Last week, due to heavy rains, some of the classrooms were flooded. When I and Kishan walked around, we found gaping holes in the asbestos roof (soon, these classes will be shifted to the building that has concrete roof). On one of these days, some 25 kids from another 2nd grade division were sent to my class for the day. Apart from managing the initial hour of chaos, what becomes difficult is sending these kids back to their original classrooms in the following days. These children see a marked difference between their classroom and ours, they enjoy being in our class and the fact that every minute, there is something going on – teaching, games, videos or coloring, whereas in their classes downstairs, they are in the class mostly due to the fear of the cane. The hardest part on the following days is to tell these reluctant kids to go back to their classrooms. I feel sad to see the disappointment in their faces. But, I have no option unless the Principal transfers some of them to my classroom.
On one of those days, two girls from the other division were so happy in the classroom that during the lunch break, they came to me with a big smile. “Bhaiya, we want to give you this cake (in Hindi)” and handed me this packet that looked like some brownish powder. These children often come with a rupee or two as pocket/lunch money and they buy these cake crumbs or cake left overs from nearby shops. Sometimes, this is their lunch. So, I said no and told them to eat it and I’d take a little. But, they insisted that I take the entire packet since they had eaten kichdi rice already. I relented and brought the packet back home and quickly forgot about it. That night, I was working till 1:30 and suddenly I felt very hungry. While rummaging through my backpack, I saw this cake packet! In no time I ate it and thanked the kids who had given it to me with so much affection.
Next day, as expected, they were sitting in my class when I reached School. Not wanting to disappoint them, I told how yummy the cake was. While I was explaining to the parents why they should take their kids to the other classroom, these girls quietly got up and went to their class on their own. 😦