Children, how happy you were here!

Corona virus, on entering a human body, may yield lethal injuries to the organs that help it live life vivaciously. On the other hand, joyfulness, if throttled anyway, will surely yield an unending pain and develop an abysmal vacuum in human heart. Now, here raises a grave question – What is more painful?

I have literally put my children in a jail. They play, but can’t continue playing play like they did before. They smile, undoubtedly, a priceless smile, but helplessly do they so. From behind the bars, they chirp their hearts out, fling loud cries out of the window, into the roads. In the morning, when all the household narratives are just begun and each one has just walked out to champion the other one in getting fresh vegetables and fishes from the bazaar; they call out to her or him, whom they don’t even know. They stare and wink at them only with the eyes. A man, hoary with age, comes out with a frothy toothbrush dangling unsteadily from his mouth, bends his towel like Beckham and taps on the tap to ensure himself about the time of his bath. The senior citizen throws splashes of water on and around his body, folds palms to the firmament; while the junior citizens fall into a cute conversation with him. The morning saga is eccentrically joyful to the world peopled by the three beautiful citizens.

To my daughter, the world is full of gems and joys. Already she has got a tooth cavity; therefore, she warns her brother about the pain that those elliptical coins offer in the end and carefully hides all the multicoloured stuff from the little detective’s sight. My daughter doesn’t miss her school days any more. She has forgotten the roll numbers of her friends. She has started feeling accustomed to the four-walled cavity where we the four reside. Often, the river Jalangi, on whose flank rests her school, inundates her eyes, probably, as a result of the over-brimming condition due to the recent natural calamity.

I am a teacher who has always been housed inside the students and busy opening the windows and doors of their minds to let the breeze of knowledge and the light of wisdom come in. The world has seized the key that opens the room. A few days ago, my wife hesitated to answer a question, “Mam, apni valo achen?” (Madam, are you well?). How long have we been out of school? I have forgotten the date of the last class I gave. Now, we see the frozen four-wheelers parked near our lane. Their engines are ice-cold. Even a year ago, their stomach was in an about-to-burst condition due to the school-going children. How can a teacher stay happy without a bouquet of students?

But, somewhat I feel, the world is heading towards a world without physical schools. At least, the present scenario of the world atlas says so. Generations after generations will suffer an untold misery. They will invite a drowsy numbness to alleviate the pain of having no pleasure hut like school. Here, the two children will grow up, there, another two. Will they meet ever? Where will they meet daily? How often will they meet? These questions are being asked by not only their schools but also the cacophonous zoo, the jaw-dropping museum, the noiseless planetarium and the twittering parks and playgrounds. They will find friends in Facebook, titillate their fingers on Whatsapp chats, train their soaring minds to find birds in Twitter. They will be compelled to be familiar with an artificial behavioural pattern. They will stay connected all the time, maintain an inaccessible social distance, and bump emojis to express their grief at the news of anyone’s demise. The world is provoking the children to get lost in this untoward environment.

Since imagination is lost amidst amenities, everything is easily accessible, let us close our eyes and imagine for a moment. What would have happened had we not known about the virus? We would have walked out daily, seen the children playing football, enjoyed our precious time and mixed with the people, free birds and stray animals. Had we known about the fact that all across the globe a newborn dies in every 39 seconds suffering from pneumonia, what would have happened to the mothers? They would have hugged our children tightly and bathed in incessant tears and carefully watched their babies every 39 seconds. According to a report by UNICEF dated 11 November, 2019, India is one of the responsible countries along with Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, where children succumb to pneumonia almost in a jiffy. We haven’t read any article about the raging number of deaths of flowers, have we? Any forwarded message popped up? Have we ever chatted with our friends on this topic? Presumably not. We spend our days with either Corona virus or forwarded memes. Any meme follows any news of death. We don’t even get wind how deep we are eroded by the technologically advanced psychological disorder.

The spread of anxiety and horror about a disease is far more dangerous than the disease itself. What is going on, all across the world, is a crime. Shopping malls are open, parks are closed. Restaurants are open, schools and swimming pools are closed. With a road pass, adults may get a bail to roam about in the open. Only children are forced to stay inside.

Childhood, if not celebrated, will turn out to be a murdered adulthood.

Everybody is prophesying; I don’t know how; a ‘third wave’ is swelling almost a stone’s distance. Another heavy period of stringent lockdown is marching towards us. But, it will leave the children bone-dry and the half of the world die with an empty stomach. All the juices of joy and mirth will be sucked forever. Life will be there, but in a horrific stalemate. We will see the children regarding smart-phones, taking notes from their digital teachers, solve question papers on the touch-screen and order all the essentials including baby trees online. Would we let the flowers die in the buds when the death rate is that low?

Is it a virus or a worldwide mass-murdering plan! The first wave challenged the aged persons, the second wave suffocated the youth and the third wave looks upon the children as the bull’s eye. How cleverly the fear of death has been spread, nay, mutated, to destroy the vivacity of the human civilization!

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