When Kiran got admitted in an upmarket pubic school.. it was a dream come true for her family and for all those who love her. Admission woes were soon forgotten as she set of in her sparkling uniform to conquer a new world.
It would be a big challenge to see her through but her brave little family was determined to ensure that this lovely child would get the best, even if it meant a lot of sacrifices and many hurdles.
The first one came sooner than we expected. As summer holidays began and we perused the dreaded holiday homework sheets we stumbled on one that stumped us all. The class I one child was supposed to bake a cake and immortalise the event in a set of pictures that were to be pasted on the sheet.
Now cakes have percolated down to the poorest of homes in slums in the from of b'day cakes bought at the local bakery, or the packaged version available in local grocery stores but baking a cake is still an uncharted territory. Kiran's home does not have an oven and anyway her family's culinary expertise does not extend to baking.
On the other hand not doing the homework would entail consequences none of us would want. Hence the cake was baked in my home and the task fulfilled leaving us to wonder when and in what form would the next hurdle appear in what now seemed to be a surprise obstacle race.
This post could read as a fun one, but if one stopped and took time to think, the incident highlights once again the invisible, unmentionable and yet ever present divide that exists in our country.
I remember times when some part of the homework of my girls could not be completed for some reason or the other and how one confidently circumvented the issue with the teachers. It was easily done as both protagonists belonged to the same side of the fence. However in Kiran's case, saying that she did not have an oven at home would be almost akin to branding her with her red hot iron.
I am sure that teacher who drafted the homework included this item as a fun project and for as long as different kinds of schools exist in our land such things will occur. It is only when we look at all the children of India in the same manner that we will be able to resolve the issue...