By – Shayaree Chanda- 2037130

Life is a hustle, and everyone is working hard to make it through. Not one minute is allowed to go waste. As they say, time is money and time wasted is money wasted. With everyone trying to catch up and hold on, we tend to forget something equally important, i.e., to slow down and take rest. That is because slowing down to take some rest means a certain amount of time wasted and if time is wasted you compromise on your future and your goals which is not something you want to do right now.

We had tonnes of things to do, and we found ways to keep going about with our everyday life. But when the pandemic hit, we got stuck with the most challenging thought- What will we do with this abundance of time? Going out was fearful because a tiny microorganism which is not even visible is outdoors while tremendous anxiety is indoors. The changes happening all across the world is vast and scary. But the thing happening inside is scarier. Weirdly enough, we got the time to slow down and introspect, but the last thing we did was introspection.

The pandemic has killed all our lives outdoors and has confined us to the four walls of our house. What is worse? Most of us live in the concrete jungle we call cities with the number of trees going down every day, and now we are stuck in the middle of a pandemic where we cannot even go out. The beautiful nature is outside, and we are stuck inside.

Have you ever heard of something called the Nature Deficit Disorder? It’s the idea that we humans, especially kids, are spending less time outdoors, which could, in turn, cause a drastic number of behavioural problems. Yes, it does sound scary, and yes, this pandemic could be harmful if we stay indoors too. When Prayatna created this session called Vyaan, these might have been the thinking points. It was time to press the pause button.

The organisers made sure that we are ready for this session. They asked us to click a picture of the nearest electronic device and write the first word that comes to our mind when we hear the words ‘electronic device’. The same was done again, but this time it was with plants. At the end of the session, we had an idea about why  all the continuous messaging was happening in the Whatsapp group made for the event. Just keep in mind that, sometimes the solution to a problem is right in front of your eyes, but you fail to identify it.

It was an hour-long session that began with the note that everyone must have the forest app on their phones and must have a bottle filled with water so that we drink water during the session. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Shahana,  our event coordinator/host made sure we do not know about the details in advance and wanted to ensure that the session does not come off as too preachy. As all of us were pumped up already in the WhatsApp group, we were eager to know what will happen next. She made sure to ask a lot of questions so that we would find the answers that would help us gain insight on what we were supposed to learn that day. The solutions are unique to all of us you see as there are some questions with one single answer.

We started by checking our digital well-being, a feature which can be downloaded as an app or can be preinstalled on phones, to tell us how much time we spent with our screens. I was too ashamed to see the number of hours I spent on my phone with twitter being the most used app! We realised how much time we waste and as mentioned before, time wasted is money wasted. But why do we end up wasting so much time on social media?

Weirdly enough we were asked to take the Funeral Test. We had to think about how we wanted the people around us to react when they arrived at our funeral and what is/are the thing/s that we want them to remember about us. It was a scary thing to think, about yourself dying and imagining how others would think of you or react to you. But beyond that, the answer is quite simple and within ourselves. Then there was the question about last time we cried. Again another question that takes a total dive into our soul, sometimes bringing out the dark thoughts we tend to forget or pretend to forget while we are busy leading our lives.

As expected, many people were able to pour their hearts out through the google meet platform while others chose to keep it within themselves. She asked us what stresses us out as well as what is stopping us from achieving our goals? These questions came one by one leading to a meaningful discussion as to how we have become lazy and addicted to social media. Or we are too scared and stressed about our future that even a tiny CIA could give us extreme anxiety. Interestingly these were the first two steps to introspection, but during the session we were not aware of that.

We came to a point where we were asked to write a letter to our younger self (10-15 years old self) as we are from the future, we will know what happens now. Though we were not able to write a full-fledged letter, we wrote down enough points to tell our younger self about their future life. Memories that we cherish or hate floods our minds. Isn’t it obvious we would just stop ourselves from the challenging future that is ahead of us, warn them about every mishap that we might do, or not get scared and worked up and give ourselves hope that time is difficult now but in future we will just be okay?

 Finally, we came to the most exciting part, which is part of the introduction to the Forest App. It is an app that helps us reduce our screen time by planting a tree every time we tell the app that we do not want to use the screen for the mentioned number of hours/minutes. The app produces a virtual sapling which is our time, and it grows as we keep our phones unused during that time. And if we still use our phone then, the plant starts to die. After we earn our virtual coins for building gardens and forests, we tend to spend them. And when we do so, this organisation plants a plant with our name somewhere in the world. We indeed are not that far from nature; we just need to find a way to get closer to it.

We did this for 3 minutes, where we just lay down and listened to the sounds around us away from the electronic devices. We did nothing at all. It was peaceful, and with this, we ended the process of introspection. All we did was to answer the questions and follow instructions. Still, we were observing our situation, analysing it and finally communicating with ourselves to fix the problem or improve on it therefore introspecting.

 Everyone has their way of introspection, and as I have mentioned before, sometimes, the solution is in front of our eyes. This time it was within ourselves. We tend to waste our time doing worthless things like scrolling through our Instagram feed or worrying about simple things. It is the guilt we have that makes us think that if we are doing nothing, we are wasting our time. This session proves us wrong and tells us that doing nothing can be productive too, significantly better than doing something that has little or no value in the long run just to pass our time. It is indeed time for us to pause, rewind, breathe then repeat and this session of Vyaan taught us how to do so.

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