Article by- Poonam Naik
Mid – January 2020, we had just come back from our holidays to India and getting excited about the New Year – Back to School 2020, new school supplies, new friends but wait we also heard about a viral infection coming out of Wuhan, China. And suddenly as we were just settling in the new academic year in school, WHO declared Corona virus as a global pandemic. The virus was officially called COVID-19. As we were watching scenes on news and social media, the intensity and virality of its spread began to sunk in more. Lockdown, washing hands, Personal protective equipment and Social distancing were words everyone was listening as new facts and figures were being discovered. The first countries like Italy where it spread like wildfire was very late in taking the steps that China had already taken. Even WHO and USA couldn’t predict its quiet spread. Italy had to be in full lockdown as it had worst cases outside China. By early March, the whole scenario was changing here in Australia too. It was well managed than Italy, Europe and USA. Hoarders had started stockpiling toilet rolls and essential groceries. Panic buying and long queues were seen at supermarkets. The last 2 weeks before school holidays were remote learning from home for NSW kids. Most people who could work from home were asked to do so where it was viable. Australia was also in full lockdown following a full day of Bondi beachgoers not maintaining any social distancing. Social distancing was reflecting in every way of life. As a family unit at home in the Lockdown, we were Hum Saath Saath Hain in the whole phase.
Whatever kind of parent you were – you now had a loaded juggling kind of job role to do other than what you were doing in your pre COVID days. You were expected to assist kids with remote learning from home. As a chef serving more home cooked meals for cooped up bodies at home. To compensate working from home, video meetings were being arranged and there was always that incident of kids zooming in from nowhere in spite of being told not to bother.
School holidays approached and entertaining kids was on every parent’s agenda. With no access to play equipment, no camping holidays allowed in regional cities, no way playdates could be organized – most parents have felt overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious as well. This stay at home opportunity was sold well for parents as well – links to freebie shows to binge on, more easy foods to cook, free courses you could do online. There was lockdown and slowdown. Mum was doing more things she loved – sleeping in even during weekdays and trying new recipes she always wanted to. On the flip side, there was more mess and more chaos than even on normal days or the weekends. It was continuous and the peace of the night was eerie.
The school holidays have finished and I am looking forward to transitioning to life towards normalcy one bit by bit. One of my son went back to preschool 3 days a week. The other son will start school soon. My partner has vowed to work from home till there are no more cases in NSW – he quipped when I asked him casually as to is there any way to go back to office in the near weeks to follow. He laughed away. He knew Mum wanted her peace and reins to the castle. What he didn’t know was everyone wanted a slice of their pre COVID life but not without the safety and well- being of your loved ones.