How the world has changed!

Through a pre-schooler’s eyes

Little Hannah was playing on her balcony with her dolls. She had planned an elaborate birthday party and was busy entertaining her kids. While playing the perfect hostess, she was startled to hear squeals of laughter from the balcony next door. Alarmed, she ran inside her apartment. In her haste she didn’t even pick up her kids, her dolls.

Hannah went to her bedroom, and through the curtains, she saw the two little people, about her size, playing in the balcony. She watched them play together, laugh, jump and shove each other. She was relieved that she had rushed inside just in time.

Her mother always shoved her into a room, whenever the doorbell rang. Once or twice, she had peeped, and saw her mother cover her face and stand far away from another person, big person, with a bag, also with face covered. Once she was caught peeping and her mother had shrieked at her for a long time. Hannah didn’t understand much as to why her mother has got so upset but heard the word virus and fever again and again, and the last word was enough to frighten her. She didn’t like getting fevers. Last time, she had to be in bed for many days and she had pains in her head, ears, tummy, and just everywhere.

But she did envy that there were at least two little people in the apartment next door and could play with each other.

She had none but her kids, her dolls, but they cannot run around like her.

Her parents didn’t play with her.

On some days, her parents will be up early and will be rushing about the house, cleaning, cooking and occasionally shouting at her to get up and have breakfast. And suddenly, all this would stop, and they will get into their rooms, and sit and start talking in front of their laptops the whole day.

Hannah knew very well that she has to be extremely quiet then. If she made noise or if she cried out or sang loudly, one of her parents would come out of their rooms and shush her.

On some other days, Hannah would wake up before her parents, and would jump into their beds. Then too, they would ask her not to jump and make so much noise and to let them sleep some more. Those would also be the days, when her parents would call what they said were their parents and would have Hannah talk to them. Hannah would see two people, with white hair and glasses over their eyes, each time, who would be extremely happy to see her and blow kisses, and talk a lot to her. She realized that if she talked to them, they could hear her and respond to her. Not like the television where sometimes she talks to Peppa but she doesn’t reply.

Sometimes, Hannah and her parents would get into their car and drive around. She is not allowed to get outside the car, and sometimes her daddy or her mommy would get out, and then come back often with large packets. Hannah would see people on the streets, shops, and sometimes few little people like her running wildly here and there and she would be confused.

Hannah cannot remember meeting or touching any other people other than her parents. She figured that she has to be afraid of every other people. So, whenever she would hear somebody in the balconies nearby or somebody at the door, she would run to her room and hide and be very, very afraid. She didn’t want to get a fever.

__**__

Tiresome world of a tweener

Jeetu’s day was not going well at all.

His deep sleep had come into an abrupt end with her mother shrieking at him that it is time for school and he had rolled off his bed and was just in time for his morning assembly.

The periods that followed didn’t go well for him.

The first period was geography and he had not submitted his assignment. He lied to Matthew Sir, that his mother was too busy with her office work till late at night, and thus was unable to upload the assignment. But Matthew Sir has decided to send a message to his mother. So, he now was in a dangerous situation and what followed was a serious brain racking of what should he do.

This was the third period and he could barely keep his eyes open. The arithmetic problem which Meenu Ma’m was solving for them was just too complex for him. On top of that Meenu Ma’m has insisted or rather commanded that Jeetu, Ashu and Kanika keep their cameras on. He, thus is not able to put his head down on his table and take a nap, nor is he able to gang up with his friends to plan some mischief.

He missed going to school on such days.

He was just promoted to class 5 when they had moved to online classes only, which was supposed to be a temporary arrangement. He, like all other kids, had liked the novelty of it, and had enjoyed about a month of it. Online or offline, their games, pranks and mischief had continued.

But they are in class 6 now and there is no certainty when they would be back into a class room. Sigh!!

Jeetu started to get into a foul mood.

Few months back, he and his apartment friends had started playing in the park inside their complex. But then a family got infected and their playtime was scratched. So he and everyone else was homebound again.

He was tired of gaming, watching TV, studying online and just everything about them.

