Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wee Little Tale of Sneha.

The Wee Little Tale of Sneha .

"So who will make charts for the poem? I need one chart...", questioned the second grade Hindi teacher.

Two hands immediately shot up...the other students looked at their feet or their partners...

"Sunita, Sneha...But I only need one chart..."

"Please ma'am me..."
"Ma'am I'll make it better...!"

After a bit of rumination, the teacher relented "OK both of you can make it and I'll choose the one that is better."

Sneha didn't know whether to be pleased or nervous, so she was both. Competition made her extremely unsure of herself...well, she would try anyway.

"Here Sneha, you can take the pink chart, Sunita take this yellow one. I want them tomorrow, poem with a drawing next to it...remember the supervisor and headmaster may come to class and look at the chart so make it properly.", warned the teacher ominously.


"Daddy please!! I tried!! See those pencil marks ? I can't do it! And it has to be submitted tomorrow...the supervisor will see it and if I don't submit it, my teacher will shout at me!!", Sneha begged her father while looking beseechingly at her mother.

"You do draw well darling...", her mother said coaxingly to her husband who appeared to be melting.

"Hmmm...Ok. But what if the teacher comes to know?"

"No no...I promise I won't tell her! I'll say I made it myself! "

"Ok, give me the poem and I'll draw it. Fine way to spend a weekend. Drawing at work and at home!"


"Ok, show me the two charts...I hope both of you got them ready? I want no excuses."

"Yes Ma'am!", Sunita and Sneha both piped up proudly.

"Ok, first Sneha show me yours and then we'll see Sunita's work."

Sneha proudly [and anxiously] unrolled her finished chart complete with poetry written neatly and the drawing of the old woman depicted in it. She may not have had the perfect features but she was good enough.

"Hmm...this is OK. Nice...You did this yourself? Or did someone help you? Children look at you like it?"

"Yes ma'am...", echoed the little boys and girls in unison.

"Ma'am I did it myself!", said Sneha, coloring a little.

"OK, good ,now Sunita show me what you have made."

Sunita reluctantly opened her yellow chart towards the teacher.

"What is this Sunita?"


"This is to be put up on the drawing board? In front of the supervisor and the headmaster?! I didn't give you this chart to tear and dirty with your pencil marks! And the poem writing is so small I can't even see it! Do you think anyone will be able to read it on the board? And what is this drawing? How could you submit something so shabby??"

Sunita hung her head in shame.

So did Sneha.

The yellow chart was torn at the edges, probably in the bus ride to school. The light color of the chart paper made the grubby pencil marks stand out glaringly. The poem was written in an uneven hand, the lines travelling up and down, but not in a straight line. The drawing of the woman was poorly a child's hand. But they were children after all...

"Look class...See the two charts side by side? Which on is neater? more presentable? Which writing and drawing is better? Sunita's or Sneha's?", the teacher conducted an instant mini poll

"Sneha's ma'am...", the class pointed out in agreement with the teacher.

"So shabby".
Sneha watched a tear splash on the ground beneath Sunita.

Sneha's chart was immediately put up on the chartboard and the class oooh'ed and Aaah'ed over it.

Sunita's was in the large dustbin outside the class. For the rest of the day
Sunita remained silent.


"Come on get in line...walk straight to the bus.", the prefect scolded Sneha who was the last one to leave in her class.

"Just a minute I forgot my mother will shout at me.", Sneha needed to get back to class urgently while it was empty.

"Ok, but I'll be watching for you."

Sneha ran back to class, roughly unpinned the chart her father had made, from the board and rolled it. Unable to find the rubber band to hold it in place she just clutched it in her chubby little fingers and ran as fast as she could before anyone could see her and stop her.


"Beta didn't your teacher like the chart?", Sneha's mother asked as she saw her tired and grumpy daughter walk in the front door.

"She liked it, but the other girl's chart was better...and she made it herself..."

"'s ok need to feel bad."

"No...I am just feeling hot...and hungry."

Sneha could now take her afternoon nap in peace and with a light heart.


