Happiness…. Is School

student-411947_1280

In a school…
Far down…
In India’s south…
Girls are being taught…
To open their mouths…

When a young girl…
Was asked to draw…
The thing that makes her happy…
She doodled her school in bright pink…
And said, “It’s this school, I think,
That fills me to the brim…
With excitement and a sense …
Of self-worth from within!”

These are girls; so poor…
But their wealth is in their spirit…
In school, they’re taught that negativity…
Is a state of temporary…
So they concentrate on the larger picture…
To rise above their present…
And hold in their minds, a mixture…
Of hope, of dreams, and lessons…
That they learn…
Are not to restlessly yearn…
For a barrage of credits and marks…
But for something deeper…
That lasts…
For these are the real bright sparks…
Of India’s future…

One little girl often laments…
That many an evening…
At home, is spent…
With her mother and father fighting…
But the teacher explains…
“It’s alright…
For them to fight…
They make up in the end…
So you concentrate on your right…
To educate yourself…
And become something better…
Than just an urchin or flower seller.”
The girl is happy again…
As the next day of school excites her…
She’s willing to be the best…
Because her spirit ignites her…

Another young girl…
Admires her teacher…
As she fondly recalls…
How a mentor reached her…
And brought her out of her shell…
Till she made many friends…

When asked what…
These girls would become…
At the age of 40, said some,
“We will all be millionaires!
And companies we’ll run!”

Another ambitious girl…
Wants to become a police woman…
She says her father drinks…
And wants to stop his daily run…
To the liquor shop, after which…
He gets angry and he hits…
Whatever and whoever…
Comes in his way…
So she wants to…
Be able to eradicate it, some day…
She talks about gender equality…
Being in all households …
And how women in authority…
Can be strengthened to be bold…
She goes on to say,
“If I cannot become a policewoman,
I will teach my children the way…
I will fulfill my dream…
Through my children …one day.”

These are the real achievers…
Not the Olympiad winners,
Not the exam toppers…
The real showstoppers don’t…
Get into MIT or Cornell…
But they’ll be the happiest…
Ones, in the end…
The elitist ones …
Are all about ‘escape’,
In the ‘guise’ of education…
They run away…
When they can really make…
A difference in their own country today…
Making this a better place…

Such is their exodus…
Of biblical proportions…
One following the other…
With futuristic distortions…
Unless they think of returning,
Most of them do not…
You see, the problem today…
In the elite, is that empathy is lost…

Recently, at a very elitist school,
When the board exam results were declared…
All that one could hear…
Was the cacophony of scores being compared,
And disappointed stares…
That a tiny mark…
Was lost here and there…
When in the real world…
There’s a poor child,
A boy or a girl…
Excited to broaden the mind…
Excited to wear a uniform…
For the very first time…

Through the wonderful…
Womanstrong Consortium…
A movement has started…
Towards a newfound freedom…
A freedom of spirit…
That begins in each fem head…
Because if it doesn’t start there…
Equality might as well be dead!

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-time mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher. She has worked with the differently abled, and now works on and off as a teacher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s