The following story was written by Mr. Vivek Singh, who teaches the Highest Class, namely ‘The Blossoms’. The following story, in my estimate, is an excellent creation of Magic Realism. While the story is true in all its essence, he employs imaginatory devices to bring out a native self-expression. This expression allows us to see through the world of a teacher at a slum school. His narrative is continual, with beneficial diversions, which only educates us about the concerns, hopes and fears of a teacher in the slum. Please do read and see what you can know about a strife that marks a well intentioned teacher.
-Nithin E Sam
Buds and their Vivek Sir
Today I am going to tell you a short story about “Buds and their Vivek Sir”...
Once upon a time there were no Buds and there was no Vivek Sir. Wait... What kind of beginning is that? If there were not any Buds or Vivek Sir, then where did it all start? Well, let’s start the story from the very beginning and I’ll tell you.
Once upon a time, there was a slum in Gomtinagar Extension, and there were a handful of these JP warriors, noble in heart, trying to rescue these slum kids from the “Three-Headed Dragon”. Each head represented a battle these kids were fighting: illiteracy, low self esteem, and rejection from the family and the society. Without the family support, the fight was not easy.
A long time ago, there was a prophecy that said, “there will a mighty warrior of God who will join these noble warriors to reach their quest beyond the three-headed dragon.”All of the noble warriors worked hard every day to fight this three-headed dragon, not wanting to see any of their students lost. One warrior was especially needed to train the older students. They all waited in anticipation for that warrior to arrive.
In the year 2016, as the year was ending, in the month of September in its last week, behold there was a mighty warrior as it was prophesied above. His name was “Vivek Sir*“, who joined the JP team as a volunteer.
At that time there were no Buds, Blossoms, or Sparrows classes, for the advanced children. The classes were simply categorized into General Class and PE (Process Education) Class. General classes were the younger children, while PE classes were filled with the older children. There was a need for a teacher to lead these more advanced PE classes and Vivek Sir was just on time to fill the gap. He became a PE teacher, teaching the PE kids of Malesiya Mao slum. As soon as the first year passed, JP saw that there were two categories of kids sitting together in the PE classes. One category was the fast learners, and the other was the slow learners. They were not exactly slow but lost somewhere in their own creative thoughts and learning at their own pace. The other warriors involved in the PE teaching too faced this situation as it was clear from the exams which we were taking every month.
In the meanwhile one of the great warriors “JD” –The Academian of our team had to leave us and complete a new quest which was told by God to him. He has no choice but to do what pleased God, so he went. Again, there was a seat to be filled as the new Academian. So, the Great Grand Warrior summoned Vivek Sir and anointed him with God’s wisdom and understanding to be the new Academian. He was also given a word that God would always be there to guide him.
The leaders of Malasiya Mao decided that these kids could be divided into two groups named Buds (the slow but steady learners) and Blossom (the fast learners) and soon it was done. And Vivek Sir was assigned to teach the Blossoms class. Dividing them into two classes made it easier for the teachers to teach, and they saw efficiency increased. But… it had other effects too, for example friends were separated from one another and it was hard for them, even if it was for their own good. Vivek Sir too missed the children in the Buds. He still remembers them saying “Sir, please be our class teacher, teach us!” They complained, “You have forgotten us, you don’t like us anymore.” In the beginning, Anju, an attention seeker in the Buds group, never stopped coming to seek the attention of her Vivek Sir. But soon she realized that Vivek Sir was not the same because he was always busy with his Blossoms teaching and playing with them. His former Buds started thinking that their Vivek Sir didn’t want to be their teacher anymore.
On one hand, Vivek Sir wanted to teach them too, spending time with his Buds just as he did with his Blossoms. At the bottom of his heart, what he truly wanted was to be the teachers of the Buds, teaching and helping them to reach the Blossoms so that both groups could once again stay in one class as they used to. Despite their continuous requests, this was for their own good. He awaited that one day, hoping a warrior would appear as worthy as him, as a replacement, so he could get back to his Buds enjoying, teaching, and spending time with them as he was able to do with the Blossoms.
Recently in the month of December 2020 soon after the Great Grand Master gave them a surprise visit at their school, one of the newest warriors, Mr. Arun Sir, who was helping the Buds got sick and Vivek Sir received a golden opportunity to spend time with these two Buds Eznur and Saidul. And this is what made him write this story to show exactly what God has done.
Before we go on, you should know a few things about these two. Eznur appears to be a very quiet girl. No matter what to say or ask her, without any answer she would just cover her face and giggle. Vivek Sir would always wonder, “What’s going on inside of her head? What must she be thinking right now?” It was hard for him to teach her. Without any replies or questions, it was hard for him to get a good idea about what she had understood or even who she was. She seemed to have an invincible layer around her, but Vivek Sir knew that God could break that fake layer of protection that she had unknowingly created around herself. Saidul, unlike Eznur, talks too much! He was not scared of the teachers, but instead had a very bold attitude! He was constantly playing and wrestling with the other kids. His learning was slow, but indeed he was a steady learner.
So when Vivek Sir got the opportunity to spend time with the Buds, especially those two, he ended up giving them the Sixth Standard English book. Now this book is at a higher level than they were used too. It was actually the book for the higher level. He asked them to read the first six paragraphs by themselves. When they had done that, Vivek Sir, asked them to tell him what they had understood. They told whatever they had understood, and Vivek Sir was so impressed that he almost fell over! They had grown so much in their studies in his time away. “I would say that I wanted to be there to help these students,” thought Vivek Sir, “But I was unable to. I know who was there though. God, himself, was always helping them in their studies.” Indeed, it was God who taught them and helped them reach up to this point.
What happens next? This story is to be continued…..
written by Vivek (teaching with JanPragati since 2016)
*The Title ‘Sir’ follows the name in a typical Indian fashion of addressing a teacher, in such a manner that it becomes the appellation of the person who teaches.