Written By Ketaki Bhave (Grade 12)
Someone once said, “New year – a new chapter, new verse, or the same old story? Ultimately, we write the story” But, this year, did we write it? The superficial answer would be a ‘no’. Although, I would say otherwise. This year did not only let us write our own story but also helped us grow in a lot of ways. It gave us a show of the strengths we thought we never had. Besides the usual ups and downs of life, this year brought many more challenges, and those of you reading this, successfully walked past them. This year, in general, taught us many things, and I would like to portray some of them through this article.
As a teenager, I have always been a little introverted, and hence, I have always loved my own space. Attending college was honestly the worst part of the day, considering the number of unknown people I had to face. And let’s not get me started about how much of a chicken I would turn into when the teachers would question me. Not because I didn’t know the answer but because of the thought of the whole class looking directly at me, judging me for every move that I make, terrified me. And then, COVID happened. We got stuck in our houses until further notice, but the notice never came. That is when I realized how easy everything was before. College wasn’t as fun as school was, scratch that, it was never fun, but it still had something that the home learning didn’t. Although I used to be half asleep, drooling on the bench while the teachers taught, the college used to give me some heartening. From our physics teacher blowing the whistle on me for not smiling to the English teacher, whose accent not much admired, every teacher had their charms, and they, no matter what, helped me uplift myself. My friend, whom I met every single day, whose blaring had always been intolerable, felt like a long-lost memory. And with the nostalgia making me want to cry my eyes out, I worked out the importance of college.
Time management was another thing that this year taught me. At the beginning of the lockdown, I used to get up at whatever time I wanted, used to do whatever I felt like, and in this manner, I wasted a couple of weeks doing absolutely nothing. I don’t regret those weeks though. Some days, I brought the artist out of me and creating different worlds using my imagination, I bled them on the paper. While the other days, I slumped in an armchair, staring at the blank wall for hours, thinking about how I disoriented I was. And that armchair helped me notice that my productivity level was exceedingly low. It was tough to get myself together, with everything going wrong around me, sometimes it was painful too, but it was worth it. I made a timetable, scheduling all the work that I was lagging with and, got a new start. Initially, I was stressed, looking at the syllabus of my final high school year. It brought burning tears to my eyes. Every chapter looked onerous, and I couldn’t concentrate on even the simplest things. Rather than going with the flow, which my old self would do, I decided to take help. My tuition teacher helped me a lot during this period. With his constant encouraging words during every online class, the ambitious side of me woke up again. From complaining, ‘I don’t get enough time to study’ to, ‘That’s too many hours you studied. Now stop, or your brain will end up eating itself,’ I grew up. On getting a grip on me, I certainly was able to manage my time and give equal attention to every important thing, including my dance classes. I observed that there is no greater happiness than looking back at the day you spent and grinning from ear to ear for all the new things you have learnt, and genuinely being satisfied with it.
Another significant lesson that I learnt this year was that everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent. Not your grief, not your happiness, not the people in your life and not even you. But no matter what, the world goes on. Neither does the Earth doesn’t stop spinning, nor does the Moon. And accepting the loss is the best thing you can do.
Seeing countless people die around me, be it celebrities or the people I knew, it somewhat broke me. It scared me, how one day you see their happy faces while the next, ‘poof’, they are gone, became a mere memory. And you can’t do anything about it. You immediately go back to the last day you spent with them, wondering what your last words to them were. You either smile at the memory or weep for either not being good enough to them or for not seeing them for a long time. You sometimes end up blaming yourself, and that is the worst part. Rather than mourning for the losses, we need to accept the truth. Truth can be harsh, but it is what it is. We need to remember one thing, that our departure is already timed. Just like Shakespeare spoke in his poem, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women, merely players’, agree to it or not, we don’t decide our destiny. We are just pawns to someone else’s play, and we do what we are meant to. We live our lives trying to please people around us, forgetting that one day none of us will even exist. That one day, we’ll be back to being a part of the elements of nature and not many will be alive to mourn for us.
Sometimes the life’s ride can be potholed, but you have got to hold on and not let it break your heart. This year was a wreak, I agree. But let’s not look at the negative side, and address what it gave us. There were days when we drowned our self in sorrow while the others when we cheered with all our will. A few brought us new challenges, making them more interesting. A few were depressing, no doubt. But what matters, in the end, is that we survived and that we will survive this pandemic together. 2021 may or may not bring back the same old happy days, but we have to stay strong and face whatever comes our way. After all, that is what life is about.
Featured Image Courtesy – IENE