The Spark and the Sympathy

Our eyes see hundreds of faces every day, reading stories they tell with their expressions. Handful of these faces and expressions linger in mind. And some, so exceptional, that even after a brief 5 minute encounter, they remain etched in the memory forever. I made one such memory for myself on a hot sultry afternoon in Nagpur.

I had been a freelance journalist for a year now. Acquainting people across the spectrum during the assignments made me believe that I now had better understanding of the eternal chaos that surrounds us, although I was chaos and confusion personified during those days.

My new assignment was about higher studies for physically challenged students. School for blind students, School for Deaf and Dumb students, School for special children; wherever I went, rhetorical answers, laced with pity and sympathy, filled the room after the questions started. Pride, accomplishment and achievements of both the students and the teachers were in plenty; but not without an undertone of grief, self-pity and silent sigh.

The principal of the School for Deaf and Dumb students summoned Suresh Bhoyare to her cabin that afternoon so I could interview him. He was one of their brightest students, I was told, outstanding at studies and sports. I smiled at him when he entered the room. He flashed back a big pleasant infectious smile to everyone in the room. I first thought it was out of amusement about being interviewed and felt nice about making this chap happy. But when he started answering the questions, I realized, it wasn’t about this interview or any other superficial reason.

“I wish to earn my diploma from Hyderabad. I will work after my 10th, save some money and then finish my studies. It is my dream. I know I cannot accomplish everything that other kids can. But there are things that I can. And I don’t wish to stop before I achieve all that, I will not,” he said it in a language I did not understand. But I did not need the Principal to translate the sign language to me. Suresh’s face said it all.

There was something about the glow in on his face when he talked about his dreams. Childlike innocence and maturity, enthusiasm and calm, passion and detachment, confidence and fear; I could see everything on his face, but not a trace of self-pity, grief or pessimism. Those expressions and the sheer purity on his face kept me dumbstruck all the while that he spoke. The 14-year-old boy sitting in front of me had made sense out of the eternal chaos long ago. Wisdom kept shining on his face all the while we spoke. One part of me wanted to stay and hear him talk all day, other part wanted to run away as I felt as small as grain in front of him. “I have a class now. Can I leave?” he smiled again after a few minutes and left. I gathered my notes and myself and left too.


About sayali611

Spent a lifetime building a wall around myself, only to realize that what remained inside was as hideous as anything I would protect myself from. This blog is my attempt to break free, one brick at a time, and to make sense of what was blocked out.

Posted on May 3, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Antriksh Raje

    Now this .. i like..!! simple, honest, pure, effective! Strikes a subtle chord in the reader’s heart. just goes to show that simple words can be so much more effective to display a plethora of complex emotions.
    the only improvement that i can think of is the use of some better words at certain places..
    well done this time!! 🙂

  2. thank u. “strikes a chord”? that makes my day 🙂

  3. The incident is described nicely and expressively. The word power is good, was enough to distract me from my real world. And the story is inspirational for everyone….

  4. …..wherever I went, rhetorical answers, laced with pity and sympathy, filled the room after the questions started…..

    I find this contradictory to the overall tone of the writeup, which has been positve and full of optimism.

    • positivity trickled in after the incident that followed. things were mundane till then. n i tried to dial it down as much as i could, but this was the reality of most of these schools – answers where invariably laced with self pity.

  5. It is a beautiful place you have touched upon. To find innocence like that from someone who has come to grips with his lot in life is amazing. It is one of those generous slices of your favorite pie….savoring each bite is simply what I did while reading your words… powerful writing… love, love, love it… thank you for inspiring the first smile of my day…


    • Thank you. Your comment has inspired the first smile of my day too. Glad you like it so. Thank you for stopping by, and i hope you like the other pieces too 🙂

  6. “other part wanted to run away as I felt as small as grain in front of him”
    I too felt the same thing. It’s quite inspirational and definitely forced me to think about myself.

  7. Very true !!!!
    And finally I have my first reply 🙂 glad.
    Honestly, your posts have encouraged me to write more, though I have just started. The way you write is just too catchy, inspiring and holds a person till the end. I definitely cannot write the way you do, it’s difficult 😀 Anyway, Thank you !!! 🙂

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