Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Firstly, I'd want to do a little bit of complaining. Every time I swear to be regular on blog, something happens to my computer. And Mobile-Blogging isn't still available in India, as such. Secondly, I'd make such a promise again. Exams are nearing. And so, I'll need more of "emptying my mind out". Looking back at my previous blog, I see that the highest number of posts have always been in the exam-months. Thirdly, yes, I'll start on the topic that the title promises. He came into my life in the last week of January 2010. Very, very coincidental. The first day I met him, I was supposed to be his art teacher. I pressed the door-bell. Someone thin, dark, guy opened the door and said "Are you the art teacher?" I said "Yes." He was my first student. I'll explain the past tense used in this sentence, later. I was nervous, slightly. I was looking forward to it more than I was nervous. I entered, and saw a boy, a little more than foot tall, sitting on the floor, with toys all around him. He gave me a smile. I was led into one of the bed-rooms. He was carried inside. The new drawing book, and the pencils were given. I did the thing that my first art teacher had done with me. I asked him to draw anything. He sat staring at my face, expressionless, for nearly half an hour, and then, I asked him what are the things he could draw. He replied "Everything". I asked him to draw a straight line. He drew crooked, slanting line. I asked him to draw a circle. He drew an oval-shaped, half-enclosed structure. I asked him to draw a square. He drew a rectangle. I asked him to draw a triangle. He drew one. Next, I asked him to draw a tree. He drew an elongated rectangle, and then a cloud over the rectangular structure, separated from it. I told him it was good. He was five years old. I could forgive him for the imperfection. I took the eraser, and erased the partition between the rectangle and the cloud, and explained a tree to him. We drew several tress together, thereafter. Soon, he warmed up, and said, that he wants to draw something on his own. I asked him what he wanted to draw. He replied "A house.". I said "Okay, go ahead.". It was an elaborate building. A multi-storeyed, multi-windowed, equipped with lifts, staircases, collapsible gates, wooden doors, people on the terrace, and a clock tower. It was the cross-section of a building, and not what a building looks from outside. Yest, I was dumb-founded. The imperfection didn't matter. The idea did. Later that class, his mother, the person whom I'd talked to before coming, returned home from "office". She paid me 50 Rs. for the day's class. The next class onwards, it would be a new month, February, hence. To this day, I have that 50Rs in one of the drawers of my desk. It's my first honestly-earned salary. I don't deserve it. And nor do my parents. I was contacted by another mother next month. Mrs. Sevantilal Shah. She wanted an art teacher for her two-year old son. I agreed. I went. It wasn't much of a class for me. I just had to let Mehan, her son, draw whatever he had to, sit with him for half an hour, drink coffee, and leave. They were rich Marwaris, living in a studio apartment at Landsowne Court. I had little to complain about. Also, before one of the classes in February, Anshul's mother had called me in the morning and asked me to postpone the class. I hadn't inquired why. She had called me again, a while later, and told me, that the reason why she'd asked me to postpone the class was because some lady-tutor was supposed to come for him. But she had just backed out. I was asked if I knew anyone who could teach a student of Upper-Kindergarten, South City International School, at least 5 days a week. The condition was to be well-versed in Bengali (the preliminary alphabets, etc), and English (spoken English, because they didn't want me to converse with him in any other language). I offered myself, with the condition, that I can afford 4 days a week only. She agreed on a minimal fees of 1000Rs. I didn't mind. I just needed to kill time from 4pm-7pm. I just needed a distraction every weekday, from 4pm-7pm. I had to pay for it otherwise. I was neither paying, nor earning, here. My transportation costs and my fees cancelled out each other. Yet, I agreed. I enjoyed the experience of teaching the numbers, the English and Bengali letters to a kid, who still shits in a pan-shaped fancy plastic container. A month later, Mehan vanished. I didn't get the fees for the 8 classes I'd done. I didn't mind. They just vanished. I hardly cared. I started giving Anshul 5 days a week. I started giving him 7 days a week April onwards, to make up for our simultaneous Sikkim trips, and my occasional Durgapur trips. I'm being paid 200 bucks more now, without having asked for it. I'd said before, it felt like a job-promotion. Over the last few weeks, Anshul, and me, have been getting exceedingly attached to each other. Both Anshul and me. He screams and wails if his parents inform him any afternoon " Sir isn't going to come today." I have to talk to him personally to convince him that the reason I'm unable to come is either very serious, or for doing something for him. About me, I didn't miss him till April. In May, I've started missing him on the days I don't go to teach. Why did I dedicate this post to Anshul today? He wanted to cut my fingers with his pair of scissors today. (Because I wasn't allowing him to continue with his cutting all the new erasers into a 100 small pieces, and then play "Hansel-and-Gretel" with them) I allowed him. I put my hand in front of him. He did what he said he'd do. I winced my eyes, and watched the patch of skin turn red. He was laughing. Then, slowly, blood oozed out. More and more blood. Dark red. Then he got all upset. He ran out to the other room. Dropped all the things around, brought out a big box. Took out a roll of cotton wool and tore a chunk of it away. I asked him to give it to me. He nodded his head violently and said "No, you won't be able to do it. Give me your hand." I obeyed. With his little fingers, he wiped the blood away. Then, he started hunting the box for a Band-Aid. He dropped all the medicines on the floor. I started picking them up, and kept saying "It's okay, Anshul; I don't need a Band-Aid." Blood started oozing out again. Frenzied, he tore three chunks of cotton wool this time, and tried to put all of them on my finger. He still wouldn't let me do anything myself. The medicine-box fell upside down. all the pills and tablets spilled out. The Band-Aids too. I picked it up. He snatched it away. "I'll tear it myself. You can't do it." He fidgeted with it. I tried to help him. He pulled away from me. Finally, he succeeded in taking out an-already-creased Band-Aid. He pulled my finger again. He stuck it around on the wound, well, not exactly on the wound, but covering it, at least. He wound it up so tight, that the 'wound' hurt more. When he wasn't looking, I opened it, and re-adjusted it a bit. I still have it on my fingers, I didn't come home and change the thing, for the sake of hygiene. Anshul is 6 years, 1 month, 2 weeks old.