A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)

I still Hope..


This morning, from the Warzone Mumbai, that screened on the news channel, I went to school, where it was business as usual, being in a sense, far removed from the happenings in Mumbai. At assembly, the news was read out by Niranjana, and she shared the latest happenings, in numbers and quotes from newspapers and news channels. I was glad she did. I hoped that a sombre mood would prevail, and hoped for the seriousness of it all to sink in, in the minds of the children.

But children will be children, right? My class, the sixth, were busy with the cleanliness campaign, having newly discovered the value of dignity of labour. We had a session yesterday, where I shared some of my own school day tasks. I take heart. Something has transferred itself to them. So I share what I saw just before I left for school. And I ask them, is there anything we can do? Re-phrased. What can we do?

Silence for a while. A young boy pipes up, “Shoot the terrorists.” So we discuss this, and we realize that this is happening. But isn’t that something an elder person would do? What can you do? Re-phrased. What can we here, do? “Pray” came a quiet voice. A young girl. Suddenly, I realized I had been rather insensitive.

Quickly I asked them, do you have anybody in Mumbai? Are they safe? Some nodded. The same young girl looked a little worried. Anna, I asked, anyone there? Yes, teacher, she said. And are they safe? Yes, but they live very close, in Colaba. Hmmm… so did you all speak to them. The response was affirmative. But the atmosphere in the class changed. They empathized with her. At the end of the period, I noticed how some children went across to her to quietly ask her things and speak to her.

In the eighth and ninth standards, the responses were more vocal. Condemning the news channels, especially those taking mileage out of the happenings, and yet sharing all that they knew of what they had seen, they were still not able to go beyond, “Shoot them all”, when it came to what we could do. Treat each other better? I asked. Smiles. No, I insisted, begin there, and see how it ripples out. What if something like this happened again, and to someone who we knew, us, also? Can we make a difference I asked? Usure looks again, but some more positive nods. The how of it, well, they still had to define for themselves. So I spoke of that wonderful story of the man on the beach throwing the gasping starfish back in the sea. It is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard. The bell rang, as I wound up. I simply told them how it made a difference to that one starfish, thrown back to life. Could we not in some way internalize that??

Why am I telling the children this, I wondered? But then, there is no one else who would understand it so well, and no one else I would trust to change and make that difference.

And that is why I still hope.

Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

15 thoughts on “I still Hope..

  1. its nice to see the kids reacting in such vareity of ways
    tht incident of the girl really touched me


  2. You continuously remind me of one thing: The definition of a Teacher in the truest of senses! Since I’ve never seen you, I picture you in the face of my teacher of English at school, whom I so adore.I do believe she would’ve done the same at school today. Hats off to you! Thank heavens for people like you.

    I have been trying to make living sense of what has happened to the country, not for a while, but for days together, this time. And thanks to posts like yours, in all the chaos, I can still hope.

    ‘Hope is a good thing’- Shawshank Redemption.

    Bless you! 🙂


  3. Usha, that was so wonderful of you. Yeah, we all still hope…


  4. Praveen, some of the reactions were really eye-openers. Of course many of them had only a little bit of information, so they were rather clueless.

    Rukhiya, Thank you too, for those warm words. Am still making myself believe that it just wasnt a nightmare, but one that happened. Most of it still seems to be in the realms of unbelievable.

    Shail, if we could just cling on to that bit of hope, and ingrain it in the kids.. so we must keep trying!


  5. ‘What can you do? Re-phrased. What can we here, do?’.

    I would like to echo Rukhiya’s comments. I wish to salute teachers like you.

    This question has been bothering me too while sitting helplessly glued to the TV watching scenes that made me proud and ashamed at the same time – proud to see we have what it takes to right a wrong and ashamed to see such misguided and misdirected violence for petty ends that Pakistan wants to achieve, and also our wily politicians permitting it to happen with regularity. What’s the answer – I believe we need better people to join politics, as a national calling. I would urge teachers like yourself to remove the impression in the younger generation’s mind that politics is bad. India cannot survive without democracy and democracy only functions through peoples representation in parliament. Politics for common good is desirable and in nation’s interest. I too am hopeful and with teachers like you, I do believe that – ‘woh subah kabhi to aayegi…..’.


  6. I totally agree with Rukhiya..its thanks to people like you,Usha that we can hope to have a better future through our children who are instilled such good teachings by teachers like you.
    The Mumbai tragedy had left me totally dejected. about the whole aspect of hope. But not anymore,I guess. I have hope in my child.
    Thank you,Usha!


  7. Thanks Usha, yes certainly you can take the list to the class, (i have edited to addd some more details). It is the teachers like you who will have to ignite the minds of our younger generation so that they stand up tall and collect themselves in time and don’t face the mess that we are in.


  8. Hope was the only good thing to come out of Pandora’s box…

    But ma’am… I wonder… Yes, I have read a story – A Retrieved Reformation (O Henry)- that talks about the ‘transformation’ of a certain Jimmy Valentine.

    But I wonder… Seriously wonder… How can ‘terrorists’ transform just like that? They are trained to become hard-hearted creatures when their brains are still fertile!

