Saturday 15 August 2020

Anita Rani Chopra, Short Story 2020 Longlist

A Free Gold Coin

This was the time when my pleasant imagery rushed out, students were excited to go to a new class. I felt like a cloud floating in the sky.I could feel a sense of achievement, excitement and a great enthusiasm all around but there was a thing which had been disturbing me since the last four months, a child looked at me, smiled at times but did not talk to me. A sense of innocence, untouched by selfishness, ego or malice was depicted from his looks.

It was time for Life Skills class and I had promised the children a whole period (40 minutes) in the playground. All the students were eagerly waiting for me. I felt as if fresh blood was circulating inside them, gushing into the veins bringing a fresh lease of their school life. The moment I entered the class, they all screamed for going out to play except one. The same thought crossed my mind. However, I kept my promise and we all went to the playground.

We started playing in a group of thirteen (13), then two groups of 5 and 8. Finally a group of two each and he was the only one left behind. So, I made him my partner. For the first time in life, I tasted happiness-understood its true meaning and realised its true worth. We started our game and I lost the game and he won. I congratulated by shaking hands with him. He smiled at me, I too gave a broad smile. Being a teacher we never forget to appreciate. It was but natural what I did. I appreciated him by saying “You are Great. You are the winner.” I think I made a bond with him that day. It gave me a sense of pride and intrinsic happiness. For the first time in life, I observed many colourful insects crawling on the ground, I felt the gentle touch of air caressing my hair. I felt that I achieved something that day like the feeling of getting a free gold coin.

Today, things have changed. Now he speaks to me and tells me about the absentees of the day when I go to collect the ‘Own Transport’ children from his class. He is the first one to come out, looks at me, smiles and the best part is he has a bond with me which gives me immense satisfaction. His smile makes me smile, vanishes my fatigue in seconds, and refreshes me. Being crazy, a bit wild, carrying innocence inside has the miraculous power to soothe me from within. It is a teacher’s role to make all children in her class feel comfortable and help develop their personalities as they become young adults. This student of mine has now built up confidence to make friends, cope with the upsets and problems.

I firmly believe that praise and appreciation are motivators that work easily and create long lasting effects. They are free and do not require any preparation or special set up. When praise and appreciation bowl is full you tend to get any difficult task done very easily. Every day is a special occasion, so give as much as you can. At every age it is a necessary dose.

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