15 August 2018, the 72nd Indian Independence Day. Different people have different opinions on independence. And yet, most people believe that we still are not independent- that independence is a far fetched dream. However, for me it is just another concept. Rather a subjective concept.
I’m in my orange kurti today, celebrating the vivid colors of the nation. I’m glad that I’m among those citizens who can exercise their freedom. Unfortunately, not everyone can.
A few months back, I had these holidays after my 11th standard examinations. Of course, I had nothing much to do and I decided to teach my maid’s daughter. Lets name her Radha. Hardly 11 years old. She assisted her mother in domestic work and went to school only during the exams.
I was more than happy that I could be of any help to her and so, the classes started. She did not have any books and therefore I taught her the basics-alphabet, counting, color names, tables etc. I was amazed how quickly she understood the things. Except for spellings, she picked everything at such ease. The only problem was I didn’t know the syllabus and what more to teach. Radha told me she could get her elder sister Suman’s books.
One day I walked with her to the park. We had a bit talk and then she gave me something. A padlock made of leaves. It was utterly creative I must say. I thanked her but told her not to pluck leaves, explaining they too had life. Maybe, that would have turned out to be a heavy lesson for her so I let it go.
Days passed and the date of exam was ’round the corner and still the books didn’t came. Suman (her elder sister) used to live with her aunt so that she could go to school. Finally, Suman arrived and so did the books. However they turned out to be notebooks. And yet again I was surprised. There were hardly any errors. Even the spellings were right. Suman was no doubt a bright student. However, life was no less than hell on her return back home. She like Radha was forced to do all the domestic work.
A few people complained that the girl seemed lost and couldn’t understand simple instructions. Mummy told me it was all because of the fear instilled in her mind. Suman’s mother used to beat her. The fact that she wasn’t studying anymore made me feel way bad for her…
On great persuasion of mummy, their mother enrolled both of them in a nearby government school. Now they work as well as study.
I had this great yearning for an ice-cream today and so I went to the end corner of the road to get my favourite one. The vendor was a young lad. I asked him his age. 15,he said all smiles. I could have talked more but I had to go back home. I smiled back and walked away, enjoying my ice cream.