COVID-forced Chrysalis . . . and know what? We have spread our wings!

Author : Vedavalli Ramanujam

The new born, less than a year old has re-written just about everything . . . interesting to know that it weighs less than a gram in total, living in so many bodies and has changed every human’s life significantly.

It threw us all in the deep end of the pool, with no idea about the time it is going to take or the seriousness of it knocking our front doors. March 15 - when we at Mirra chose to close the institute based on advice from medical community and the Government, we had no idea of the changes we were going to accept and adopt. Days rolled, helplessness and uncertainties shook us all, made us sweat; and when the lockdown extension was announced, we were all resigned to the fact more or less. By now, as a community, most of us were out of feeling helpless and finding new skills to learn or old skills to polish. Most of our children fell into the pattern of pitching in with the chores and accepting being home as the new norm.

With no end to lockdown in the horizon, we started wondering about meeting our students again, this time on the other side of the monitor. We had to revisit our NO GADGET policy. When we asked whether our students and families were ready, we were overwhelmed with the response as usual.

By then, Saritha - in-house technology expert - was continuing with the PBAEMP classes from Day 1 of Lockdown. That gave us the needed confidence to venture into virtual classes. What a beautiful new world it turned out to be!

It was interesting to realize that suddenly all of us were resourceful to conduct online classes. A quick rethinking and re-aligning of process and . . . voila! We started sending documents with our lesson plans. Peek a boo game changed to ‘Guess who’ behind the mask - what better way to get your child to get used to the mask. Parents stepped up as our partners by the student’s side to take it up and go forward, all the while maintaining screen time outside of sessions to minimum.

The questions are still being answered, on the other end of a phone. A virtual shoulder to lean on is extended; a quick word of encouragement is dispensed in the middle of the session. The new normal is also taking care of all those things that the ‘in person’ sessions did, with the social distancing of many miles of course.

It is a pleasure for us to see the parents taking an active role and enjoying the process and the children accepting and understanding the virtual classes.

The disequilibrium caused by lockdown is pushing us still. Last week, we conducted a webinar. It was for the Mirra Early Intervention program - our head therapist Durga’s pet project. The storytelling workshop conducted by Divyatha, Art based therapy practitioner, had packed all the needed information, right from a demo to how to prepare the kit, all in one short hour. It was such a smooth success, we are still grinning.

We have come a long way within a month of starting virtual classes. From ‘Hello . . . can you hear me?’, parallel talking and resulting cacophony to waiting for our turn to speak out of necessity . Now we know. If you want to be heard, wait for your turn.

It has been a wonderful learning experience, which if not for CoViD-19, might have taken years of kicking and screaming. Happy to have spread our wings at this time of crisis. We can vow like Vodafone now, ‘You and I in this beautiful world’. Wherever you go, our network follows.

Thank you everyone for your continued support and for being there for each other.