MY JOURNEY IN “LOCKDOWN”
As an ordinary CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) student, I had a lot of plans after taking my board examinations. The plans being- volunteering at non-profit organizations, devoting a major chunk of my time to work with animals in need, given the fact that I love animals dearly, and want to put in my best effort in order to alleviate their sufferings, joining my favorite place- ‘MANZIL’, (which I had to leave because of my board examinations), travelling to various locations, enrolling in sports like swimming, concentrating more on my hobbies, etc.
Just when I thought everything was perfect, there came this villain called “COVID-19”. It is a known fact that nothing in life comes easy, and there are always two sides to a coin. Similarly, my smooth road of life just got topsy-turvy. A nation-wide lockdown took place and I was devastated. Still trying to keep myself calm, I thought that it was a short phase and soon everything would be okay.
Days passed, and the lockdown kept on getting extended. I started losing hope, everything seemed to be blurry in front of my eyes, I was overwhelmed. Noticing the startling rise in COVID-19 cases every passing day, a tide of negativity seemed to rush past me.
Feeling lonely and extremely melancholic , I thought of reminiscing my most cherished memories. Thinking about all those happy times, I realized how different things would have been, had the lockdown never occurred. I started looking at all the plans I had made, and all the work left for me to complete had the lockdown not taken place. Contemplating over all my plans, it dawned upon me that I hadn’t devoted even a minute to myself. Delving deeper into it, I realized that all these years I had kept myself so busy with other things that I had forgotten to spend time with myself.Thinking of the bigger picture, I started realizing that the lockdown made me irritable and stressed out, pretty much all the time. What I needed was to spend time with myself, comprehend my own needs, my likes and dislikes.
That is how I embraced the aforementioned villain, and befriended this lockdown. I started being alone to listen to what my heart really wanted me to do; I started spending time with my parents and cooking with my brother. I even joined ‘MANZIL’ again, teaching kids as well as adults there, attending sessions on mental health, cultural exchange, etc. This really helped me understand what interested me and in turn, it made me understand myself much more clearly. I knew exactly what I wanted; I had my priorities straight, as a wave of enthusiasm rushed through me.
All the things mentioned above made my bond with myself stronger than ever. I could now understand what exactly made me happy. ‘MANZIL’ was the icing on my cake of life, which completely transformed the meaning of ‘lockdown’ for me. Taking classes at ‘MANZIL’ was surreal. The love and care I receive from the students there literally makes my day. Teaching them and talking to them makes my life meaningful, it brings a feeling of self-satisfaction which is beyond words.
Simultaneously, watching and listening to Ravi Bhaiya’s (co-founder of ‘MANZIL’) interviews on Instagram or YouTube fills me with a new energy. It instils hope and joy in my heart. His speeches where he tells us not to listen to the words but to listen through the words, inspire me every single time.
I feel really lucky to work at a place like ‘MANZIL’, and am extremely glad to be a part of it.Written By Aarti Bhatt, 17, Manzil student and teacher
Edited / Supported by Vanya Jalan, Manzil Volunteer
Aarti has just completed her Class 12th examinations with 89% grade. She is learning advanced level English, and teaches English in junior classes. She loves to spend her free time doodling, cooking and spending time with nature. She likes to make her loved ones laugh.