To Xiong with love

Got a mail from my dear friend Xiong. He was a volunteer with us two years back but then, slowly, became a dear friend, someone whose advise and ideas I respect and try to follow: a sounding board for a lot of what we do and often I find myself listening to him and implementing his suggestions. In his latest mail Xiong informed me that he was joining our sponsorship programme. I guess that he more than anyone else read in between the lines all that was left unsaid.

Now the sponsorship programme allows you to select a class and Xiong in his inimitable gentle style simply wrote:
If I had to choose a class I would like to be updated on news about the secondary section because I seldom read about them much on your blog, and also because I'm somehow more emotionally attuned to teenagers.

Touche! He was right. I seldom write about the secondary kids, at most when they bring back laurels that add to our already heavy wreath. Are they not the ones who have year after a year for almost a decade passed every single examinations they sat for. It was time to make amends and also to do some soul searching. Why were they the ones one rarely wrote about?

The answer was simple. They were the good child in the project why family. The one you take for granted, the one who never steps out of line and always does what you expect it to. And hence the one you overlook as you wit in front of your screen to share your trials and tribulations. But today I will write about them as I should have long ago.

Our senior secondary section is a bunch of about 100 teenagers from class IX to XII. They are under the care of their Naresh Sir, the very young man who took on the challenge nine years ago of ensuring that those everyone called gutter snipe, would shine and excel. And for the last almost a decade he has been doing just that. The secondary section is located in an airy room on top of our computer class. Every time we go and visit the class, we find them sitting with their heads buried in their note books. They barely look up,as they wish you the time of the day and you just tiptoe away from fear of disturbing them.

Unlike other classes they have few demands: a book now and again, money to make photocopies and once a year just before the final examinations, a plea for an outing to the movies. Then when the results are out they drop by to thank you with the customary box of sweets and a proud smile on their happy faces!

Then they are ready to take on the big world with confidence and poise, and we watch them leave the nest with pride and clouded eyes.