Teaching English is fun especially in a CBSE school. Even my principal thinks that English is a “light” subject, just fun. All subjects should be fun to learn, according to me. CBSE has made the English syllabus too ‘light’ to make it funny, especially at the plus two level. So it’s a child’s play for the teacher in the classroom. In spite of such a playful atmosphere (or because of it, perhaps) in the classroom, some students get bored and indulge in personal enterprises in the classroom like drawing cartoons, scribbling whatever comes to their mind, or practising their signature.
“∑militants = my lyf” was one such scribbling I came across the other day on the notebook of a student who appeared distracted.
“The sum of all militants is equal to my life,” I read it aloud paraphrasing the mathematical equation into normal language. Then I liked the way it sounded. I repeated what I said. I could easily sense that the whole class had become interested in the line.
The student who wrote it is from Manipur. He had returned to school a few days back after the Diwali break. He had witnessed the turbulent situation in his state. A situation that had inflated the price of a gas cylinder to Rs1000 or more. Life is quite tough in the hill state. Militants make it tougher. It’s no wonder that my student’s life became tantamount to the sum of all militants.
“You are a poet,” I said to the student. “Only a poet can write such a line.” Of course, I chose to ignore the mathematical symbols in what he had written. Rather, I translated them into normal English. “So you have to complete this poem. Give me the completed poem tomorrow.”
The poem did not come the next day.
“When will I get it?” I asked.
“Friday, Sir,” he said.
He was true to his word. Yesterday he gave me his poem.
Here is a part of it:
The sum of all militants is equal to my life.
Calm, quiet and no sound of love;
Hear the sound of destruction
And the scream of a mother,
For she lost her family and
I couldn’t even help them
And I remain insane.
I just couldn’t fight
And I remain insane.
I wonder why our society fills the life of its youth and children with insanity.