The story that I’m going to narrate takes me back in my memories to 2014.
I was the class teacher of one of the class X sections in my then school. Of the 36 students I had in my class, two boys were an eyesore for every teacher teaching in that class, mainly because they were often absent without information, skipping classes after lunch, causing lot of distractions and disturbances to all the classes. There wouldn’t be a day when someone wouldn’t say something nasty about them.
One day, I called the boys aside and talked to them. I wanted to hear their story.
They indeed had their version of the story.
One of the boys was from a broken family with only his mother supporting him. His only sister was a victim of leukemia whereby she had to travel for her treatment to Hospitals in India frequently. Without any alternative, he was left on his own unattended most of the time.
The other boy was raised by his brother while he also had only his mother back in his village. His brother was caring, but he was out of station most of the time and he too was frequently left on his own.
Both of them confessed that most of the time they were hungry, whereby skipping classes after lunch as they couldn’t concentrate in their lesson on empty stomachs.
Their heart wrenching stories made me feel sorry and bad for them, that they had to face such hardships at this early age, and that too suffering silently. Maybe they would take this as an excuse to meander towards a life of crime. Maybe they would indulge in drugs to escape these suffering.
I had a feeling that I need to do something. So from the next day, I started to pack lunch for three people, one for myself and two for these boys. I did that for the whole year.
A few weeks later, they started to become regular in schools never missing classes, and I started hearing lesser and lesser complaints about them from my teacher colleagues.
Proudly, they performed fairly well in their academics and both of them qualified for government schools for their Higher Secondary Education; one qualified for Science Stream and other for Commerce stream with good marks.
Truly, I didn’t expect anything in return from them, moreover, I had almost forgotten about them.
Until this year.
It was May 2nd and I was in the midst of celebrating Teachers Day in my present school, when I received a text message. Expecting it to be a Teachers Day wish from a colleague, I opened the message.
To my utter surprise after so many years it was one of these boys. He had texted me this heart warming message.
“Madam, I got full scholarship to Royal Thimphu College, I feel great! How have you been?” and I replied that it’s such good news, I am happy for you, are you in the first year? And his response was thus.
“I am just done with class XII for now, had to go through some hardships in 2016 and 2017, madam I miss those days when I had the best class teacher in the world… you have had me pulled into the best despite all my bad… I really believe that if it was not you, I would not have made it to government high school, it was you who showed me the way to government High School with a good result and not to mention all the lunches that you brought for me to help myself and believing in me. So, on this occasion let me take the honour to wish you a very Happy Teacher’s day. Thank you for giving me second life, though I really didn’t deserve it.”
WOW! That was the moment when I felt proud and satisfied to be a teacher and believed that we do change lives.
That was one big sense of satisfaction worth all the packed lunches I packed for them.
Indeed, Kindness Matters!
Sonam Peldon works as a teacher in Loselling Middle Secondary School, Thimthrom.