And I Passed My Boards Without Even Appearing For It throws light on life under the duress of the global pandemic, the dilemma faced by school children and the way they had to react to this unwarranted change suddenly thrust at them. Naiyah Prakash, author of the title is just 15 years old and in this brief Q&A, she shares an account of her feelings and experiences during the lockdown.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had always been fond of writing and pursued this passion of mine whenever I had time at my behest. Even while I was in grade ten, I continued to engage myself in writing in my leisure period and those pieces of my thoughts basically consisted of my musings, opinions and experiences of the lockdown phase. Initially, I had no idea that I would collate and get them published in the form of a book. It was my mother who actually came up with the idea and motivated me to write a book.
How has the bitter experience of lockdown [as you have mentioned in your book] changed your personality?
Adversities always have something to teach us. ‘Facing’ or ‘fighting it with full might’ are the two options that we are confronted with, when an adversity strikes. But when it is in its final or later stage, we automatically choose the latter. This is primarily because the worst of situations prepare us to be the best versions of ourselves. Likewise, the lockdown that was triggered by the pandemic transformed my personality for the better. I learnt to be more patient and hopeful and develop an optimistic mindset in my life. Moreover, I got enough time and opportunity to hone my ‘overlooked’ interests and skills and myself as a whole.
What surprised you the most during this pandemic which you have penned down?
There have been a lot of aspects that have surprised or amazed me. One of them which really occupied a place in my mind was the stance of pranks, which too took an online mode, as the requirement of online pedagogy dawned. Pranks, mischief and bunking were some of the routine affairs that continued to enthral us during the good old days. But I was rather bewildered to find how my fellow mates had adapted themselves to the change, while clinging to those moments of bonhomie even during online classes.
Why did you wish to mention the character ‘Anne Frank’ specifically and not any other?
The sole reason why I mentioned the character of ‘Anne Frank’ specifically is because during the total lockdown days, I could relate to her situation the most. Akin to her, I was also made to sacrifice a lot and the list too somewhat happened to be similar … being of the same age, friends, routine life, school, etc. could be related.
What did you mean by the quote, “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war?”
What I meant from the ibid quote is that hard work and persistent efforts always pay. I mentioned this in reference to the board preparation we matriculates were made to undergo, without the physical intervention of our teachers and during a time when everything was uncertain. It was also when many succumbed to cheating and unfair means but few staunchly stuck to their imbibed ideals. I adhered to it to reassure myself of the ensuing outcome.
With all the ups and downs of the pandemic, the one thing that kept you going!
With all the ups and downs of the pandemic, the one thing that kept me going was the incessant motivation which my parents continued to provide me. They ensured that my surroundings did not have an adverse effect on me and I, in turn, used them in the best and most positive way possible. I was to make sure that I turned every adversity into an opportunity.
Do you have any tips or a special message for students who are currently preparing for their board exams?
The present batch has, more or less, realized what all a pandemic has in store for people. They have acquired some insight on how the schooling has taken its online form, with yesteryear’s episodes. All they need to ensure is that they do not get affected by the changes that are brought about by the pandemic. They should consistently work hard on their studies and harbour an optimistic approach in life. This would keep stress at bay, which indisputably acts as an obstacle in the path of learning.