The school day begins at 8 am and is on till 330 pm for classes Nursery to Std VIII. The day began with a morning assembly and I was invited to address the children. Despite the exams, the students were in school the whole day, with the afternoons for self-study, quite unlike schools in the city. Anxious to know how they coped with this calamities, I asked the children about it. The hands went up . Not wanting to disappoint the enthusiastic children, I patiently heard each one of the students. Next day at school and I summarize their thoughts. Worth the read.
“Expected as it was a day earlier, we prepared for it -mentally and physically. Basics like batteries, kerosene, food, essentials were stocked. Our parents kept cash ready for any emergency. Mentally, we started to prepare for the last few papers since we expected the Government to shut schools for at least 3 days. Those three days were used to revise for the immediate exams. We understand that exams can not be postponed because teachers will find it difficult to complete the portions for the finals. We can’t complain of not having electricity in school even if the temperature during the day is 30 degrees because it is a waste of money to hire generator and purchase fuel. We can just wash our faces when we are sweaty.”
“We use our afternoons in school well to study because we have only an hour before sunsets. We sleep early, so we are rested. Why grumble, fret and fume, it will only cause frustration and irritation. Accept the situation , do the best you can . Just enjoy instead of complaining. Big people go to gyms to sweat it out, we sweat naturally without paying. (evokes a lot of laughter from the gathering ). After school , all our male teachers, parents and staff volunteer to remove debris and logs of wood outside school, so that it is clear. The locals and the political leaders too carry logs of wood. They do it cheerfully despite a long day at work. We can not expect the state administration to do it all the time. We can not help there so , we help our parents at home. We will continue to have high temperatures and such calamities all the time, if not in Chennai, in some other part of India and even in the world. We don’t know the people who suffer , so we just read the news and say – Ayyo Paavam in Tamil (So sad ,poor souls) We have caused it , we have to face it. Moreover, it makes us tough to face other challenges that we may face when we grow up.” A young girl of Std V stunned me with -” Madam , we are facing all these hardships only once in a while. There are thousands of people in our own town and villages who face this every day of their lives…. fetching water from roadside pumps, no electricity….”
Profound thoughts..Life’s lessons spoken by children quite casually. When I left the place, I reflected on the day gone by – Are we preparing our children for life or is life doing so? The answer is Build fitness of the mind and body. It will keep you happy always.
Keep cheerful at all times.