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Corona and the infants!

Self

Everyone in this world will agree with the fact that the corona virus has literally brought the life to a standstill. It is an ocean and there are waves continuously coming; the first wave, the second wave, the third wave etc. People try to sneak out during the pseudo lull period but with a heavy price, the lucky ones survive. People are locked inside their houses. There is fear all around. The hospitals are full, the crematoriums are full, and everything has gone haywire. It is too much of torture to the people who have nothing to do with the ambitions or research or the targets of people who want to rule the world.

In this pandemic, kids are affected the most. Grown up kids though enjoy online stuff but they terribly miss the schools, parks, malls, picnics, reunions, sports etc. However, think of those kids who were at the age of getting admitted to schools. Those who would have gone to play school to have the feel of what a school looks like? Who is a teacher, how is a classroom? What all we do in the school? What is teaching?

My little daughter is also passing through that stage. All schools are closed from past an year for physical teaching. She was admitted to nursery last year and had the online syllabus to digest. The online classes were like video calls to relatives. Unaware of the protocols and the status of the teaching staff, she use to tease them during class, press the red button on screen to disconnect, answer the questions wrong and all such kids stuff. The teachers were helpless and so the parents. Despite our local and teachers’ distance guidance, she never held the pencil in a proper way. So the alphabets thus emerged were monsters. One or two alphabets or numbers per page and a notebook used to get completed in one class.

Daughter

Teaching apart, there was no scope of outing too. All the animals, birds, flowers and other objects were inside the book only or in the videos. Occasionally the lizards, cockroaches, spiders, pigeons, dogs, cats, butterflies etc. made guest appearance to prove her that they exist.

However the best and the most emotional part of all this traumatic situation was the hope she had that the corona will go and one day we shall roam out freely.  There were many party dresses lying unused that we had purchased or were sent by the relatives. She used to ask daily, ‘when will I wear these?’ with the lock-in period keep stretching and for the fact that these dresses shall not fit her in near future, we decided that she shall try them out at home. Daily my little angel chooses a dress, gets dressed up all with party shoes, hair-band etc and goes to the door, open it and say, ‘Papa! Corona virus is still there. We can’t go out,’ and closes the door. After that she spends the remaining day inside wearing the party dress and the shoes.

This happens almost daily and we feel pinched from inside as to what situation this pandemic has brought the society. The wishes, the aims, the ambitions etc. All have just gone into the drain. What we got is the childhood sobbing, the adulthood crying and the old age howling. No idea, who got benefitted from all this, but one thing is for sure that humanity lost!

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The tryst with toys

Photo: personal

My three years old daughter is very fond of colourful building blocks from which she makes beautiful and unpredictable structures. It has a combination of blocks of various sizes and colours. She spends hours to think of possible complicated yet beautiful structures with proper care taken for the symmetry and the stability of the structure. Even the colour combination also appears precisely chosen.

Seeing her grown interest in the activity I decided to get another set for her so that she can make her imagination fly higher. With the fear spread around, first I thought of purchasing online.  I searched on the leading shopping portals and found plenty of such items and then I researched and none of them could meet our requirement.  Our single requirement was that the item should not be ‘Made in China’. Though on many items the origin of country was not visible, the research could reveal that the products were in fact, ‘Made in China’. There were some products for which we had doubts, we ordered one of those, but when the product arrived, it was the same. We returned it back.

It was our personal view and decision that we shall not be using China made products. Not that it had something to do with G2G tension, but primarily because we felt that the carelessness in following the protocols during their research on corona virus had resulted in such an awful situation the world is in today.  Further, Chinese advances in various parts of the world encroaching land and water are malicious and unacceptable.

Fed up with online opacity, I decided to get the item from the store. After all, it was a matter of pride for a contemporary father to gift his daughter something non-electronic. And, my son had the luxury of having such toys and much more when he was in this age. Why should I let my daughter suffer?

I approached a nearby toy store. Raided the items and their packing like a police personnel, but couldn’t find one suiting our requirement. Few items were even tagged as ‘Made in India’ but when opened were the same from inside. I was just wondering, even after seven decades of independence we are not able to make indigenous toys for our kids? And it is not only in our country. When I had purchased few toys for my son during my stay in UK, surprisingly I had found the same label there too. ‘Made in China’ from UK with love? I still have couple of those with me. The reach of ‘Made in China’ products can directly be mapped with the reach of corona virus in the world.

I left the store in frustration. Then I decided to go to a bigger store where the chances of variety and diversity were more. True it was but again looking at the label was annoying. Luckily I found few Indian stuff but the quality of the product was down and the price was up. My ‘parental conscience’ didn’t allow me to adjust with it. Rise in price is OK but I should get at least a similar type and quality product. I did not give up hope and tried at another toy store. The story was no different there.  Now, the irritation levels were so high that I thought of tweeting the state of affairs to who’s and who’s of the country. Is this the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’? What have we done in this many years to ensure that we build everything from a needle to a ship in this country?

I decided to go back and purchase the available item from the shop near to my house that I had explored first.

‘What is my daughter’s fault if there are Chinese toys flooded in the market’? When my son can enjoy the luxury of toys during his childhood why not my daughter? Anyways, theoretically the government stresses too much on the rights of girl child. They have various schemes launched for them. In that pretext at least I am empowered enough to fulfill all the desires of the girl child.

I parked the vehicle near the shop. Suddenly I felt someone pulling my shirt gently from back. I turned and saw a lean girl begging for food.

‘Uncle, please give something. We didn’t had anything from morning’. She pointed towards two kids playing by the side of the road.

I saw that side. Two small kids possibly of the age of my daughter were busy playing with a small pile of stones. They try to put them in various shapes, one over other and were enjoying the outcome of their efforts. They were so happy playing with those ‘indigenous’ stones that the entire toy shop with sophisticated and imported toys looked a junkyard to them. This small event changed my entire outlook.

I came back home and told my daughter that the I have ordered ‘indigenous’ toys for her and it may take some time. Unaware of my state of mind, she remained happy as usual, ‘OK papa’ she said and continued playing with her building blocks. I thought, her childhood may not wait, but I will wait, we will wait!!!

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The renewal request

Oh dear Almighty!

Please accept the renewal request

for all my rich childhood memories

for the infantile ignorant stories

for the innocent and carefree living

for the joy and pleasure of giving

for the belief and trust on everyone

for small promises and battles won

for that school and the classmates

for all the valuable elderly mandates

for the dolls and the board games

for the failures and the blames

for all anticipated abuses hurled

for that small beautiful magical world

Renewal