The Girl with the Bright Smile

It is 4 pm sharp on a Monday evening and we see a smiling face enter our classroom. Six-year-old Nishu, or as she is fondly called, Khushi, takes a seat right in front of the teacher and enthusiastically opens her textbook turning it to page 31, where the teacher had last ended the class. She has a sharp pencil in hand and her pencil box sits nearby with an extra pencil, sharpener, scale and eraser at her disposal. When asked, she proudly shouts out that her homework is complete, and why not, today she is going to do her favourite subject that she finds most easy, Hindi.

She is a 1st standard student and studies in the only school that her parents can afford, the nearby NDMC School. The teachers there do the best they can, will the provisions they are provided with. Losing patience with the unruly students they sometimes scold the children and Khushi, being a happy go lucky chap, is no exception. She likes to be involved in every activity and everything exciting that comes her way. Her active nature does not let her sit still for even a minute. She is so vigorous that she says that she does not even like sleeping. And when you have so much to play, so much to study, and so much to experience you should not waste a single moment.

Her dream is to become a police officer and catch prisoners when she grows up. But catching shrewd prisoners is not an easy job and one has to be quick, intuitive and bright to do so. For this she does her homework herself and tries her best to understand the lessons taught by her school teachers. “Even though they do not teach that well”, she says. With no one to clear her doubts at home, she clarifies them with the teachers at the Children’s Tutorial Centre run by Maitri.

Her family comprises of a protective mother, a strict father and a playful big brother. Her mother always protects her from her father if he gets angry and becomes violent. But this is in the past as her mother has now banned corporal punishment in the house. “They do everything out of love”, she says when asked if she gets angry at her parents.

In the big adult world there are some things that puzzle her, like why she is not allowed to eat and watch TV at the same time, why it can’t always be her turn to lead in the games or how one day she was 5 and the next day she magically turned 6. Between playing games and becoming a successful police officer, she is sure to figure it all out. Right now she just needs to munch on her favourite Dairy Milk Chocolate, study hard, play hard and keep giving that bright, lovable smile that only children are capable to giving.

Written by: Shivani Singhal, Intern

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