Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A Close Bond

A few years ago, while teaching a piece of poetry to adolescent ninth graders, i happened to ask them if they would like to share something about their family life.
Their response was virtually a glut of emotions....a normally reticent child spoke of his difficult life at home with his new dad and his beautician mother, another narrated his grandpa's funny eccentricities, a girl hesitatingly confided how her mother had deserted her a few years ago, another girl's parents had expired in an accident and she lived with her grandparents and uncle's family, a boy spoke of his parents' expectations from him........ As they opened up their hearts, we became one-they were no longer students and i not their teacher!
The usually boisterous class fell silent, not a pencil dropped, no scratching of pens, no pulling or creaking of chairs...the unveiling of so many diverse emotions helped ease out the hesitation in the other children. Many eager hearts seemed ready to burst out their secrets.
I shut the door to drown out the noise of passing feet and children playing in the playground.
A few minutes later, another student-a new admission-stood up to reveal his family story. Originally from Kumaon, his father had struggled much in life, got education with much difficulty and now he wanted to provide his son and daughter the best education posible within his limited means. While sharing his father's dreams, he suddenly burst into tears! His friend sprang to his feet immediately and hugged him to steady his heaving frame. I too rushed to him and calmed him down. Others looked on-concern and empathy writ large on their faces.
The bell rang. It was recess. Not one student cheered or rushed out of the class. That one hour of shared joys and sorrows had erased the differences and diversities of status, caste, religion, gender......
Many more such moments followed.......they fought amongst themselves, had crushes, family problems, growing up issues, tussle with the management, fights with students from other classes. Many a times PTMs turned into Parents' Training Meet, i would be counselling parents rather than their wards.
Sometimes, when i was feeling down and out, they could sense it almost involuntarily.......a smile here, a word of concern there and an offer for help would lift my sagging spirits within no time.
Two years flew away. They were to appear for their boards now and were more serious towards their studies and career. It was at this point that i realized they had grown up so fast and some were now going to move away to other schools, ending 6-7 years of constant togetherness.
This poem was an outcome of such intense moments when a close bond was forged between the teacher and taught. With some of them, the bond still goes strong!
Here is the poem:
To Children......With Love!
It seems like yesterday when
They walked into my playpen,
The flock-young and naive, some hesitant and nervous,
Some confident and full of smiles.
One held my hand,
Another told the story of Lion King Grand,
Yet another climbed the window to swat a fly,
His friend hid under the desk to escape my eye.
And thus began the story of our friendship.
Of sharing sweets, chocolates and spicy chips,
Of graduating to A for Absent and B for Bunking,
Gradually learning the ABC of a Happy Life.
Lovingly I presided over my brood,
And helped them find
The difference between rude
And refined.
Together we learnt to love, enjoy, share and care,
To accept dislike, disagreements and failure,
To deal with anger, disappointment and despair,
All things in life, fair or unfair.
It's amazing how time flies!
The flock too, is now matured and ready to fly,
Raring to touch the heights of the skies,
It's time to loosen the strings, let go and bid good-bye,
Wishing them all the best,
To do well in all their life tests,
With courage, grit and determination,
And bring laurels to themselves, their family and nation.

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