Today, i will be penning down a very strong incident that really took me by surprise and helped me in realizing what lay ahead. This actually showed me the gravity of the job that i had undertaken. This article will mention a conversation i had(my very first with him) with Farhan, on my very first day at my school in Delhi. I penned down this experience in my diary and am just reproducing it here.
It so happened that on the first unofficial day of my school, i had started 4 days earlier than what i was expected to, i wanted to spend my time interacting with the kids of my class trying to connect to some of them before entering the classroom to teach. Following this strategy i was fetching kids one by one from the classroom and having a private chat with them. The first 3 kids that i brought out were Vinay, Bhavna and Sumit respectively. All three of them have very cute faces and great smiles and their different expressions kept the conversation alive. The 4th kid was however different, he had this kind of weird, neutral expression on his face that just didn’t change. Yes, that expression remained on his face throughout our talk, he didn’t even once smile nor frown throughout the talk. He just kept dispalying that straight,serene expression on his face throughout. This is how i had my first talk with Farhan, a very intelligent and matured kid from my class. His maturity will put most of us adults,these days to shame.
While i was having the talk with Farhan, i was asking him a range of questions which began with his likes, sports and subjects to the teachers in school that he likes and then moved to his family. It was here that i was in for a shock for i was about to get an answer i had least expected. When i asked him where he lived his reply was that he lived in a mosque. Now, thinking that his dad must be the person responsible for either the prayers or managing the mosque i asked my next question: ” What does your Dad do?” Pat came his reply : Bhaiya, abbu ka intekaal ho gaya hai(Bhaiya, my father is no more). Now, the kid said it so point blank and without any change in his expression(not even a slight twitch) that it took me by surprise. Of all the answers in the world, this was the one i had least expected. The impact of the answer magnified because of the simple fact that the kid was able to say it so simply, so easily, so coldly, without it affecting him in any way. I was sitting there shocked for atleast a minute before i had the courage to probe him further. However, he continued with the answers yet again with that same expression. He didn’t even notice that my expressions had totally changed. It seemed to me as if he noticed nothing in one instant and in the very next instant, i felt as if his serene expression said it all aloud: the fact that he understood it all. I probed him further and came to know about his full family. So, this kid has 2 sisters, both elder to him and his mother has never worked in her life. They all lived in a mosque, all in one tiny room, all of them without any source of income whatsoever. His education has been taken care of by a distant uncle, who though wasn’t that much interested in caring for the facts whether his sister’s studied or not.
Confused and still shocked by the depth of the conversation i had just had with a 8 year old kid, it all hit me suddenly: This was the reason behind this kid’s lack of emotion. This was the reason as to why the kid neither showed excitement when anything good happened nor sorrow when anything bad happened. He just showed that neutral, serene expression. He had just learned to accept it all, whatever came his way. The kid’s maturity at such a tender age,just 8 years, over-awed me. Farhan, Kiddo you are a real rock-star and the fact that you are so calm even after seeing so much at such an early age speaks wonder about your maturity. In-fact, your maturity puts your bhaiya to shame, i am still such a kid myself. Thank you for teaching bhaiya such a valuable lesson on his very first day and also for showing him a brief trailer of what lay ahead and the responsibility he is about to shoulder. I really hope Bhaiya can rise up-to your expectations and also learn from you on getting some of that calmness, which you possess so in abundance, into his high entropy life.
P.S: It has been 3 months since this incident and i would like to inform all of you that Farhan now smiles often in my class and at times even talks to me on his own. He is also doing great in his studies, esp in Maths. Below attached is a picture of him smiling: