“I come from Kherapada. My parents are always home but, my brother and sisters go to work. My brother dropped out after his first year in college and both my sisters have passed their tenth. They go to Umargaon for work, which is roughly an hour’s travel from train. I walk everyday for about a half hour’s time to get to school. My parents occasionally scold me for not studying. I like dancing a lot, especially with my friends. We are not taught at school but we dance at home. My sister teaches me. When I grow up, I dream to sing. My parents probably won’t support. They just hope that I pass and if I do, they will let me sing. I study as much as I can to pursue that dream.”
We sulk when we have to sit in a room, which does not have air conditioning; we crib because fans are not enough. We are unsatisfied when our parents give us a piece of their mind for going off the grid, moreover out of concern. We whine when we are denied an outing. However, the day we visited this school, we woke up on the right side of reality. Where the world seemed like a much larger place, a place where everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing of. Children growing up with the mindset that education only means going to school. A place where you’re conditioned to think that the only career to keep you happy is that of being a doctor, engineer or teacher. Children who are abused and yet, silently let their sorrows drown within the walls of a classroom among the chatter. They walk with torn or no footwear on a rugged ground with the hope of a better day. Sometimes, they keep going on and let their lives be dictated with the words of the apparent “older, wiser, and better people”. Their idea of a life becomes the lives they’ve seen before theirs: slogging mindlessly with little returns. As they grow older, the sparkle in their eyes dwindles. It almost comes down to nothing. Innocence is lost, but at what cost? We cannot possibly make every miserable person’s life better, it is a utopian dream. However, empathizing with them is the first step in that direction. Let them fight their own battles, set themselves free from conventional shackles.
Leo Shaili Shah
Leo Club Of Juhu.