Friday, June 17, 2005

Janu’s Small World

It was a foggy morning and young Janu was sleeping peacefully in her house. She was seven and had five siblings. They lived in the heart of the busy city. Her father took his family to the city from the village because of his work. Her mother was supposedly a house-wife, but was always out working with her father.

Janu’s days were fascinating. She used to go to the road in front of her house and watched the vehicles which pass by. She waved her hands to the people inside those vehicles. When a plane took off from the nearby airport, she watched it going up and finally disappearing in the sky. She never waved her hands to the airplanes. When the initial drops of rain came down, she catched it in her hands and also counted it. Later she gave up due to losing the count or due to the rain turning strong.

Janu maintained a collection of paper clippings. Every night, before sleeping, in the light of the candle, she used to look at all those clippings. She was able to identify some of the alphabets. Her father used to say that he will send her to school next year. Thinking repeatedly her father’s words, Janu used to embrace sleep. No one from her family had ever gone to school.

The school was near their house. Both shared a common wall. Students of her age studied in that school. But they never played with her. The school had a slum nearby. The school authorities disliked the presence of a slum next to their wall.

Hearing some loud sound, Janu woke up from her sleep. Her father and mother had already gone for their work. Her siblings were already awake and were playing outside. An odd looking vehicle, the biggest she had ever seen, was approaching her house. She was amused to see that vehicle. She ran towards it to see it in close.

The big vehicle didn’t stop and continued its way towards her house. From a distance, she saw the bulldozer sweeping away her house!

On the next day a small column appeared in the last page of a local vernacular newspaper. “The slum near the city school was evacuated. The school authorities are planning to build a park there. It is really sad that a school which is supposed to spread the light of knowledge is doing this.”