Painting a Future

It is quite common to hear adults wanting to relive their childhood- to enjoy those days filled with leisure, lost in the dreamland and free from any tension about future. People universally tend to associate this phase to be driven by unprompted and unplanned events. Until very recently, I too held the same view. The story of Rancy from one of CRY’s Gurugram PAG, however, changed my perception. Hearing her story from her teacher and a fellow volunteer, Rahul, I realized that dreaming is an art, the inspiration of which one draws from their surroundings.

Rancy’s story is one of hard work and dedication- two qualities which are quite difficult to associate with a twelve-year-old. Having had very limited means available to fulfil her academic aspirations, Rancy, quite unlike her peers, seems to have understood its importance and valued it dearly. So, one day when Rahul decided to cheer his bogged down students with a dance session, the young girl seemed rather disappointed. She reasoned with her teacher that missing an hour’s worth of study was a rather bad idea since though she could dance and play later, there was neither any other time nor means by which she could complete her holiday homework later.

Upon hearing this, like most of us would have, her teacher was happily surprised. Her dedication and diligence impressed him but the incident also intrigued him to know more about her ambitions. Rancy said she wanted to be a police officer and have power. Hailing from a family where none of even her distant relatives had completed schooling, the girl’s ability to set a goal that high was laudable. What was especially pleasing was that instead of accepting her circumstances as a destiny, she worked towards changing them.

Hearing this story, Rahul said that he fell in a series of thought and so did I. While he was reminded of his early teens when all he wanted to be was a superhero, I recalled my own embarrassing childhood ambitions. What was common is that we found it unusual for Rancy to have a definite plan lying ahead of her. Though as years pass by, her ambitions might change from one point in the spectrum to another, what will remain fixed are her persevering attitude and her ability to dream big.

Somehow this story reminded me of Stephen Spender’s words “…Where all the future’s painted with a fog, A narrow street sealed in with a lead sky Far far from rivers, capes and stars of words” about a set of students living in slum and of how incorrect the poet was, for the fog turns into clouds as soon as children are taught the art of dreaming. Just like Rancy, more children have to be made aware that knowledge is empowering and that dreaming is emancipating.

 

M Sonali, CRY Volunteer, Delhi

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