Posted by Saurabh Prasad, New Delhi
Corona outbreak and the subsequent lockdown has certainly been a severe setback for the whole world. For me, it has been phenomenal with sharp twists and turns.
All of a sudden, on 22nd March, we were asked to vacate the hostels at the earliest. Most of the students managed to return back home before the announcement of lockdown. But not everyone. I, along with 40 more students decided to stay back in the campus – with 24/7 internet and sports facilities. We thought, the restrictions will get over soon.
However, our predictions didn’t come true. Rules and norms of maintaining social distancing were set forth. All common areas including gym, sports block, common rooms, library and labs got closed. We were told – “Stay in individual rooms, no commuting in and out of the campus, no ordering food from outside!”. We tried our best to collect as much stock as possible. Some of the staff members thankfully became a gateway for various grocery shops and other essentials.
Although, college was suspended but classes were not. Physical presence and interaction with the instructors stopped. But exams, quizzes and assignments continued. Solving all these sitting alone without friends was a nightmare for me. Another challenge arose during online lectures of BE (Basic Electronics) – I could not follow the circuits being explained. With no one nearby to describe them, I was gripped by an unknown fear of the upcoming online assessment. What if the questions aren’t readable (by my laptop voice assistant) or the internet doesn’t support in real time during the quizzes and exams?
But again, reality defied expectations. I made my own conventions and enumerated each branch of the circuits. It helped me a lot to communicate with my TA (Teaching Assistant) over call and understand them clearly. Gradually, I realised that delivery of lectures in online mode is more easy and convenient. As now, I could rewind and review each concept as many times as I needed and learn at my own pace. Online exams haven’t become a hurdle till now, but definitely is a challenging alternate experience. We are provided more time for a few lab activities, and that has made the task much simpler.
Now a days campus is deserted. Roads are empty and a relaxing homely bed for the dogs to sleep. Guess what? I ended up kicking them many times while commuting. But they are sweet enough not to bite me. Presently, laundry and house keeping facilities aren’t available here. So I’m doing all these myself – from cleaning the room to washing clothes.
One day I missed my dinner. I was hungry. Suddenly an idea struck me. A thought of cooking something. I managed to arrange a few packets of Maggi and set up the kettle. Rest, internet provided me all the steps and I prepared my first Maggi. Unquestionably, it was mouth-watering. I learnt a new skill and cooking is no more a big deal for me.
I spend my free time playing chess online with my friends, and if they are busy, with the in-built opponent of the app. Netflix also occupies a small portion of the day. With encouragement from some of my friends, I have started learning app development for certification from EDX and Coursera, using the free subscriptions provided by our college.
Overall, for me this entire period has brought a transformation from taken-for-granted to self reliance; a revolution from “no ways” to “uncountable new ways”. It is a time for self exploration, investigation of surroundings and an opportunity to gain extensive experiences with enormous skills.
Whenever in the future, discussions on a virus or long holidays take place, this entire time will come alive as an unforgettable episode!
Saurabh Prasad is a visually challenged student pursuing B.Tech (Computer Science Engineering) from IIIT Delhi. He is currently in his first year.