๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ Hope in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Telangana, India:

I study in a college in Bangalore, India and got to know of the coronavirus scare
in early March. We were afraid but never expected such a big thing to happen.
We were supposed to have our end semester exams for the second year in
college a few days later when we received a message that it would be
postponed by a month due to the Covid scare. Fortunately I booked bus tickets
and went home (to Hyderabad) immediately, a week before our country went into
lockdown. Some of my friends were not so lucky and were stuck in flats or PGs
near college and could not go home.

Lockdown was announced in our country on March 22, 2020. It kept getting
extended until around May 22, 2020. Our domestic help did not come till May 3
or so and I helped with domestic chores during that time.

During lockdown, eventually most things such as malls, theatres, travel and
much more got shut, with the exception of grocery stores. Slowly, things started
relaxing and food and other deliveries were allowed. All were required to wear
masks when stepping out and only one or two people per family were allowed to
go out, only for essentials, especially in the strict phases of the lockdown. There
were police patrols in various places, even in our locality sometimes. I had
heard reports of police beating offenders but do not know of its authenticity.

Our Prime Minister announced some events such as clapping for the frontline
workers and lighting the lamp for hope. Our family participated in these
wholeheartedly. Yet we were often skeptical as there was a lack of a proper plans
to support the affected people and to help India recover. In later parts, the concept
of #Vocalforlocal and Atmannirbhar came up to support our economy to get
rebuilt.

Back home in Hyderabad, we live in a peaceful isolated community with lots of
green around. Our home is away from the main city. I love taking walks in the
fresh air here and doing simple things like looking at the beautiful sky. And it was
great to be back home with my family after a few months of staying away.

After the lockdown, I hardly went out of my locality but I would go for walks
with my father within the community and we bonded a lot as a result. Within
our community, no one really stayed inside the house but we tried our best to
maintain social distancing while stepping out for walks.

For groceries, we often got online deliveries as a community or my father would
go to nearby areas and get the essentials.

If at all anyone steps out from our locality, they wear a mask and take the
necessary precautions. I am a part of an environmental organisation called
Beautiful Bengaluru and we are running a campaign to stop the habit of spitting
which is very prevalent in our country. It is the right time to initiate the campaign
as spitting could cause a spread of infections as well. Thus we printed out โ€˜No
spittingโ€™ posters in regional languages and put it up in nearby areas.

I have been really busy during this time and hardly get time to feel bored. I was
supposed to do an internship in a newspaper organisation in Chennai. Because
of the lockdown, I cancelled that plan and am instead doing an online digital
marketing internship for 3 months, which is keeping me busy. Iโ€™m doing online
courses too. I also did some writing, singing and made a few videos for
professional and personal purposes. Apart from these, I have been going for
walks, listening to music and sometimes watching movies and shows, though I
donโ€™t have too much time for that now that online classes have started too. I
also continue to chat with some close friends. I also meet some neighbours in
my locality and we talk at times. So I am not alone.

Our college exams kept getting postponed due to the uncertainties of the
situation and finally we were told that we were provisionally promoted and
would have our exams whenever the college opened physically. However, final
year students are having online exams currently (the first weeks of June) and they are
finding the process pretty difficult.

I started having online classes from college around May 15. We would have
classes Monday to Saturday with one or two subjects a day, with 2-3 hours
allotted to each subject. Apart from the lectures, we were given multiple
asynchronous readings and assignments.

There are pros and cons to the online class. For one, we could switch off our
camera and eat or do things while listening to the class without the teacher
knowing. However, we all missed regular classes where we could have the experience of meeting our teachers and friends and exchanging a lot of things
besides knowledge too. Some of our teachers felt disoriented too as they could
not see and hear the class they were teaching and thus requested us to keep
responding on audio for some reassurance. The subjects are mostly fun and
interesting and we are doing it well. In fact, I feel we are studying a lot more
now due to the continuous mode of readings, quizzes and assignments allotted.
It is a new age of learning surely.

It sometimes gets stressful managing classes, assignments, internships, online
courses and other activities at once, but I am managing well so far.
I often feel stressed due to the huge amount of negative events that are
happening in 2020 – Australia fires, political instability in the beginning of the
year, Covid-19 and the resulting migrant crisis, cyclones, locusts, a gas attack,
the attack on Blacks and many more. Social media and traditional media all
continuously talked about these and it did get pretty disheartening.

Yet I continue to hope that things would change for the better. I am also seeing
a lot of creative content and positive stories of people helping each other and I
find that all hope is not lost. I am keeping busy and learning new things and
discovering things about myself and the world. Yes, things are uncertain, but
this too shall pass.

Ananya S.

3 June 2020

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