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The day seemed to be promising. Sun was warm, trees shining and roads little less dusty. The bus today was only 20 minutes late; somehow managed to reach my destination on time and besides I had a place to sit throughout the journey. I love Thursdays for a reason. A reason that I think is worth all the effort; A reason that would make me one among those who care; One among those who travels 60 km to come to a village, once a week, to teach some 25 or so kids.
As I got down the bus, the small school ground in front of me seemed half-empty. That would mean not all kids were at school.
“Oh God! Not again”, I thought. A kid not at school would typically mean the parents changing their opinion about the school and the education.
“Okay. Relax. We can go to those parents and talk them through this. We have done this already. It’s possible.” I assured myself. Though this would mean that these kids missing their lessons and the other teammates from my organization coming over to the village for additional counseling.
As I entered the school, I heard synchronously echoing voices. “Plants-need-water-and-sunlight”. The kids should have seen the bus coming and assembled in the class already. It was so relieving to listen to those voices.
“Good morning”, I said as I entered the class room, with a lot of excitement in my voice.
“Gooooood Morningggg”, multiple voices responded with much more excitement. Faces bright and cheerful.
The class room was full now. It was hard to believe that once it was so difficult to make these kids come to school. The continuous and persistent persuasion finally did it. Kids started showing up at school. The stereotypical class text books were replaced with interesting picture books, puzzles, games, fun exercises. Kids are a regular to school now. All the assignments are now completed with ever growing enthusiasm, each time. Each class, with each teacher, they now request what they want to learn about. Most of the students could write now. It gave great self-esteem and sense of achievement to each one in our organization thinking about the change we could bring in these children’s lives.
The children were still smiling looking at me. As if I was missing something. And suddenly it struck on me. Today was the results day.
Last week, each of the class members was given an assignment: to grow a plant. Each of them picked up the plants they wanted, they had instructions to grow the plant for a week and they were all holding the priced possessions in their laps now.
“Okay…Who has the healthiest plant?” I looked around the class examining each plant. “So…there it is…” I said pointing at Indu’s rose plant.
Indu stood up showing off the plant to the class as all the students clapped their hands.
The whole class now waited in excitement, holding their breaths, as I took out of my bag a Polaroid instant camera.
Indu jumped into the front of the class.
As her smiles spread as wide as the horizon, I said, “Good job Indu. Here is your gift. Your picture on the wall.”
The class clapped again and again as the camera clicked and produced an instant picture. Indu’s smile was still as bright as ever.
“Next stop Mountain View”. Familiar train conductor’s voice drifted my thoughts to where I actually was. I looked around. Greener countryside, smaller class room with cheerful children has changed to a hustling bustling town in the chilly winter evening. The train was slowing down.
“Was it just a thought?” I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, it was. All of a sudden the satisfaction of a fruitful day, the self-esteem and the sense of achievement were lost. I am going back home from just another day of work that brings me nothing but money. The concept of good life no longer made sense with the work that helps no one but me. I wish it really was the day I was pasting Indu’s picture on the wall as the whole class looked in awe. I wish it really was day when they would ask me how a plant grows or the day when I helped them understand how important and fun education is.
“My thoughts will come true one day”, I said to myself as I alighted the train.
Here is hoping that it would be every one’s dream and a dream come true one day.