Students in Quarantine: A Rural Life

At present, the world has come to halt and there is still big suspense about the future. There is no exact prediction or certainty about the future that; when will we resume our daily livelihood routine. In this period of suffering, people have their own misery to share. Businessmen, shopkeepers, casual labourers, drivers, industries or farmers are the worst casualties of the Pandemic. Among all, Students remain one of the silent victims.

In this period of self-quarantine and pandemic, both school as well as students seemed like they were going on a long vacation. The holidays that began in late spring passed almost mid-summer. The heavy bag, homework and projects are no longer a burden for students. As we are in the era of modernisation the technology has been a blessing in disguise. Students are working from home, online classes have been organised and students are getting some assignments which makes them busy in some worthy activities. In the cities, students may have limited choices of activities but as we climb to the rural areas of Darjeeling, students have plenty of choices to spend the day keeping guidelines of social distancing and sanitation. All the sponsored students of Bijanbari have been keeping themselves engaged in many productive activities along with their studies. The villages here are not so dense, hence not crowded. You can see houses surrounded by many terrace fields. Students are helping their parents by feeding the cattle, rearing chicken and sometimes working in fields to grow crops. As the rainy season is approaching, it is time to sow seeds of the kharif crop and we have the opportunity to help our parents.

Let me describe a typical day in the life of one school going sponsored student. Anushka is 13 years old and studies in class 6. Her day begins with holiday assignments and learning new chapters with the help of a senior girl, Anjali who lives nearby. Anjali studies in class 12. After breakfast they spend their time feeding their goats and chicken. Sometimes they help their parents to collect organic manure for vegetables. They have one common phone among them. They keep their eyes and ears open for any new notification for WhatsApp messages as teachers send homework regularly. It’s not safe to go out in cities but the village is a safe place to live. It’s peaceful and blissful to live here. Social distancing is quite easy to follow here and our sponsored students have more opportunity to walk and play in the green villages of Bijanbari, rather than staying in four corners of the walls in the cities.

– Gyanendra Bhandari