It was the first day of Standard 6 and Section B, Pakhi’s section was buzzing. Pakhi sat content and smiling happy to be with her classmates again when there was a sudden hush and the Principal arrived along with their class teacher, Mrs Fernandes and a boy- a lanky boy with a lopsided grin.
“Good morning,class”, she said.
“Good morning Madam”, they chorused.
“Well we have with us Aditya a new entrant to our school. He is a special child of God so be nice and kind to him. Wish you the very best for this school term” she said and was gone
Special child, aren’t we all special to God wondered Pakhi.
“Abhishek will you please move to the next bench and Aditya will sit with Pakhi”, said Mrs Fernandes. Ugh thought Pakhi, she hated changes. Abhishek and she gelled well and now he was being moved.
When school got over, Mrs. Fernandes gave Pakhi a letter to be given to her parents. She thought it must be something to do with her grades and hopped off.
Evening as usual as soon as her mother arrived Pakhi started her banter about what happened, what all she did etc. “Mummy you know there is a new boy in our class,Aditya. he looks bigger than us, must be a failure. He writes when he feels like and not when the teacher dictates” giggled Pakhi, An do you know Principal said he is a special child, but mummy aren’t we all special.” and on and on she went, but her mummy had stopped listening after the term special. “And yes mummy, MUMMY” yelled Pakhi.
“Madam gave a letter for you and Dada, see” she said and scampered off.
Mr. And Mrs.Sharma it began
We have a new child Aditya , a child with special needs. We have decided to place him next to Pakhi. We know you may have objections to this but Pakhi has an understanding and patience which very few of her age possess. But she lacks assertiveness and is also shy. We believe that this liason will be beneficial to both.
In expectation of your cooperation
On behalf of the staff -Vidya Niketan
Late in the night Mr and Mrs Sharma whispered amongst themselves, “Rahul I don’t think this decision is right”, Mummy said
“Aanchal, Have to trust their judgement, Don’t you remember that when most of the staff were against Pakhis admission because she couldn’t yet recite ABC in her Pre primary, Principal agreed to take her saying that she had gifts which other kids didn’t have. Wasn’t she right, Pakhi made us proud with her writing abilities. Lets wait and watch,” Dada said
Days passed. While Aditya wrote when he felt like and listened also when he felt like. He was good at basketball and also painting. He was teased a lot by the other students because he failed miserably in all the subjects and he spoke very less. But to all teasing he just gave a grin.
Sometimes when the teacher dictated he threw away his pen. then Pakhi would pick it up and cajole him to write and he used to listen to her. All her free time was spent in teaching the same things to Aditya again and again. Though all the teachers were taking extra classes for him it was Pakhi whom he responded to.
But in the process Pakhi lost her grades too. She usually came in the first three ranks but in her First Unit Test she came 6th.
Mummy was furious. She made her sit down to study. “But Mummy I have finished this in the afternoon”. “No you have to do it again in front of me”, screamed Mummy.”I won’t “yelled Pakhi and left the room.
“I am telling you Rahul this Aditya will be the bane of our daughter”, she said to her husband.
“Aanchal, why are you hankering after grades. Its education that matters. And remember she is growing up and learning to be assertive’, quipped Dada.
That Saturday they had a get together. And as everyone knew that Pakhi was going for singing classes, everyone forced her to sing and pushed her forward. Oh she is going to embarrass us, thought Dada. Being shy she always hid behind her mummy and barely spoke to anyone.
‘Thumakki chalat Ramachandra’ began Pakhi but when she raised her head she got scared and stopped. After sometime she closed her eyes and started again. Her crystal clear voice reached a chord in every ones heart and they sat mesmerised. When she finished she received a deafening applause.
“Pakhi what happened when you started to sing”, asked Dada on their return home.
“I started to sing but when I raised my head I saw Bansal aunty’s grin and got scared”.
Dada smiled to himself. Mrs Bansals toothy grin scared many -adults included.”And then” he probed.
“And then I remembered Aditya”, she continued.
Oh Aditya again thought Mummy.
“You know everyone will tease Aditya but he will concentrate only on the ball and the basket and scores basket after basket. I did the same, closed my eyes and concentrated on the lyrics and sang”, she said and went off to sleep.
And we say kids are immature thought Dada
And mummy was thinking, Mrs Fernandes was right this liaison is indeed beneficial to both.