He missed the smell of new books, starched school uniforms, new shoes every year. He missed playing with his friends, tackling and shoving them to the ground or sometimes be the victim. And mostly he missed the large playground of his school, where they would just run, and run, and run …

Jeetu, Jeetu!! JEETU ….!!!! Are you listening to what I am saying …!!!

Oh dear! He had indeed fallen asleep!

__**__

Turmoil of an adolescent life

Rozie was at loggerheads with her Mother and clearly losing. All she wanted was to go and have a sleepover at Zari’s. But no, her Mother will not allow!

She stomped off, slammed her door loudly, asked Alexa to play Swiftie’s ”Everything has changed” and plonked herself on her bed face down! She was so angry!!

She was tired of being locked in this stupid apartment with just her Mother all day, every week, so many months and more than a year!

She has not gone out ever … even once, in the past one year.

A month or so earlier, Zari, Ruby, Chetan and Dixie, were ‘gramming about their malling and just showing off. She was not allowed to go with them by her censorious Mother!

She missed going to the mall with her friends, just hanging around with them, having ice creams or soda or burger or whatever, the food wasn’t important but the giggling, talking, bitching and the guffaws were so much fun.

She missed getting her nails done. She had ordered a kit from Amazon and with the help of Youtube had done it at home, it was good, but nothing like the magical effect which Auntie’s Nail Art Studio had done last year.

She was tired of talking or texting her friends always and not being able to see them and go out with them. She envied her sister who had a time of her life while at college, hostel, night life, parties … and when she would come home, she would sleep most of the time and then be restless to go back to college.

She was tired of just being at home and have her classes online for so long and just staring at a bright screen always, her laptop, her phone, her tablet, TV, and nothing else.

She missed her college campus and her brief hostel stint. Before this pandemic drastically changed the world for her.

__**__

A sundered heart of an adult

Giri looked dumbfounded at the wedding invitation that has just popped into his mailbox.

“Kajal weds Anil” it said!

Kajal is getting married!!

Giri was crestfallen.

It was only a few months back… oh wait.. it is more than a year now, that Giri had fallen head over heels over Kajal, who he had met in one of the war rooms that was being held.

Kajal was so impressive, such a good command over her domain, how lucidly she would explain her proposition and would hold everyone’s attention while she took the center stage. Her voice sounded melodious, and she has such perfect, sharp features. Giri had to stop himself from staring at her too much.

After the day long meeting, Giri had plucked up the courage to go and introduce himself. To his surprise, Kajal was very amicable. Later when they had all gone out for dinner that day, Kajal and Giri had sat together and had pretty much just spoken to just each other. Or at least that’s what Giri’s memory said.

He had learnt a lot about Kajal that night though.

Even though the war room had come to an end and there were no reasons for them to be together, they used to bump into each other and then gradually a friendship bloomed and grew deep. There workstations were in different floors but they planned to have their lunch and other breaks together. To Giri it was a romantic relationship progressing well and he was about to suggest to Kajal that they should meet up outside office as well. So why didn’t he?

And then abruptly the lockdown started. Kajal had just about time to fly back to her hometown in Indore. They continued to be in touch with each other through Whatsapp.

Did their Whatsapping slow down? It actually did. From daily good mornings and forwards and some office gossips and some personal chit chats, it changed to just good mornings and forwards and occasional personal chitchats to just forwards sometimes, or occasionally, or rarely and then when did it stop ..!!

Giri had also got busy with a very critical project and his days just blended into one another. He had lost sense of day, date, time season everything. Maybe it was his fault, he didn’t respond to, maybe her messages?

Giri looked at the invitation again. His heart was beating loudly, his ears started ringing, and he started feeling warm. Kajal should have told him about her upcoming nuptial. He thought they were close. Weren’t they really?

He banged his head against his desk and just stayed that way, bowed head, in defeat, a failure of a blooming romance, which will never see the light of the day.

He envied his older brother, who had met and married his office mate. That was possible then, now not!

Online messaging tools cannot keep the hearts from being broken asunder.  

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