Yesterday, the delivery boy from the groceries came over to hand over the groceries- he was a little boy- seemed abt 6 or 7 yrs old- I was amazed that such a small child was working- and then I remembered my husband telling me that a few days ago, he found a little boy lying on the staircase landing- thinking that the boy had perhaps fainted, my husband called him- the boy opened his eyes, looked around uncomprehendingly and then just fled. My husband called the grocery shop and informed that the boy was perhaps ill and had fainted and was on his way back. Later, upon enquiry, we were told that the boy had just fallen asleep and he was doing fine.
Now, on seeing this little fellow, I was reminded of the above incident and I asked him if he was the boy who had been lying down on the staircase landing and he sheepishly replied in the affirmative. I asked him if he had been ill, and he said no, he had felt sleepy and lay down thinking he would get up soon but fell asleep and when he saw my husband, he was terrified of being scolded. I did not know what to say- I asked the little boy how old he was, he pondered for a few moments and then told me he must be around 12-13 yrs old- seeing my shocked face, he very casually explained- “akka- valarchhiyille- aadu meekka ponathinalayo ennamo valarchhiyillame aayidichhu”-( no growth- mebbe becos I used to go to graze the sheep, I stopped growing) Though I failed to get the connection, I was still too shocked to respond. Then I remembered this other boy I had seen at the petrol bunk- he had been filling air in the vehicle tyres- my husband had asked him how old he was and whether he did not go to school- that boy also looked abt 6-7 yrs, and he also said that he was around 14 yrs of age. My husband looked at him disbelievingly, and asked him- are u sure? and the boy asked him, “shall I show u my school certificate?” My husband asked him if he did not want to continue studies and he said he did not want to.
And then yesterday, as I was telling these things to a neighbour, she tells me, those kids might actually be very young, but they are made to claim that they are older for obvious reasons- now I did not know what to say-
My assistant Revathi’s ( I refer to my maid servant as assistant) eldest son who is abt 14 yrs, stopped studying simply becos he does not like school- but he is so mechanically inclined and a brilliant boy, I asked Revathi to enroll him in one of those technical institutes we have here in Trichy which helped the lower income children to learn some vocation- the fees is very low and we made enquiries to enroll him, but the child just refuses to go. Years later, it will be too late for regrets- how does one inspire and motivate children to study to be able to secure their future- I could do with a few suggestions to inspire my elder son too- he despairs that school books don’t contain lessons on space, dinosaurs, time machines- if that had been the case, I need not have worried- I am hoping he will outgrow this stage and will evolve into a responsible student. His teachers tell me he is brilliant, but inattentive and talkative! Now if only I could purchase Attentiveness and concentration! I am not keen that he should stand first in class- just a little more concentration and less of absent mindedness.