Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Much to cheer about

I was all set to write a rather dismal blog on the limited options available for schooling in my town,but felt the need to share one of the most cherished, uplifting and beautiful experiences ive had at work.
Few years back,a rather nervous looking gentleman stood outside my office .I called him inside , very reluctantly he entered after removing his rather worn out sandals.I offered him a chair but he remained standing in front of my desk.I was getting a little impatient and irritated by then and asked him the purpose for his visit.
He had come to seek admission for his just over 2 yr old daughter.He told me he owned a very small shop across the road and was illiterate.The day his daughter was born ,he decided that she was going to be his only child as he wanted to give her the best education available in the town.It was his dream to send his child to my school.He thought he was not worthy of the institution and stood with folded hands pleading to consider his daughter for admission. I was overwhelmed by this mans humility, honesty and sincerity of intent.Moved, I reached out and clasped his hand in mine ( a gesture which flouted all rules of propriety of this small town) and told him that he was very worthy and it was my privilege to take his daughter as my ward.I will never forget the look of disbelief, relief and pure joy as he broke down and wept...
2 months later, the couple was sitting in front of me as i was filling out the forms for admission for them.when i inquired about the phone number, the lady ,embarrased told me that they were going to acquire a cellphone soon ,till then if i ever needed them i could just ask my security guard to yell across the road! I sat there sporting my broadest ever smile as i filled out the rest of the form.When the time came for payment of fee ,the lady took out two thick wads of notes and placed them on the table.For the second time in two months i sat humbled,guilty ...for the first time ever hating my job.In front of me were crumpled 100 ,50 10 and 5 rupee notes ,with trembling hands i wrote out the receipt and remained pensive for the rest of the day.
Khushboo, their daughter was a bright, spirited child with amazing self confidence.She went on to procure admission in the best school of the town. The parents visit me once in a while and proudly show me certificates awarded to their daughter for various competitions.I find myself leaving my work and rushing out to greet and escort them to my office.
6yr old Khushboo now teaches her mother ..:-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

oppressive education..

My first blog , deeply felt often disturbing observations of the approach towards education in small towns.
Should education be an instrument of oppression for children and parents alike or an act of liberation?
I run a small playschool in a provincial town in the state of Bihar.I am often accused by parents of overindulging a child as they want to come to school on weekends and even when they are sick.When did unhappy stressed out children become synonymous with 'GOOD EDUCATION'...I wonder..