My Lockdown Diary
- Smriti Bishta
If not for Covid-19, together with hundreds and thousands of others, I would have been entering the hall of the SEE examination to put years of our hard work to a test on the 19th of March.
A combination of a sense of excitement and nervousness were running deep inside me. I had packed all the requirements for exams as instructed. It was so important to me, I had ironed my uniform to look neat and tidy. Of course, I made sure that my admission card was kept in its right place so that I did not have to fumble around for it the next day. We were already staying near our exam center. Just as I was in between revising through a chapter for the first day English paper and eating my last supper before the SEE examination, my ears rang in disbelief at hearing that the government had issued a sudden announcement to call off the SEE exam. A waft of uncertainty engulfed me together with a strong wave of negative energy at feeling that the years and years of our hard work had been in vain. The first thing that struck in my mind was how would my parents react about it who not only had so many dreams invested in me but had lived a life less than they desired so that I could take the SEE exam one day. It took several weeks before I could accept that it was not one big conspiracy against our future. At learning the opportunity for this essay competition, I jumped to take part in it less with a hope to win it but more as a healing opportunity to express my desperate feelings. So, now I can explain who I am, what I have felt and what impact this global pandemic and the lockdown has brought to me.
I am a young girl whose otherwise positive outlook in the future was seriously challenged by the loss of opportunity to take the so-called iron-gate examination. Since the lockdown, I have tried to restore the positivity through developing a new friendship with online portals like Zoom. I could now learn things I could not have otherwise. Attending online classes, watching TV to gain new knowledge and practicing my hobbies like the dances I love, have helped me renew my hope that all is not lost.
The lockdown has also given a compelling opportunity to engage with the world beyond my textbooks and the four walls of my classrooms. I have also felt that lockdown has been fruitful for all Nepalese as our political map has been redrawn during the period. What has been an eye opener is to learn the inefficacy with which our government system actually operates. The news that thousands of common Nepali people are suffering from the virus and not receiving proper care is saddening. Corruption seems to be not just everywhere but institutionalized. And, it is disheartening that there are people involved in profiteering even out of buying medical kits. Women have become more vulnerable to the point that they are not safe even inside the quarantine sites. None of these I would have come across if I had gone straight from the traditional route of SEE to my next academic journey for a bridge course.
Yes, I planned for a bridge course. That plan is still in limbo. We are now informed that our result is going to be evaluated through internal exams. I have been trained and habituated for not valuing things we earn for which we did not work hard. For that reason, I do not feel entirely satisfied about how the SEE results that are about to appear. This is partly influenced by being the class topper within the small school I belong to. I will perhaps forever question if “luck” should matter more than the “hard work” itself.
Let me express what else good the lockdown has done to me. Assisting my parents in their farm, I have gained a whole new set of skills, which has helped me stay grounded to our basic realities. These experiences, I believe, are tied to the life long skills of understanding how much less money is actually needed to stay happy and connected with my family. I have also come much closer to seeing the level of struggle my parents put for our education and future.
While Covid-19 can put the physical world into a state of lockdown, I stay resolute in my refusal that it can ever close down my desire and ability to stay open to my world. I welcome the “new normal” and here is the start of it.
Pragati English secondary School Melamchi-11, Sindhupalchok
(Few words and syntaxes edited)
यो हेलम्बु एजुकेशन एण्ड लाइभ्लीहुड पार्टनरसीपले विधार्थीको सृजनशीलतालाई थप निखारता दिन “मेरो बन्दाबन्दी डायरी” शिर्षकमा आयोजना गरेको निबन्ध प्रतियोगितामा दोस्रो भएको थियो ।
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