Wakeup Call

I must say that I would have been a vagabond if an incident in my childhood had not taken place. No one understood, at that time, that if a child is sulking at the thought of going to the school, there must be some reason to do so and something should be done to find ways to help.

Every time I had made an assertion that the primary school is like a prison for me, I was simply told that it is the place where learning happens. To prove it otherwise, I finally ventured to dare my parents to come to the class and see for themselves whether there is any learning happening or not. I told them that I know already everything that is there to learn from that class and I see no point in going there. I was dismissed as ‘Adhika prasangi’, which meant to some extent acting like know all guy, and was told to get ready to go school.

That is when it happened. Very much enraged, I refused leave the house no matter what. The very next moment I found myself being dragged unceremoniously across the steps of my house leading to the small lane, and, on to the lane, and, on the foot path, (alternatively known as pavement or side walk), and, across all pot holes and pits, without any regard to the increasing number of scratches on my body or to the bumps to my head. I was dumped in front of the class room that I never wanted to enter ever again. The teacher could not have recognized me as her student because of the dirt mixed with my tears from my cries had made me look like a kid who just had a mud fight with someone. She refused to accept me and I was glowing all inside and for a moment forgetting all the pain that my tiny body was subjected to, I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

I was rudely awakened by my mother to see, for the first ever time, my teacher being so concerned to utter few kind words to me to say that everything is alright and to say that my mother was only thinking the best for me. She promised my mother that she will take care of me to see what best can be done given the reasons that I had given my mother. I did not get all of that at that time, but I think that teacher must have felt a lot of guilt to think that she made me suffer like that in her class, not because of showing no interest, but because I had already been taught all that needs to be learned in the class.

They If that exchange had not happened between the two, who are considered since the days of our Vedic times as no less than gods, I would not have been here narrating that incident. They remain forever as gods who came to my rescue. I ventured to narrate this incident with the sole purpose of highlighting few things that are viewed differently nowadays.

Firstly, the commitment from my mother to believe that if I do not get educated, I might end up on streets like many she saw daily. Secondly, the teacher who realized that I was far ahead of other kids in her class to make a daring move to request the school principal to put me in the next grade class. I realized later why it was so daring as it was the principal who made the final decision regarding admissions and once made she would not budge from it for any reason. I do not recall everything, but remember being subjected to all sort of tests in her office. I must have surprised her in some ways to make that happen. Happily sitting in the next classroom, I cannot but thank the teacher whose small gesture made a big difference in my life.

This incident is important to compare to what would have happened if the same thing had taken place now. My mother would have been behind bars for child abuse and the teacher would have been recognized as a hero who made a difference in a child’s life. I don’t think my teacher got any recognition for her efforts, but for sure she will be in memory forever.