Nurturing Young Minds

Nurturing Young Minds

Sunday, July 18, 2010

4. The Barber Boy and a Billion Children: the Story of an Evolving Dream

(This is a real life story of the power and potential of penniless children, symbolic of over a billion underprivileged kids having no or nominal access to education in the underdeveloped and developing world, who could make all the difference to this planet given the opportunity and guidance)

Episode - 4
The 11-year intruder who joined my camp only to prove me wrong.

(New visitors may please refer to earlier episodes for continuity and comprehension)

When all the 22 children had entered, and the gate had been closed, I started feeling drowsy, and went to sleep at around 4.30 a.m. leaving it to Vinita to help children fill the registration forms,which had been thoughtfully designed to extract some basic information about children. Of the two of us, Vinita can resist sleep better, and she continued with the job till around 9 a.m when I woke up and returned. 

My instructions were that children below class VII or13 years of age would not be admitted, since they would not be able to cope up with the kind of schedule I was planning for the camp, and would not be able to keep pace with other more mature children, all of whom would be teenagers. Vinita had, therefore, not admitted Tausif Ali, who was just around 11 or 12 years of age and was a student of class VII. 

When I reappeared on the scene all the children had been registered and an identity card issued to them, except Tausif Ali. Most of the children had also left except Tausif and a few other children with whom Tausif had come in pitch darkness walking several kilometers, braving the inclement weather. Tausif would not speak anything, but he would also not go. I tried to convince him and his companions that he was too young and would not be able to cope up with the strenuous schedule of the training. But the only language Tausif knew was tears. The more I spoke, the more his eyes became moist.   He was a completely innocent looking child, and he spoke more with his eyes than with his tongue.

I thought that this child was keen on joining the camp just to be in the company of his group rather than for expanding his knowledge or abilities. When all my persuasion failed to make him see reason, and to make him budge, I, finding no other option, advised Vinita to admit him. So he was finally admitted. When the Identity Card was finally issued to him, he gave his first smile! He had won, and I had lost! But I did not know that it was not his last victory, nor my last defeat!

Tausif Ali


  1. It sounds like Tausif has the perseverance and determination you are looking for.


  3. Well....perhaps you should NOT write such interesting posts and then people like me won't be so eager to read them! Ha ha ha!

  4. Things are going to be much more interesting than this. An believe me I am not adding any spice. I am just relating things as they happened. Some times facts are more intriguing than fiction. And, by the way, I am very poor at fiction writing! I have been writing very boring literature - only thoughts and philosophy - thus far. But now I have come to believe that philosophy is best received by most people when wrapped in a story. Thanks for your interest in children and education!