Book Excerpt: A Bend in Time: Writings by Children on the Covid-19 Pandemic

A glimpse from A Bend in Time – Writings by Children on the Covid-19 Pandemic (Published by Talking Cub, children’s imprint of Speaking Tiger, 2020)

Introduction by Bijal Vachharajani

Right now, according to the good folx at UNESCO, globally about 1.3 billion children and youth are at home, as schools and colleges shut to try to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The children in this book’s pages are among them. As is most probably you, the reader.

These twelve children and young adults reflect so many thoughts, questions, narratives. The depth of their thoughts doesn’t astound me—children are way smarter than groan-ups. But not all children get to tell their stories. Not all of them have access to the Internet, to facilities, to online schooling, to socially distanced homes and neighbourhoods. While some are safe at home, so many have had to walk for miles to get to their homes. Inequalities have come to the forefront, and it’s vital that privilege be examined and challenged. And so many children in this book are thinking about that.

The pandemic has changed all of us indelibly, irreversibly. Life seems to be marked by Before Covid, During Covid, and After Covid (BC, DC, AC). We have realized that science needs to be celebrated. Nature must be respected. The planet took a pause, a deep breath as humans went into lockdown, at a time when the ramifications of human-induced climate change’s impact is most visible around the world.

But, hope floats. Our superheroes turned out to be people around us—healthcare professionals, scientists, essential service providers, relief workers, animal caregivers. Turns out, it’s a long list. A list longer than all those fictional superheroes if they were to stand in a line together. 

It’s up to us now to figure if we want to go back to business as usual by consuming the way we did before the pandemic—rampant unchecked development ringing a death knell to clean air and water, mowing down the forest homes of animals; buying mindlessly and aimlessly; widening the chasms of inequalities; and endlessly running a human race (come on, rat race is now passé) that is pretty pointless. 

Or do we want to imagine a better future—one that has clean air and water for everyone, where differences are celebrated, equality championed and discrimination eradicated, where governance is fair and just, where animals don’t lose their homes to highway projects and coastal roads, and we can breathe freely and hug our loved ones (we can always hug dogs and cats, silver lining). 

Excerpted with permission from A BEND IN TIME: WRITINGS BY CHILDREN ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC . Published by Talking Cub, Children’s imprint of Speaking Tiger (2020)

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