In the balancing act, as we slowly transition to normalcy, many are faced with crossroads – picking between vigorous ‘normalisation’ and measured response to the gradual opening up of the world. DU and its students should consider responsible choices.
Around this time last year, India was a month away from being thrown into an unprecedented frenzy, which the world was already struggling to deal with. What followed was a time that warped a great extent of our understanding of time itself, as most of us became unable to see anything beyond our immediate environment, and all our hopes, aspirations, and plans seemed to take a hit.
Marked by loss and despair, 2020 called for a recalibration of our lives, a great deal of sacrifice, and also an opportunity to take a break, step away, and truly evaluate our direction, what we held near to us, and what truly mattered. For the privileged, it also meant a limbo of sorts, characterised by a somewhat favourable sense of peace. For many, it was a time that imparted buoyancy, which stemmed from introspection.
On the one hand, many final-year students of the University of Delhi for whom classes and practical work have begun in offline mode are all faced with the same dilemma, while many are considering a measured response to the gradual opening up of the world, others are unwilling to juggle online and offline lessons, and prefer to stick to digital classes until colleges reopen in full swing. Many are facing financial constraints and those from outside Delhi find themselves not equipped to come back yet. Those who can, are trying to make the most of the limited time back at their campuses.
However, as the world around us opens up, we find ourselves occupied with another ordeal – that of the ‘firsts after forever.’ Our social media is flooded with Friday night selfies and weekend getaways, and vigorously so. This urgent need to compensate for the time lost in the past year with proactive ‘normalisation’, a natural response to the longed-for sense of freedom, though one that comes with the price of exposing oneself to the virus, may not be the most advisable reaction.
The obsession with having productive lives, happening social gatherings, and Instagram-worthy trips are easy to get lost in and comes at another latent cost – that of already impacted mental health. It has become second nature for us to chase our unrealistic wants for satisfaction, and always looking at things through the lenses of gratification, instead of remembering to reach out to the simplicity of gratitude that we had learned to adopt during the past year.
It cannot be denied that there is no escaping from the new normal, but we must bear in mind to not let ourselves get swayed away by the turning tides. Instead of putting unwarranted pressure on ourselves and those around us to make up for the lost time and experiences, we must tread with a sense of cautious sanguineness. We must hold onto things that keep us in good spirits during times of adversity, prioritize, and keep up the balancing act.