Online classes are a microcosm of the obscure reality we reside in! Only a little more hilarious than usual!
For starters- you are not alone; you are never alone! Yeah! But how can you be alone in a class of 50 odd students- so you would argue. Yeah! Of course, that is true but you don’t expect somebody’s cat attending your class too, do you?! Or how about a cute little dog as your classmate? There might be one’s mother too (however she would be peeking in to make sure that you really are attending the classes and not Instagramming). Only an online class makes that possible- alone, but not quite so.
The entire class shrinks to the size of your screen, with students being nothing more than a few pixels. Who are we, after all, if not a speck of dust (or a pixel) in this endless universe! But leaving the technical aspect aside, the seemingly small class is, in reality, larger than any class otherwise physically possible. Here, Technology and Geography join hands to make it possible. The class runs across the length and breadth of the nation, east to west, south to north and north-east. This tiny microcosm of the class is united by the zeal to learn more ( even while the world is going astray!) and divided by the unseen microbe causing the global pandemic, but then again united by the unseen force of wi-fi or the mobile data. God, these unseen forces are really at some play!
Online classes are not just a tiny replica of the cosmos, but in some instances, it proves to be even greater than that. They, the online classes, come with the bonus of ‘disconnectivity’. One can mute oneself and also turn off the video at one’s leisure without drawing unwanted attention. We have the option of being a silent audience and an invisible spectator to all the proceedings of the class. Do we all not wish that this feature existed in real life too?!
These classes have a metaphysical nature of their own. Believe it or not, there are ghostly apparitions, hallucinations and mysterious voices as well! Why! Somebody’s video gets turned on by mistake and there you have the scariest visual ever! Or worse- somebody’s video freezes with their eyeballs both upturned and their mouth wide-open. Hallucinations occur when you have a momentary glimpse of a strange visual on the screen and then it disappears, while you sit there wondering where did it come from and where did it go. And the mysterious voices? Well, there are instances of spooky voices from unidentifiable sources. No guess is good enough to find out where the voice came from.
Thanks to the pandemic, our existential crisis has worsened. Who are we? Why are we? Who created us? What is our purpose, if at all there is one? Where are we headed next? Online classes, which is also a gift of the pandemic, do but little to mitigate this existential crisis of ours. One wonders what is the need of these classes at all! What did we do with all the knowledge that we petty humans gathered down the centuries- lead the Earth to its doom sooner than expected? Who is there to guide us the correct path?
While I ponder over the pandemic and its problems, our professor loses connection. Our mentor is gone! “What do we do now?” we students ask each other as we stare into our lifeless screens and try to make sense of it.