I had heard stories of the community my school was in, even before I came to Bombay. Dad was in town, and I told him about the school I was place in, and so he decided to go give it a look. As it turns out, he took the wrong turn on the way, and got completely lost in the community. When he asked for directions, a lady walked up to him and told him to take detour back to the main road, and enter from there instead, because (as she bluntly put it across to him) this way, is not safe for someone like you. I haven’t asked him how he felt about this, but I wonder what went through his head as she said that then, especially given that I was going to teach there for the next 2 years. Eitherway, if he had any concerns, he didn’t voice them when he saw me, and I rather have it stay that way.
As I was to later find out, you can actually smell the turn that you take to enter my school, from the signal that you have to cross to get there. It is completely littered on the left hand side with garbage piles. I’ll remember to post a picture of it tomorrow.
The school overlooks 2 sewage canals (see a picture of the view below). Especially in these monsoons, the roads get extremely muddy and clogged, and dirty water overflows onto these roads. The worst is the smell though, especially when you can smell the sewage water at times from the back of my class.
But therein, lies the beauty of it all = )
Because my class, I’ve realized couldn’t be more in contrast to the filth and trash that lies on the other side of its wall.
The kids in my class look up at me with some of the most sincere eyes I have ever seen in my life, completely trusting of all that I have to give and all that I say. Come to my class, and you’ll see innocence in its purest; not all my kids are sincere like that, far from it, but the ones that are, can take your breath away.
Just with how they look at you, how they are so trusting and giving, completely selfless and unadulterated in their love for you, is something I have never seen or experienced in my life and I don’t quite know how to put it in words, to have 60 kids look at you that way every morning as you step into class.
It’s really just the most beautiful thing ever.
But then, I realize and what really disturbs me is, that innocence and sincerity are values that come with an expiry date, especially innocence. Because the truth is, that soon, they will see too much of the world, too soon, to stay so giving, to be so trusting and so selfless in their love.
And the worst part is that it is my duty to accustom them to the bad ways of the world as time goes on. I don’t want them to lose that look of pure unadulterated innocence and sincerity, because you know as well as I do is that once it goes away, its never really ever going to come back for the rest of your life, and I don’t want to be the guy that blew the candle out.
I actually cannot think of any worse of our times, than in the bitter truth that the look of innocence, complete trust, and selfless love that my kids have, is really actually a manifestation of the ignorance of the ugly world that we live in. I cannot think of anything that is more telling of how bad things are, and what we’ve made them to be.
Just one look at Fiza or Samreen or Ayesha in class, will tell you what I mean. In a feeble attempt to replicate what I see, I’ve posted pictures of 3 of my kids below, I don’t know how effective they will be in trying to get my point across, but if they don’t just feel free to drop in sometime : )
Today ended my first week in school. Can’t wait for week 2 to begin.
Until later : )