The Missing Puzzle
The human mind is home to millions of things that sometime don’t seem logical at all. With adults, this mind can articulate itself pretty well and make those around it understand and connect. But what about a child’s mind? Especially one that cannot even put into words its feelings and wants. Now add to that a constant irritable life that doesn’t make sense in its holistic sense. It is a cruel world out there for them.
Even though I knew what lacked in these kids’ life, I never really understood its essence. It runs so deep in their lives that the affects can be surmounted only through constant and slow progression. Living in cramped spaces that long for fresh air, these tiny minds are curbed in every possible way. From physical restrictions of movement to mental restrictions of “traditions” and “social norms”. The age where they ought to be outside playing, they try to overcome these unseen boundaries in their own ways.
Some see these boundaries as challenges and turn rebellious; some see them as shackles and succumb. But when they see a small opening where the boundaries are completely eliminated, they grow ecstatic by the day. Things that held them back for so long have suddenly vanished in this place called classroom. All they want to do is live as much as possible in this space of freedom and in the process forget all their worries back home. But at the same time, the people they have to rejoice with are the same that they are told to look at with suspicion back home. How do I make the difference? What am I supposed to do? The logical solution in their minds is to try and grasp both of it and this, leads to chaos!
The tiny freedom that they see is the teacher that is more a friend than an authority. Someone who actually treats them as fellow human beings and gives them gifts instead of sticks. As trivial as it sounds, these small things make a huge difference in a child’s life. They get thrashed for a mistake and ignored for a job well done. This is embedded so deep in their minds that they now see physical assault as the only solution to every problem. I have to make sure they know, understand and practice one the alternatives. They may fail to choose between two behaviours that they have to show but the teacher is still their most favourite person and they’ll do anything to keep him happy. From vying to erase the board to beating each other up just so that they could carry the bag from the door to the chair, they can bear it all for his appreciation.
Though it is wrong for someone to hit others, it is the only expression they know and obviously, they are going to use it. What I have realized here is that they lack people in their lives who show unconditional love. And it is not anybody’s fault either because here, investment for future means saving food for tomorrow. They witness horrendous things every day and get accustomed to it but that does not take away the deep seated want for love, for someone to reach out and show them that they are very important in this world. Simple acts like saying thank you and sorry or praising them for trying makes so much of a difference to them. All they want, crave and need is love. Because I am their only window to a world filled with opportunities and positivity. This is not a burden that I carry, but a duty that must be carried out. Because I can, I want and I will.
In the process of changing their lives and being a friend who showers them with all the positivity that there is, I find myself losing out on so many of mine. While I make some new ones, I am forced to let go of a lot more. Even though I have a sense of guilt and melancholy, it does not bother me as much now because I see the kids in a new light. The amount of love they shower on me in their own unique ways makes me want to go back for them even though it takes a hell lot from me. I now know that love actually conquers all. But what I have to work towards is for them to find it within themselves and each other because the more they depend on something external, the more vulnerable they become. Also, the idea is to put them on an independent, self-sustainable path.
And as for my life, it can wait until the futures of these tiny powerhouses are safe and filled with opportunities!