    I respect Gandhi-ji (My not believing some of his philosophies is another thing)… But I seriously feel one has to fight fire with fire. Attack is the best form of defense (may be not always; yet.)

    Who are we to judge; you may ask? But we cannot leave everything to the Almighty. Yes, there is Karma – what goes around, comes around. But Zeus is not going strike down any terrorist with his lightning bolt… We have to take it on ourselves. So, in that aspect, they have to be gunned down. But then again, this is MY opinion.

    We have this life… And we have to live it. We have to make our choices before the choice is forced upon us. Live or die… We make our choice. We have been supposedly blessed with the ability to think… A pity… We are not putting it to proper use.


    PS: I totally agree with what you said to them children. It is indeed heartening to see people like yourself preach what is so damn necessary today. How I hope this is the case everywhere. A school is not a ‘madraasa’ where thoughts of violence have to be drummed in to fertile minds.

    Sorry if I sounded weird up there. Spoke my mind.



  9. Mr Joshi, it is inspirations like you too, who instigate, that make one want to go out and try a little more. Indeed, I shall make that attempt too, to talk of politics, and change my perspective. Perhaps I too am guilty of making them feel that politics isn’t for them, by being derogatory of some politicians. Not done, at all. So thank you, immensely, for making me want to change that and hopefully trigger off a thought in some minds at least, as to pursue a kind thought of governance, as against its office bearers. 🙂

    Deepa, I am glad you found hope here. I have not lost it at all. For I work around living symbols of those.. 🙂 As you see too, in your little one. God Bless!

    Mr Balvinder Singh, thank you. I have copy pasted it, for use, to shake a few feathers, and warm thoughts to them. I hope to be able to tell you that yes, it made a difference to them, listening to it, and wanting, in some way to respond to it.

    Karthik, I hope I have not come across as judgemental, or preachy. It wasn’t the intention 🙂 But my words have a way of defining themselves, on their rambles:)
    I do understand your reservations regarding prayer. Actually it came from Anna, a student of mine; and yes, constructively, one begins from there, and then when that touches you right there, where it matters, the response to it, active, or passive, violent or non violent, aggressive or not, will come. Certainly one cannot be passive in the face of such an assault.

    Thank you for speaking your mind. It is needed, and glad that you did. Thank you again:)


  10. Oh no… Not at all. Sorry if I sounded that way ma’am. I wrote that out of sheer frustration at what’s going on… And what’s not been done.

    Apologies in case I sounded so.

    As I said, it is indeed heartening to see the way you handles the issue in class. That’s why teaching is the ‘noble profession’ and teachers make the future… Our future.


    My response in most blogs:

    How will the government react? This is how their cabinet meeting will go.

    Two minutes silence for the dead…
    Shivraj Patil-ji, please answer the following questions –
    Any ministers injured or dead? No
    Any MPs injured or dead? No
    Any state CMs or ministers injured or dead? No
    Any MLAs injured or dead? No
    Any former PMs or CMs injured or dead? No
    Any ‘important’ politicians not belonging to the above list injured or dead? No
    Any film stars or cricketers injured or dead? No
    Are you a zombie, Mr Shivraj Patil? Yes.
    Right, we move on to the next item on the agenda.


  11. Karthik 🙂 Peace 🙂 It’s ok 🙂
    If it weren’t so poignant, what has happened, that would be an outright laughter riot, the way those questions are posed and answered. Thanks.


  12. Teachers can make such a difference! When I was in class VIII, we had anEnglish teacher, my all time favorite teacher, who changed us in so many little ways. In those days she talked about not chopping trees down; and she hated ‘licence -raj’, I hate it till today; she talked about cultural and religious tolerance, co-education (she supported them), she loved all animals and spoke of compassion …
    Your students will talk about you to their kids. Maybe you will never come to know of it, but you will have made a tremendous difference.
    If we had more such teachers, we’d have no terrorists.


  13. IHM, thank you, again :)I know for sure that it has by teachers, a Maths teacher in school, and later my English Lecturer who influenced me deeply. A lot of my way of interacting is modelled on them, I guess 🙂

    I do not know about the kids, but I do know that they teach the best lessons of life; ones that we forget on our way up in life, or down, sometimes 🙂 There have been deeply fulfilling moments like the one when a motorcyclist stopped me bang in the middle of the road, while I was on my way to school, after lunch. I stopped my Kinetic, rather scared, because this guy had a helmet. He removed it, gave a cocky grin and asked me, Remember me Miss? Took me a few seconds, but I thank my lucky stars I did 🙂 It had been years since I had last seen him, but just the fact that he stopped and said hello… that made a difference. 🙂 He made a difference. I shared that story too with the ninths, that day! And I treasure the smiles it received!


  14. Lol, typo… and for an English teacher that should be unforgivable:

    I know for sure that it has been my teachers


  15. Kids always react to things in the true inncoent way. You remind me of one of my teachers. She use to make us understand things, that i thought “quite big for my age during school days”.
    Today kids know everything though they react in different ways..


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