Sometimes the very humans, we think are hypocrites, irrationals, mediocre, dumb etc are the ones who teach us greatest of life lessons in single action or word or behavior.
There are few people, on whom we express all the world’s pity, regret on behalf, sympathize at the very first sight. Recently I have come across two such people. Instead of what I presumed I would think, they threw me away in shock and made me feel like a hypocrite to think of such things for them instead of actually giving them hands.
- Girl under the lamp
We might have heard stories of the school students who sit on the streets, under street lamps and study. Still in certain remote villages in India, due to the lack of electricity, students are undergoing such practice. But in the midst of hot boiling area of Chennai city, at the Tambaram railway station- a junction that connects the main hubs of the metropolis, I witnessed this girl.
It was late in the evening when people are mounting the railway bridge corridor- back from offices and colleges, finding it hard to gasp, I came out of the crowd and started walking in the pavement while I saw this girl. Little one- may be 8-10 years of age, sitting in front of the ticket counter corridor, under the dim yellow light with pencil in hand and a workbook in front. With so much interest she was filling in the blanks of that page, while herd of people are swarming and crossing the girl. Before coming out of this initial shock over this girl’s interest towards learning something without concerning the disturbances around her, another scene struck me hard. The girl was leaning over a blind lady who was standing. Wearing glasses and holding a stick in hand, the lady was begging.
Like a moving picture, everything around seemed to go fast forward while the three of us remained intact, girl bending down studying, lady standing and begging, me staring at them clueless.
If anyone happens to come to Tambaram station after 6 O clock in the evening, still you can witness this incident.
Another day when I was on my way to Library, while walking on the pavement to board the bus near an area called ‘Chinnamalai’, I saw a lady lying on the pavement, legs folded, pen in hand, some long size papers clipped on to an exam pad in front. As I walked past her, I happened to notice the papers in her hand. Margins and lines were perfectly drawn, she was practicing tamizh letters. The strokes, curves, annotations seemed like carving, like printed words. The neatness and handwriting of that street dweller made me go agap on that very moment. She looked like an old lady, probably at her 40s. Despite her age or her situation, with some mad instinct and desire she was getting literacy.
People like that little girl and the lady strikes me hard on my instincts and makes me understand that, they don’t need tools to survive inside the pit, but a ladder to come out of it. Denial of basic rights including Education is one of the greatest catastrophes for a society.
In the movie ‘Theory of Everything’, Stephen Hawkins says that ’The one simple, elegant equation to explain everything’. Relating it to the problems and issues that our country faces, a simple, powerful solution to solve everything is this-
‘Let’s educate and get educated’.