Monday, 15 August 2011

Taste of a different world from a different view

It was a wonderful week in terms of the couple of experiences I chanced upon.

Mom and I went to T.nagar to pick up a couple of things we needed. I was looking for chunky traditional earrings. I was scanning the platform shops as we were walking past. This one guy had a very pretty pair of earrings and as I was getting ready to show-off my bargaining skills I noticed this kutti(small) kid standing by the side of the store. The store guy asked him to take put mom’s million-specifications carrying pottu from the sides. He jumped up trying to reach the shelf. So I moved forward o help him. Some thing came upon me to talk to this kid while mom bought some more things. His name was Xavier and he went to a nearby school. 7th grade. The store guy was his mama and he used to accompany him in the evenings when he was bored. It was a very tiny bit of my day, those few seconds of conversation. Nevertheless was heart-warming to know him. I left asking him to do well in studies. It went back to my thoughts on how it would be to read minds, to talk to every person I see, to know what goes on in their minds, to know who they really are. Oh and btw, the store guy was impressed with my little rendezvous and gave us impossibly cool prices. Haha.

I was waiting for dad to pick me up from the office campus. There is an auto stand right there and I was standing next to one of the autos. This auto driver walks up to me from behind and suddenly says ‘amma’. I had taken an auto from this stand once before and he charged me SUCH a humongous price that I naturally took a hatred to the guys at the stand. All my protective, survival, just-scared-like-shit, call-it-whatever-you-want instincts came alive and I replied in a rude, trying-to-hide-that-I-am-guarded tone ‘enna, enna, venum’ (What, what do you want?). HE replies in a kind tone. ‘B.A economics nalla padippa maa?’ (Is B.A Economics a good course?) I however overlooked the tone of this question and my instincts gained strength as my crooked mind told me that he was trying to distract me while some other guy would now come and snatch my abg. So I held my bag closer to body and said ‘Yen, nalla padipu thaan. Ethuku kekaringa’ (Yes, It’s a good course, why do you want to know?). He stared off saying how his daughter has just completed her class twelve and that she scored 55% in her exams. Around this time I dropped all guard and got interested. He belonged to SC category. One of the numerous footprints of India’s ridiculous caste system. A child from the Scheduled Castes category is treated like she doesn’t deserve education. The varied sensibilities of the society fail to see that she has scored that mark without the support of her illiterate parents and the luxury of long hours of practice a regular child get. All right, I can go off track very easily. Coming back to the auto driver. He wanted to educate his girl and a college professor advised him to enrol her in a B.A economics course. Seeing me, he wanted to know what I thought about the idea. And I spoke normally. I asked him what she was interested in studying and told him that he should indeed provide her with education. He wants her to earn enough to be independent. It was nice to see how some people were thinking ahead of their peers and not just stopping the girl child’s education after high school. I prayed she fulfils her father’s dream and her own for all good.

It was the one day before I left for Uni. I chanced upon this NGO, which works with poor kids and enhances their education by providing additional tuitions. They teach art, math, songs and other basic enrichments. I went to meet this bunch of kids in Besant Nagar. Sad old government building from the outside. Exciting with colours and patterns on the inside. Much like the kids themselves. Oh my and were they pretty. There were about 20 of them. All were between the age group of 4 – 11. They greeted me with all the warmth. I had planned a little origami session with them. They huddled in circles around and overwhelmed me with their chants of ‘akka akka akka’. They learnt what I taught them with such passion. A couple were quick in the head and even became my teaching assistants. One or two even knew how to work their way around a laptop. That day, I spotted so much potential in that room. It was an eye-opening evening.

Little one-minute things that made me think. The world can be a better place with more opportunities reaching the less privileged. God gives equal capacity to all man. It’s the process he goes through that makes one a grace and another a disgrace to the society. One day, I wish to provide all the opportunity I can afford to kids like these. That’s enough to help India.