BHOPAL: Vandana Singh Parihar is desperately waiting for the schools to reopen. No, she doesn’t own a school nor is she is a teacher. She runs a boutique and is the mother of a class nine student. She finds herself overburdened. She has to run the household without maids (who are not coming due to Covid), manage her boutique and supervise her son’s online classes. “I don’t have a moment for myself,” she told Free Press.
And Vandana is one of the scores of mothers in the city who don’t know what to do with their children staying at homes the whole day. Schools in the city are closed for almost five months now. And that has become a nuisance for the mothers. Besides their usual work, they have to double up as teachers. As for the fathers, they conveniently leave for their offices in the morning and are back late in the evening.
“A teacher sitting at a remote location can supervise the children only so much. She cannot pull them up, she cannot punish them,” says Sucheta Singh, who has two daughters – one a student of class six and the other of class nine.
The online classes of her daughters begin at 8 am and continue till 1.30 pm. But that doesn’t mean any respite for her. “They play all sorts of tantrums. My younger daughter sometimes switches off the video so that her ma’am cannot see them. At other times, she simply deletes the homework given to her. And of course, both fall asleep during the classes. I have to make countless rounds from the kitchen to the place where they are studying to ensure that everything is fine,” she says.
And things do not stop here. Her daughters take online tuition classes from 4 pm to 5 pm and then Bharatnatyam and Kathak classes from 6 pm to 7 pm, which is also online. Sonia Soni is equally harried. “My routine has gone haywire,” she says. Her elder son is in class seven and the younger one in class one. “They are busy with TV and mobiles the whole day. And what alternative can I offer them? I cannot even ask them to go outside and play,” she says.
The children have never had it so good. “Accha lag raha hai,” says Rohan, her elder son, who says that he studies for ‘thoodi der (some time)’ online. The younger one, Manas, says he spends just 15 minutes with his books. “Wahan to madam hoti hain na,” he explains when asked how he managed to study for six hours in the school.
Of the three children of Pinky Verma, the eldest, Khushi, studies in class ten. “She is very tense. She doesn’t know how she will manage to complete her syllabus, especially since she has to appear in the board exams,” says Pinky. Homes have become jails for the children, she adds.
Megha Murankar, the mother of two primary school children, says she receives notes for them through WhatsApp. “I have to understand the notes myself first and then figure out how to explain it to them in a manner in which they can understand it. And this is not easy,” she says.