The Gift

             I couldn’t stop smiling first when i saw a group of students carelessly running around and playing their craziest. It was their PT (Physical Training) Class – no wonder!! And to add to their joy, it was drizzling softly. And soon, the energy just dropped with the ring of the bell. Their smiling faces frowned and heads dropped. Some of them started to gather the thrown-off ties, their respective i-cards, put-on their rainy-sandals back, formed a disciplined queue and went off the playground. Surprisingly the bunch that was so lively and bouncy turned into a silent row of ants and walked off.

In all this happening, there was almost unnoticeable murmur between boys that caught my eyes. And these grew as quick as fire in the jungle, one whispering to the others, in the small groups, to more others, and so on. They were, surely conspiring something, to be specific – conspiring about someone (i could guess). On further intruding I was treated uninvited.

Few days later, I witnessed something that i would have never thought this bunch of heads would come-up with.
Just when I was done with their attendance at the beginning of school classes, a boy came forward (he is supposedly the most shy one) and asked me if i could allow him to gift one of their friend in the class. I was confused…! There was no birthday in the class, no special treat days, no friendship day, no favorite day or whatever. It was just another day.
I nodded with suspicion and doubt. Well honestly, I was all puzzled.
The so-supposedly-shy boy smiled, slowly walked up to his-friend-in the-class boy and placed a box beautifully wrapped or shall I say “gifted” him and in his gentle tone said the following words:
“That rainy day, on the playground you broke your footwear and while returning to the class you were not wearing any. All of us observed that you were not wearing any footwear, since that day. We know you don’t have any. Those were the only ones you had. If you let us give this gift, only if you wish. All of us contributed and bought NEW ones for you. If you don’t like it, we can go together and exchange them.”

The class was under a spell (i felt so). Discreet silence.

He smiled and believe me when I say this, it was one of the prettiest I have ever seen. His eyes sparkled when he opened the box and he hopped screaming “hey….!!!! this ones come on T.V and now I have them. Waaooowww !! I will keep them for years and years.”
In no time, those pair of footwear fitted perfectly onto his feet. I have no idea how did they even manage to get the size perfectly right!

No thank-you. No welcome. They just smiled. I wish I could translate those smiles into any language we ever know.

Everybody started to clap, Even I did. A part of me wanted to bow down to the ones whom I thought I was teaching. I didn’t want to admit even for a second that they were students. What I witnessed was bunch of big-gigantic hearts held together in that classroom. I clapped endlessly and my heart was filled with immense joy and I thanked them for their gesture that made difference to that little boy’s life. (I feel, the boy’s family history need not be shared.)

To my shame, I had not observed the so obvious, being their class teacher. But, they did. It really had me haunting for days about my ability as a teacher. I felt so small standing in front of them.

Also, after this they never ever behaved differently in any manner that they contributed to his joy. They behaved the same as they always did. None of them changed, nor the giver or the receiver.

I learnt all that I could, out of this selfless act of sharing and caring. One can be just the mode of help and does not take pride for the same and continue to be so. Also, a teacher may miss to notice you but your friends will never.

They touched my heart. Left a footprint that would never fade.

They taught me a lesson of life, just like that.

They are my 6th class students.

Tiny little kids with big-gigantic-heart overflowing with kindness and love and so much more.

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