Dear chacha Nehru,
“O chahca Nehru ke gulab, tum kitne kismet waale ho Rehte the unke paas sada, tum kitne kismet waale ho”
My Hindi teacher recited this poem in the yesterday’s class. My name is Mini, I am 10 years old. I’m studying in class 5 and I go to Bal Vidya Mandir.
My teacher told the class several things about you, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, a freedom fighter and that you love children and this is the reason why we celebrate your birthday, 14th November, as children’s day. Your ideas, the kind of life you imagined for the children of India, that really triggered me to talk to you.
You talked about what makes a person wiser; a wise person never speaks of his/her wisdom or proves his/her superiority. I’m only 10 years old and can’t say much about my wisdom and the knowledge I have but I thought of writing a letter to you and talk about problems we, the children, face.
While walking up to school and then to my class after I place my school bag, which is heavier than me, on my seat, I could feel the numbness in my small shoulders and that remains throughout the day. Sometimes whenever we misbehave in our class, for example, forgetting our homework or creating mischiefs, we get bitter scolding and beatings from the Wise people.
There are so many books, so many projects and so much to study. I feel lost because I don’t find the time to do what I love. I love to draw and I love colors and painting, I painted the area around our bus stop because I find a lot of colors over there, a lot of people, jibber jabber, especially in the evening, everything is quite illuminated again with bright and vibrant lights and colors…!!!
But my parents and teachers think that I should concentrate more on science and maths and should play some sports (my parents hardly looked at my new painting). So, after school they made me sit for extra 90minutes so that I can solve more maths and science exercises. Whenever I tried to complain about me feeling hungry or using the bathroom to wash my face for better focus, I was looked down in contempt by my teachers.
I never understood why they dislike it so much, and calling us out as “gone cases” and “good for nothing”. I really wish if they could understand that we were hungry and wanted to use the bathroom, I really wish if they could understand that we were not avoiding anything.
My parents enrolled me in some sports stadium for basketball without my consent, I think, they want to brag about it later in front their friends and relatives again. So after getting home, I quickly rushed to change and eat my lunch. My parents find it annoying whenever I try to discuss what happened at school, I so wanted to tell them that I am doing well at my studies now, but all in vain. I can’t remember when I last slept at this hour of the day after lunch, only and only to feel fresh.
After my mom dropped me to the stadium’s gate, again with a huge and heavy backpack, here I am in my sports gear and sports shoes, rubbing my eyes, trying to focus especially when almost everything and everyone seems nothing but a mere outline..!!
My basketball coach made me run 10 rounds of that huge ground for warm up and whenever I stopped he held me by my arm and thrashed with all his strength. He is a strong man, and I can’t stand his shouting. Sometimes he is so loud that I am ridiculously shivering and crying. By the time I reach home, I am drenched in sweat, my eyes are burning, I can’t feel my bones and muscles, and everything feels so numb and gone, I am so feverish.
My mom is waiting for me at the dining table questioning me about what took me so long to arrive and asked me to quickly wind up and have my refreshment. While I was eating she kept complaining about my consistent low scores and that dad is planning to put me in maths classes. Later, throughout my refreshment, she kept comparing my progress and performance with my cousin who is an all-rounder in her school, but I get so tired every day.
I was too tired to complete my homework but somehow, I managed to revise all my lessons. At night, while going to bed I still felt some energy to complete one of my paintings. My mom came in and told me to drop everything and go to sleep.
Dear Chacha Nehru, the things my teacher told the entire class about you, really made me to talk to you. You talked about our beautiful world that we are living in, you talked about its beauty, you talked about tress, plants, flowers, and mountains. I love to draw everything that you mentioned. That human being is the most beautiful and interesting creation of god. I often get confused about what grown-ups are exactly thinking about me. I really wish if I could be friends with them so that they can understand me better.
Isn’t it possible for you to come down and again talk about us children all over again? Isn’t it possible for you to hold a special meeting, just like they have it at school, for all the wise people out there and scold them to stop asking me to do so many things every day? I promise I will do more of science and maths but please tell my parents and my teachers to also let me paint freely.
I know you are not here amongst us and I am clueless about where to post this letter. With a lot of expectations, I’m leaving this letter here and I hope you read this from the stars.