Like it is for most fellows, the roads leading to my School are very crowded, chaotic and noisy (Let’s call this the CCN Road instead of the usual, Mahatma Gandhi road) Oh, and they make me sneeze all the time. There is an alternative road through Sion but I don’t prefer that because of one reason – on the CCN road, I see kids coming back from School or on the way to School. On weekdays, there are plenty of school kids and on Saturdays or ‘lafda’ holidays (!) there aren’t many. Often, I bump into my class kids. The glee and joy on their face when they see me at a distance is worth a million. Add to that, a screaming “BHAIYA !” that makes many heads turn. And before I know, there are 5 or 6 tiny hands holding me and animatedly talking while walking to School. On some rare days, I see only one kid, walking slowly, eyes meandering over the colourful trinkets and candies on display in the shops, or stopping by to take a peek into a game of marbles. Holding the hand of a child and walking slowly to School, while talking to him/her is sheer happiness. It is different than the classroom because, here there are no rules, no sense of urgency or panic. Just the Bhaiya and the Child. Such walks give me a good insight into what he thinks about School and also how he feels in general. Most importantly. it is such a great bonding exercise and bestows immediate peace.
The other day, I got late. I slept late, as usual and woke up late. I was sitting in front of the computer, working on something and realised it’s going to be a mad rush to School. Tension X 10. By the time the auto reached Dharavi, I was just irritated at the noise, crowds and sneezing. And, when I was about to pay, the auto driver didn’t have change. Damn. So, here I was sitting in the auto in a not so calm situation. Suddenly, I heard a “Bhaiyaaa” and little Sajid peeped into the auto with a cute smile. He is usually very quiet and introvert. But today, he just showed so much expression that I immediately calmed down, somehow paid and got down. He immediately grasped my hand and started walking towards School. Tiny, sweaty fingers. He talked about the breakfast, his wounds, the school and how he liked our ‘colourful and beautiful” class. On the way, we stopped by the Sugarcane juice stall to drink some juice. In a few minutes, I experienced so much peace.
When was the last time you took a walk with a child ?