Unlike the past, today they say, “We have light.” I tried to figure out what this light meant and how much light do we have and how do we utilize it. I asked one of my parents, “Baba, what is this light which they are talking about?” My Baba an answer and said that they were referring to education and literacy and efforts are on to make the education accessible and to stop the rate of stagnation and wastage. And apart from that, unlike the past, there is rarely a house hold left which doesn’t have even a single member who can read and write’ that’s why they call today’s epoch full of light and luster.
Moved by the answer of my Baba, I felt somewhat nostalgic and reminiscent as some hours had hardly passed till I had encountered a mother who was wailing like a newly born baby and tattering her clothes as if someone had killed her only child. Feeling somehow sympathetic I went closer to the lady to ask about her condition. The lady replied in a very mild and touchy voice that her only child was going to celebrate his ring ceremony tomorrow. I replied in a jiffy that she must be then jubilant and ecstatic as parents wait for such a moment when their child reaches the age to get married.
The lady’s temper surged bit as I had perhaps replied improperly and without seeing the feasibility of time. She then added that that she was a widow and a Bengali which, and her husband had passed away long time before, but she had not left any stone unturned to make her only son’s life like heaven and did everything to fulfil his wish and desire.
In between listening and talking a thought came into my mind and I contemplated The thought which was revolving was about the weeping lady’s son, and I thought might he be a kid of scattered and jagged one which most of the kids who lose their fathers early turn to be, so I pushed her further and asked what her son does and what occupation he holds. Much to everyone’s surprise she stutteringly said, “he holds an MSC in Zoology, and has qualified nation eligibility test too, and she had invested her every penny for her education, but now time has reached where I’m not allowed to accompany him to his ring ceremony because my presence will bring him down and humiliate him from skies as he said”.
I tried to console her as much as I could but I was rendered helpless so I couldn’t do much to stop her tears and when I left, her still eyes were waiting for her son’s approval to be part of his ring ceremony while muttering “Have you forgotten I took you 9 months in my womb?”
Bring the two images of light and weeping lady, I felt completely lost in what my Baba had deciphered as ‘today’s light’, since day in and day out never an instance passes when I don’t happenstance students who I see clad in uniforms loitering like herd while having cigarettes in their mouths and who follow girls like wild beasts on their bikes as if they have been given confirmation to be casted in the DOOM4 movie. The irony is that all these things happen near the education institutes where these kids get illumination and are taught to make difference between right and wrong.
The light that symbolises education may be the light of being literate to read and write but considering light as an education is not less than doing mayhem and carnage . Education is way ahead than being literate; a literate can read and write but an educated knows how to behave, how to talk and where he or she am needed.
—The author, a student of 10th Standard in Candid Higher Secondary, Nowgam, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org