This 16-year-old Gives Us an Extraordinary Look at New York During Quarantine

Arjun Govind is a 16-year-old teen living in NYC, the epicenter of the Corona pandemic. These days have brought out the creativity in our teens and we absolutely loved this story and this video.

Teen takes video of New York City while riding his bike

First Arjun’s own words,

One day I was riding a subway to school and then almost overnight the entire city shut down. Confronted by this new reality I grabbed my phone tossed it in a plastic bag (rain protection), and hopped on a Citi Bike to witness what had happened to my city. When hurricane Sandy hit New York City, Casey Neistat took to his bike and documented what was going on in lower Manhattan. I was inspired by his film (Shot on an iPhone 8).

His mom, Neeta Govind Vallab, shared the short film in the Grown and Flown Parents Group with this background ,

We live in a 1100 square foot apartment in NYC, the proverbial epicenter of the pandemic. One day, the kids were taking the subway to school, and the next, the city was on “lockdown.” My “unhappy-to -be-back-from-college” daughter moved back home, and the 5 of us hunkered down. The kids have taken this seriously with no contact outside the family and following strict protocols at home, particularly given that my husband is a health care worker.

Like everyone’s kids, it has been hard. Emotionally, our kids are old enough to understand the gravity of this situation–that illness and death were ravaging our city, and that tragedy had already touched our social circles. That has been the heartbreaking backdrop to our attempt to carry on and do whatever normal things we are supposed to do–work and school remotely, attempt to connect socially, just carry on.  

Shared with permission Youtube Arjun Govind

“Remote learning” has been a very bumpy ride (plenty of unpleasant whiplashes) for my son who is a junior in high school, and our neat checklist of “college admissions tasks” has basically been torn up, or burned down.

The opening night of the school opera, which kids had spent months working on was canceled one hour before the show was slated to start, leaving kids stunned by the speed of change, grabbing their belongings in a rush to exit the building quickly. For all practical purposes, the school year is already over, even though the official end date is in June.

My son attends a large public high school that everyone gets to by public transportation. If you have been in an NYC public school stairwell when classes change, you know how fraught the situation is and how unlikely it will be for kids to return to some sense of normal as it relates to school

He won’t get to be the captain of his soccer team (its a contact sport!), and travel soccer won’t be happening for who knows how long. The elaborate theatrical performances he designs costumes and lighting for won’t happen and we are assuming that whatever happens next year, will be mostly or entirely remote.

In the middle of this new normal, he ended up with lots of free time. All the scheduling that kept him busy, basically for his whole life, just stopped. We saw how little time was spent on “remote learning,” or “remote soccer drills (don’t try this in an apartment),” or homework and test prep–all the safe things we believed were going to give him focus and stability and opportunity in the future.

Would he fall behind academically? Would he be prepared for college? Did the work and toil of 12 years of soccer just evaporate in days? Would he live in our proverbial basement as an adult (we have a lot of basement envy these days)? 

He was itching to see what was happening in his city. And he started going for bikes rides each night shooting footage on his phone. He has been interested in film since middle school, but has not had much time to devote to it (see over-scheduling above).

We knew he was planning on making a film, but we didn’t see it until he was finished.

As much stress as this pandemic has put on us, we realized that maybe there was this “door opening” situation we never anticipated. His schedule was so full for so many years, and the minute it was opened up, he gravitated to the thing that motivated him most and he made this.

There is very little we can add to the story because the footage speaks for itself. And we know you’ll agree that it’s extraordinary.

(via Arjun Govind)

Grown and Flown wants to thank Arjun and his mom Neeta for sharing their work with us. The original post is here.

More to Read:

In a Time of COVID, Hug Your Kids, Because Some Parents Can’t

The Agony of Social Distancing for Adolescents

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

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