Day 20

Those who knows me know how scared I am of street dogs. I feel every dog I see would come chasing me. On my way to the Helipad today, near the Tiny Tots school, I ran past these three kids. As I crossed them, I saw three dogs coming from the opposite direction at a great speed. I stopped running, turned back, and asked the kids where they were going. When one of them pointed a finger straight, I took a sigh of relief and asked them if they would walk with me. I told them I am scared of dogs. They laughed at first, but agreed to help me.

One of them, very excitedly told me that my track jacket is of the same brand that he has. I asked him what does he play.

The youngest one answered, “Volleyball”.

I turned to him, “Do you play too?”.

“I used to, but not anymore”, he said.

“Why not?”, I asked.

“I don’t have time”, he said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“Why?”

“I have a lot to study every day”.

“Everyone studies. But, one needs to play too”, I told him.

“I want to study hard to become a great man”, he reasoned with me.

The one who was mute till now, spoke up, “Studies will sharpen your brain. But, sports will make your body stronger”. “Hai na Di…”. Unsure of how to address me, he added meekly, “Aunty?”.

“Khelo bhi, padho bhi. Dono ko sath sath balance karna padega”, is all I could say.

When we parted ways, they mumbled at unison something like, ‘Bye aun…Di”.

I am still thinking about our conversation. Why people in our society think only studies are important? There are values one should learn along with the school work. Values like team work, discipline, sports spirit, fair play. Values that one learn on the field when they play. At such an young age, kids shouldn’t be pressurised to become a great man. Shouldn’t be deprived of sports and games. Education is important, but it shouldn’t end up robbing one’s childhood.

Stubbornly optimistic, a listener of the universe and follower of my dreams. Coffee, smell of new books, long walks, old melodies, good sense of humour, and poetry light me up. I want to be happy when I grow up.

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