Monday, July 20, 2009

Being ordinary is extra-ordinary in itself..

Me and Twinkle were sitting in the library. There was a woman who used to come regularly to the library. She would sit in the junior room and help the children to read, colour and paint. We were sitting in the office room and preparing a poster for the Summer Camp. She offered to help us prepare the poster and we started talking.

She said that she was waiting for her son to finish his classes. Ironically, right next to Bakul Children’s Library, there is a ‘Brain Institute’ where children are taught new, path breaking techniques on how to cram. Needless to say, more children attend the cramming-coaching than come to the library!

She started talking to us about her son. Apparently, he was a prodigy. He was the top ranker in his class and scored the maximum marks in every exam. He was also gifted with artistic skills. He painted and had won many prizes at different levels. She then took out from her bag some photographs of her his son with the Chief Minister, the Governor and many other dignitaries. He had had his first solo exhibition at the age of 6 and continues to paint!

I marveled at the exposure that today’s kids got and couldn’t help wondering what I had done as a 6 year old.

We got talking some more and it was all about her son. “Does he get time for studies?”
“Yes, he is the 1st ranker in his class.”
“Does he have any other talents?”
“Yes. He is a singer. He was selected for and participated in “Little Champs”. He can also dance…”

We continued working on the poster and the kid arrived after his class was over.

He was surprisingly young, all of 8 years old. But he didn’t have the mannerisms of a child. He did not smile, or fumble, or goof up. He walked in and picked up a few books. He knew what to do. For some reason, he seemed much older than an 8 year old.

We went to the other room where he had found a book that he liked and was browsing through it. When his mother introduced us to him, he promptly stood up, did a ‘namaskar’ and bent down to touch our feet! Embarrassed as we were, we said it wasn’t necessary. The kid did not seem very interested in us but it looked like he had no option.

“Sing a song for bhai….”
“I want to colour..”
“Just one song, come on song”

The boy started singing an Oriya bhajan, and did it beautifully. After he was done with the song, he sat down.

“Sing a Hindi song also, na…”
The boy hesitantly began singing “Pal pal dil ke paas…”.

But his mom wasn’t done yet. “Now sing a modern song..”
Maa, later…”

Twinkle and me were starting to get uncomfortable. “It’s alright, aunty”, we said.
“No, no…he will sing. You will, won’t you, beta?”.
He began singing “Kal ho na ho..”

Hoping he didn’t have any other talents, we quickly said goodbye and left.

On my way back, I wondered how that little kid would be spending his childhood.How many people's feet he touched everyday and how many songs he sang for them? Did he play cricket with his friends in the evenings? Did he read comics? I was glad that my childhood was extremely ordinary. As a child, I had Chacha Chaudhry, Mithun, Mogli and Sachin Tendulkar. I wondered who the kid had…..


Shiv Sunny said...

Wow!!! This is exactly the writing we expect of you Hriday!!! Great work!! Hope to see many more of such kinds of posts!! :)

shruti said...

Good one dude!!!

disha said...

enjoyed reading.....

Aravind said...

This is one which I liked for no reasons...!