Virus diary: Did we need more isolation?


I spoke more than I ever did.

I thought this would be a day of quiet. I pulled out the books and papers I used for writing my dissertation on the history of Higher Education in India, with the intent to turn this into a book-length work. Basically, I was doing what most students do once in a while: Try to read the books they did not read when it was necessary.

But, then, it became a day of calls. From different parts of the world, with different people. Some chat too, long ones. And, unlike a normal business day, this was no business. Rather, it was a festival of relationships.

But this is a perfect time to look back. And, given my current state of life, wanting a pivot in life isn't unnatural. Despite promising to myself never to go back to teaching again, I have lately discovered that it is exactly what I wish to do. Only thing is that I would rather teach History, what I really like, rather than pretend to teach business management.

If anything good comes of this enforced idleness, it will be that I escape all these temporary compromises that define my life up to this point.
 
I admit that neo-liberalism bores me: All those talks about technology saving the world, house prices never going down, of playing the school and college admissions game - I find these utterly mindless. This world was illusory and fragile: It's sad that an epidemic was needed to expose this. But I always lacked the social courage to call the idiocy out. But the Coronavirus has now called it: I hope I don't have to hold it back anymore.

Instead, I genuinely want to pursue my intent to set up the Liberal Education programme that I have been dreaming about. All too often, Liberal Education is confused with Literary Education and I want to avoid that. All too often, Liberal Education is about prestige and rankings and I wish to avoid that too. And, finally, somehow, Liberal Education, at least in India, is confused with traditionalism, and my intent is definitely not traditional. But I see the need for building character, developing curiosity and enabling critical mindset - and above all, equipping students with the attitudes to build unselfish friendships and commit to service: I would rather spend my time developing this educational model than running fools' errands.

This day, when libraries and restaurants closed and life came to a real standstill, I am trying to make a fresh start. And, indeed, I write the same thing every day.




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