This is about a little boy whom I met today. He is studying in 4th standard in a nearby school. His mother brought him to my home to make him sit and do his homework. I called him ‘Chottu’ because he was too small for his age.
And, there Chottu sat with a big bag that must have rolled through all sorts of earthly dirt.
“What homework do you have?” I asked him in a pampering voice. “Maths!” he replied in a tough voice with an implied face.
Chottu had no time to waste, so we began the chase.
His book was a priceless sight of how worst a study book can be kept, with plenty of red marks, pencil marks, sketch pens and many other sorts of unknown writing tools. The covers were torn to extremes and the book was three fourth uncovered.
I couldn’t resist asking him the reason behind the sketch pen marks in the notebook. Surprisingly, those were the contributions of his mentor. The teacher has used sketch pens as a substitute for red pens. Chottu too has contributed his creativity on them, giving the book a vibrant appeal.
I felt quite happy to do the divisions and subtractions after long years. Chottu too was happy because he understood that the Didi sitting in front of him knows to do his homework. The thought made him lazier and he began looking at me for every single digit. His pleading face or his cute little face, I did everything for him.
Homework got over in twenty minutes and Chottu was all set for the pack up. Like most of the elders, I advised him to study better and asked him to visit frequently so that I can help him out with his studies. Chottu doesn’t seem to be concerned. I decided to make him a little frightened. “You will fail next year if you go like this”, I warned him.
Chottu replied, “Didi, teachers won’t fail us. Government has said not to hold back any student in classes till he completes the 8th grade.”
I went speechless for a moment. While bidding him good bye, I was terrified of the knowledge he had about his Right to Education.