Parentrap Children

Here to stay

Illustration: Sahil Upalekar

Illustration: Sahil Upalekar  

Hello! It’s me, your friendly neighbourhood Bug Boy, back from a brief vacation with the grandparents.

You know, I want to say that going away and chilling with the grand folks was just the break I needed from this pandemic. That all I did was eat gulab jamuns for breakfast, read comics and plan the roll out of my epic multi-media empire (YouTube channel, graphic novels, t-shirts, snack bars), and that online school and COVID-19 were a distant memory.

But trust grown-ups to ruin your plans for world domination.

Our History and Geography teachers joined hands to dump a massive research project on us over the mid-term break. And I’d have loved it if the topic was something like Manic Mughals or Pole-axed Pandavas or Murderous Monsoons and Dead in the Desert. THAT would have been fun to research.

But when have teachers ever made life fun and easy?

Our topic was… wait for it…

PANDEMICS!

Dark humour

I mean, if you thought your teachers don’t have a sense of humour, meet mine. But their sense of humour is pure evil. We had to pick a pandemic and research about its origins, spread, impact, and how it ended.

So, instead of socially distancing myself from the pandemic, I found myself going back in time to meet a whole host of them.

Did you know that we’ve had pandemics around since 3000 BC? That the first plague (there have been something like eight plagues in history) was in Athens in 430 BC? That the flu is really short for Influenza, which has taken all shapes and forms (Spanish Flu, Avian Flu, Swine Flu) through time?

But I have to say the most interesting pandemic I read about was the Dancing Plague of 1518. The outbreak began when a woman began to dance feverishly (pun intended) in a street in Strasbourg, Germany. Soon, more women joined in, and the dancing did not stop for days. Apparently, it lasted for such a long time that doctors had to put the dancers in a hospital. If you think about it, this was clearly the first flash mob in history. I wonder what they danced to?

Well, as depressing as reading about pandemics was, the project also gave me a little hope. How? Well, it seems like humankind has been battling pandemics for a super long time now. Not just for the last few months. And even though each pandemic is horrible and sad and difficult, we manage to make it through to the other side. So, if you think about it, COVID-19 can’t hang around forever, can it?

I like to think that, 100 years from now, some 12-year-old is going to be writing about COVID-19 for his/her school research project. Because pandemics may come and go, but homework is here to stay forever.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:36:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/here-to-stay/article32257747.ece

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