Once again Maitri’s doors opened for a set of young enthusiastic minds. They entered the ‘After School Programme’ class run by Maitri which provided them guidance with their studies after school hours. All the usual suspects were in attendance. The class brain, the class clown, the pair of Siamese twin’s friends, the shy one, the talkative one, the responsible one. Everyone ran in to take their seats. The peaceful, quite classroom turned into a battlefield. All hell broke loose as everyone wanted a seat of their choice, close to their friends and a respectable distance away from the teacher. All the early birds got the best seats and the rest had to make do with what they got.
Friendly chatter started with playground insults and hot topics. Christmas had recently passed and everyone had received a pair of shoes from Maitri’s Santa. The boys were excitedly talking about how they put the shoes to good use and played catch me if you can, Frisbee and cricket on the weekend. The girls had better things to do with their time and spent the weekend sleeping and watching TV.
Happenings of the day in school came up. Favourite teachers were discussed and all the unkind school teachers were made fun off, panicky over not completed homework, dread of the brain melting chapters was on everyone’s lips. Even after vacations from school they were excited to come to the afternoon classes as they presented them with an opportunity to get out of their boring mundane household chores and meet up with their friends.
Everyone was excited about the coming vacations. No more going to school and studying, no more waking up before sun rise and getting ready, no more getting scolded by their teachers. It was going to be a well deserved break from their hectic 14 year old lives.
When asked about their future hopes and dreams they showed that there is no place for boring outdated thoughts in children’s minds. Their thoughts were as wild as free birds and there was no hint of fear of what the future might hold for them. There was no mention of doctor, engineer or lawyer. Ideas that did float around were singers, journalists, and a chief. Army was also a good choice but no one was ready to sacrifice their precious sweets and tasty treats in favour of bland tasteless food.
Finally the teacher entered and a hush fell over. “Good afternoon sir” was sung in chorus and seats were once again taken. Blackboard was whipped clean and now the class was ready to start a new chapter. As soon as the marker touched the white board there was a sound heard outside and the door pushed ajar. A small face peeked in, not meeting anyone’s eyes. “May I come in sir?” the voice squeaked. Of course the class was not complete if it did not include a latecomer.
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Written by: Shivani Singhal, Intern