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  • Children seek a change; Wish to travel to make up for a year of gloom and confinement

    Published on February 24, 2021

    Bengaluru: Children around the world have been walled in ever since the pandemic took grip of cities and towns. From within the safety of their homes, they lived a narrowed down existence. All the while they yearned for the life outside and for reaching out to the world. The impact of the long months of confinement would probably be studied over the years on how it impacted children and their attitudes to life and its vagaries. But as the world looks to a brighter tomorrow with the arrival of viable vaccines, it is interesting to see how the children saw their dreams for the year ahead.

    While enough and more has been said and debated about the effects of the pandemic on business and the economy, the psychological effect brought about by this unforeseen contagion on people, especially children, has rarely been deliberated upon. Excursion and travel have long shown to be essential for overall development of a child and the restriction on movement for months on end, can prove traumatic to the budding minds.

    redBus, the world’s largest online bus ticketing platform and part of the MakeMyTrip group set out to understand the travel aspirations of children, in the age group of 6 to 13 years, by asking them to illustrate their dream destination. For this, redBus reached out to children in every geography that it has its footprint in, namely India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Peru and Colombia.

    The organization received hundreds of illustrations from children across these countries. Beaches, backwaters, hometown, monuments, hill stations, metro cities and national parks among others, took space in the minds of youngsters, eagerly waiting to travel in 2021. The urge to travel and rejuvenate could not have been expressed with greater enthusiasm and detail by the children and this is clearly a wake-up call for parents and guardians to take up this activity with earnestness. While it is important for children to travel from time to time, it is best undertaken within the ambit of the guidelines on safety, especially with the virus still at large.

    Below is a collage of the artwork submitted by children and quotes from some of them.

    12 year old Anantisha Ghosh from Konnagar, West Bengal said “My father showed me a video of the Taj Mahal one day, on YouTube. Ever since, I’ve always wanted to spend a full day there and take pictures!”

    7 year old Gauri Manoj from Bangalore said “2020 was normal for me, but I couldn’t go to school or the park. In 2021, all I want is to have fun with my friends, build sandcastles on the beach and play in the water!”

    13 year old Lintang Ayu Nasika from Pondok Ranji, Indonesia said “I want to visit Semeru Mountain because it is one of the highest mountains in Java Island and symbolizes the beauty of Java,”

    6 year old Muhammad Adam from Sungai Petani, Malaysia said “I want to go to Cameron Highland at Pahang state, because I want to visit the strawberry farm there. Then, I want to go to Gua Kelam in Perlis state and explore the caves there. Then, I want to visit Pulau Pinang because I want to eat ‘Mee Mamak’ at Padang Kota. Lastly I want to go sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur.”

    10 year old Diego Maryanovich from Huaraz, Peru said “Besides Machu Picchu, I also want to visit the beaches of Mancora and swim in those crystal clear waters. I love the seascape.”

    Sharing her views on the psychological impact of the pandemic among children, Dr Arvinder Singh, Consultant, Psychotherapist Director, at Ashoka University, said, “In any situation that threatens safety and security, children need to feel safe both physically and psychologically. This feeling of safety primarily comes from the messages from their parents and caregivers. Ironically, parental angst and social isolation during the pandemic have both been the most important sources of mental health concerns of children. Therefore, it is important that any intervention planned for children must include their parents.  ”