Afterword : Just so you know, this is a true story [not word for word] and till this date Sneha remembers Sunita, from her ponytail to her grubby hands and most of all she remembers the teardrop that dared to fall from her lowered eyelids and her head hung in shame.

29 lost souls found themselves in my mirror....:

ruSh.Me said...

Sigh! Honesty we have so much in abundance when we are young, just disappears inversely, as fast as we grow up!! :)

Aniket said...

Trust me. This is one of the most touching posts I've ever read.

And totally agree with, we were a hell lot better as kids.

You must read "All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum.

Superb post!

Zeba Talkhani said...

Ohh. I have read that(Robert Fulghum). It is so true. Sometimes makes me wonder what I am doing in college!!!

Love the post. Made me think of my own classes. My dad would never draw for me, even though he was good. I would always do it for myself. Others would get stuff drawn by their parents! That used to make me feel a little bad but then again, after so much practice I have now become a good artist!! My sister in grade 4 does not let anyone touch hers though. She is exellent and wants to become an artist when she grows up! Are you Sneha??

Little Girl Lost said...

what a beautiful, beautiful post, sweta... i love how you convert real life experiences into stories.
haven't seen you OL in a long time. you good?

Tongue-fu Lady said...

i agree with all the above bloggers..very beautiful n very touchy.. we kids can be all right and all wrong... :)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

This is such a heart-warming post. Children are so candid, and so honest to their instincts.

The Write Girl said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this story...I do hope things have worked out for this girl.
Thank you so much for your kind words on my site. Your blog is pretty special : )

Pretty Me!! said...

this was just so very god !! nice lesson .. wonder how the teacher failed to notice it !!

Chronicwriter said...

i wanna be a child again


CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Chronicwriter : When did you grow up??

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Pretty me: IDK, maybe she missed it because she was an adult. ;)

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@The write girl : I said no more than what you deserve :D...glad u liked the story. Sunita's future I don't know, but Sneha is well.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Sucharita : I agree...I wish I cud pin point the age at which they slowly start getting sullied...

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Tongue Fu lady : Thank u...btw WE kids?? ;D

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@LGL : Thank u!!

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Aniket: Will try to get hold of the book asap. is it available online? Can u recommend a site?

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Zeba : Good girl, drawing your own charts!! As for me, I'm Sweta!!

CoFfEe AnGeL said... : AH! Something made u comment!! :) i agree...partly. We alone can determine how honest or not we are...whether as kids or adults. I know honest adults...I know more than one in fact...they choose to have integrity and honesty all the while knowing life wud b easier with lies...its a hard choice...but worth it.

Aniket said...

I purchase books online from landmarkonthenet. coz shipping cost is less. will have to check if its available there.

Indian Homemaker said...

I have seen this happen. The worst and the most frustrating thing is can't the teachers see that the child has not made the chart herself? It's generally very obvious, but teachers are so keep to have a nice looking chart that they don't care for the purpose of the chart. I feel very, very strongly about such insensitive behaviour by teachers. This can and does scar little hearts, when it does not need to.

The idea of fun and creativity is destroyed in our class rooms...
I also feel the parents are pressurized to be 'involved' just like the children are pressurized to compete.
We have no concept of there is place for everyone under the sun?

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Aniket : Thanks...will check it out for sure...

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@IHM: you're totally right. The other kid in the story is more sensible than the teacher...some teachers r so pathetic. thats why we remember so few of them...

Nick said...

Hey chubby girl....I knew it was you who took help of his Dad.
You are still the same...naughty, chubby cheeked girl with big bright beautiful eyes,clean at heart,always ready to help ppl.

Wish I could have studied with you in the same school.

Keep smiling Chubbs!

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Nick : ;P my school was not co-ed!!!!

chirpy-paaro said...

Thanks for such nice ending...appreciate that kids are better then teachers... I still wonder that can't a teacher realise that a painting done by a kid and a father differ so much...but yeah its so damn true!!

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Chirpy Paaro : No need to thank me...thats just how it ended :o)

laddu said...

do u know those two kids?

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Laddu : I most certainly do. I used to know sunita, now i just know Sneha :) why?

laddu said...

simply asked....