13 year old, belongs to Kolkata and loves summer season. Wait, who loves summer? Isn’t it too hot and humid ?
Chottu spends his summer with his relatives who are florists in Delhi. He eagerly awaits the arrival of summer and is excited to board a train when school is off. He says, “Summers means two months of being around flowers.There is nothing better than that!” His uncle is a mechanic and his aunt sets up a flower stall in North Campus, right outside VP Chest.
I asked him if he goes to school and he shied away. Don’t be quick to judge! He does go to school but just doesn’t make it to class.“I like flowers. I bunk class to play in the garden and I collect different types of flowers,” he grins.
Why does this story matter ?
Children are beautiful. The toil of travelling in summer and working with his aunt doesn’t stress Chottu because he gets to learn about what he loves. His eyes light up when he tells me he can make a bouquet in 10 different ways. He is passionate and he is happy.
I tried convincing him to keep studying. Rather, I told him that if he wanted, he could study only flowers.
He looks down and I can sense discomfort.
A primitive education system in our country is far from being supportive of unconventional educational streams. It takes money to follow this dream and people like him aren’t lucky enough to afford the luxury of following their hearts.
I’m reminded of the plight of several kids his age who merely dream, but don’t aspire. Nonetheless, I tell him that dreaming is only the beginning. He should learn as much as he can and not lose hope. He says, “ Yes, my father tells me that God helps those who help themselves.”
I just smile and he smiles back at me.