondary and Higher Secondary Section now, don’t look for textbooks.) This blissful, uninterrupted story time should not be compromised with.

Above all, these companies deserve a big thank you. They have empathised with the learners and have put aside thoughts of business. This is a great learning for all of us. Being beside one when one is in need, is a value that we often speak about but in our hectic lifestyle, we may not have been able to do implement it.

Another observation that I have been making every morning is about our chirpy friends. I now wake up to the musical notes of different sounds and intensity. As I live close to a huge water body, the birds gliding over it all day long is such a welcome sight. Have you heard the cuckoo sing? You know, when you imitate them, they retaliate aggressively. Try it out. Don’t these remind us of the lovely springtime that we are experiencing around us at the moment. Look out of your windows in the morning, talk to the rising sun, sing with chirpy friends, say hello to the young mangoes waiting to ripen, smell the freshness in the air, feel its lightness, look at the sky and create imaginative figures with the flaky clouds. The air around us is unusually clean and free of toxins that we otherwise breathe. Think what these creatures might have been facing due to our atrocities all this time. Would they be thinking, ‘HUMANS, SERVES YOU RIGHT’! The schools of dolphins have returned to the coasts of Mumbai, I have heard they can be seen at the Marine Drive promenade. It’s an all new experience for them, isn’t it? Don’t they inspire you to be creative?

Create a time for honing your latent skill. Sing, dance, play the instrument if you are learning one, draw, paint or learn new craft ideas online. Design a dress, a webpage or even change the interiors of your own house. Think creatively!

There is a sea change in the working structure of your own house. Have you noticed it? I feel, suddenly the western world has creeped into our homes. Our house helps are away, so it’s the family members who are managing all chores and with a lot of happiness. Have you also taken up a chore to support your family? It doesn’t have to be a heavy one, you can begin with light jobs for yourself. After all, you are the youngest of all. You have the right to choose. But, be productive. Every small help counts. Make your bed, fold your clothes, do your dish, keep your study table organised and you can also help in the kitchen. Why not learn some family recipes from your grandmas and compile a family recipe booklet! Try your hands at baking and cooking simple dishes. Learn to make all kinds of Indian breads. Believe me, you will enjoy the maps you create while rolling the dough!

Since you all are at home now, look at home economics also. Create a list of things you thought you wouldn’t be able to survive without and a list of things that you are using at the moment. Compare what you wanted and what you needed. Wants are endless demands of our minds, needs are what we require to live a healthy life. Decide whether a want is more important or a need. Given the current scenario, we have to practice zero wastage of food, water and electricity. Imagine, in a few days if we don’t have access to these necessities? If we don’t, have water or food riot is imminent.

Set aside a few minutes every day to pray. You don’t have to be a believer in order to pray. This is a miraculous medicine and when done from the heart, it works wonders. In your prayer, say a big thank you to the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, who are working overtime now. Appreciate the police force who are trying to maintain law and order. Appreciate the numerous workers who don’t have the privilege of working from home. Pray for your teachers who haven’t stopped thinking about you even for a moment. Above all, pray for your family’s well being and for peace and harmony to prevail in our beautiful world.

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