“Plumes of smoke from Chuhlas , wretched shanties and clouds of dust rising up beastly behind the hordes of kids running towards me bring a feeling of dread everyday I reach my classroom. It depresses me to think of their future. The expected feeling of joy or much practiced ‘pity’ eludes me instead a numbing emotion overtakes.
The latch of the door gives out a piercing cry when I try to open it. The musty room and snot-smeared faces of children obviously disgust me. Though the need to explain the importance of reason to these minors far exceeds anything else. An hour and a half of toiling along with these kids, uttering repetitively ‘CAT mane BILLI (Or bilai in their dialect)’ and getting some comforting results out finally takes away any qualms I might have had.
I ask Zunaidey if she wants to read stories and her face lights up brightly. Mumtaz works arduously and Sabiran laughs incessantly. Azadul sweeps me off my feet with his beautiful memory and this another toddler says Namaste with folded hands. Hope springs out of that rubble. Optimism takes over me and I go home with a smile.”