By Samarpita Banerjee & Punyaa Juneja

It was the second half of March, on a regular day I, along with my friends, were making plans for our summer vacation while scouring for the internships. Suddenly everyone’s phone vibrated a mail from the administration regarding the cancellation of our regular classes as per government orders.

For first-year master students, who had to attend 7-day classes, it was a gift, despite the seriousness of the situation. With this turn of events, a few people who were feeling homesick decided to visit their homes; others were just enjoying the relief of not attending classes for a couple of weeks.

Nobody back then had imagined the current situation. Until the college extended the suspension of classes to an indecisive date. This was the starting of tension waves on the campus and our parents started to panic. In a couple of days, more than half of the campus was empty.

I was among the early wave of students leaving the campus in complete FOMO of overnight badminton matches, evening coffees, long walks followed by juice, and tons of fun with friends. But one is powerless when their parents decide on something!

Homecoming leads me to 14 days of quarantine, with FOMO, thoughts of the uncertain future started to hit my mind. Due to the uncertainty of the near future, everyone was panic buying. Seeing the house helps unaware of the seriousness of the situation and coming for the work, our family decided to educate them and decided to stop calling them. The advance was provided to them so that they can be well prepared for the situation to come.

With the blink of an eye, the first lockdown was announced. And I could clearly see our remaining semester draining in the lockdown. My parents begin to stress out over business concerns. But somehow, we managed to keep ourselves sane.

With no delay, we got assignments from our college. Each professor assumed that we students had no work but their assignments, which was far away from reality. With aging parents, the care required increases in a situation like this. With the household chores and stress of not being able to attain an internship, completing the assignments became difficult. However, somehow all of us managed to submit them all on time. Obviously, we had to pull out all-nighters. With the close
deadlines, we hardly got any time to think about anything else but to maintain the balance between our educational commitment and moral responsibilities.

With every additional day, the number of cases and stress levels were increasing, it became really hard to cope with your personal mental space and help your parents who were dealing in this situation.
The problems faced by the majority of people were like a cherry on the cake, which nobody wished for.

At that very moment, I decided to help people, starting by volunteering to work with an organization, who was researching the problems of Urban poor. My contribution to it for a start was to interview people and talk about their issues and educate them about the new government policies. This process also gave them a platform to share their grief.

With each passing day, the bad news kept on pouring our news feed. Alongside was our uncertain future and the fear of entering the job market and not being able to repay our loans back. We were left with no other option to keep ourselves sane and wait for the new developments to come.

So, I decided to write, on the advice of my friend, a few good things that happened to me. Gradually I discovered new recipes to try, art, and craft to explore, build my reading habit. It was not easy to start with, but you have to fool your mind and keep yourself together by spreading the same with your loved ones. I decided to contribute towards society like this.

Nobody would have thought of spreading positivity or finding some positive things happening around yourself in this difficult time. So, I decided to share my new cooking with kids in my neighborhood, and help them feel less depressed about staying home all day long in front of laptops. Gradually their mothers started the same.

With the increase in my parent’s regular disapprovements, I started talking to them personally, hearing about their issues. To avoid their personal and professional stress to become a blast. Gradually I felt the lost connection of mine with my parents. We used to color together, have evening snacks in the garden talking about their college days, to reduce their stress. As a result of which, dad started to play with our dog all over again.

Soon, we discovered that an ex-employee of dad was facing the issue of cash amidst the lockdown, and we provided him help. We contributed to various organizations, monetary on regular bases to expand the help to more people, distributed lassie to people who could not afford
to buy vegetables.

The other day, one of my moms’ employees called and asked if we have a guide for 10th standard so that he can help his daughter to start with her studies till he has enough money to readmit her in the school. So, I started teaching her. She also happens to be my mother’s previous
student, but she had to discontinue teaching her due to her health.
I also happened to start reading on various topics and current affairs of which COVID was only apart of it.
And I started to write, overcoming one of my biggest fears. Credit goes to people close to me! I started with one opinionated article on some bale out package for the economy. I enjoyed writing and started putting forward my opinions on LinkedIn.
Obviously, the thought of uncertainty and future struck wonder in my mind when I used to come to my room every night. But the task of writing good things kept me going. With tremendous ups and downs, others helped lift me up. And I guess that is why society is important. We together lift each other.
I don’t know what the future has decided for us. But we can certainly make the best out of what we have. By watching movies, sleeping like a panda, reading like a grandfather, helping like a true human, dreaming like a kid, ranting like a millennial!