“Even if groups of kids are playing together at home, it’s safer than school,” said Anjalee Karmarkar (38), beginning to sound doubtful even as she said it. “At least here we can keep an eye on them,” added the mother of a nine-year-old.
It was the same story across Mumbai on Thursday.
In a response that was more emotional than practical, the municipal corporation ordered all schools, colleges and even multiplexes shut for up to a week — even though the civic chief had admitted (as HT reported on August 10) that this would not help, since the swine flue virus is in the air.
Meanwhile, the kids barred from class made use of their unexpected holiday to do what kid on holiday do — go to the mall, play with their friends, meet for board games. Thus defeating the very purpose of keeping them out of school.
“Since the kids aren’t even allowed to go out and play, they are making plans to meet and entertain themselves at home, defeating the goal entirely,” said one parent.
In fact, some housing societies even organised group games for the bored children.
As for the college students, many headed straight to malls and shopping complexes.
“What are we supposed to do at home,” said Aman Ahuja (16), a junior college student at the Globus mall in Bandra. “Besides, this isn’t really a crowded place… we’re just hanging out.”
Malls are cleaner than market places, added Aman’s friend Tanmay Bhatia (16).