I don’t frequent Youth Centre much. As it is generally students that throng the center, I feel my presence would, needlessly, meddle their freedom and leave them malcontent. So, I shun being regular especially during school off hours.
But seldom I do and see if I can be of any help to the visitors.
It was around last week that I ran into three little girls whose unfeigned love for the books had me adore their bibliophile habit. One was second grader and the other two third. Only after several exchange of words did I discern the three were almost daily visitors to the center. Curious I felt and prudently maneuvered to spark up a discussion while strictly keeping the friendly composure.
Soon realizing that they were dodging the interrogations, I stopped bothering any further. But to have them perpetuate the conversation, I sweet mouthed them and seemingly the thought of leaving me unattended, because I am a teacher, didn’t even orbit somewhere near their imagination. Thereafter, no sooner had I established good acquaintance by the dint of my ingenuity than they relished my noble intention. We became good friends.
All the three had one thing in common.
They have a strong penchant for Dzongkha books. All the three told they read mainly to acquire knowledge and keep themselves informed. Yes, their read was flawless, commendable and at par with many students two or three levels superior to them. But when asked on their liking towards English, they shied away a little and candidly whispered, “It is quite hard”. To check their competency, with my slapdash approach, I bumped into books of their standard and forcibly made them read aloud. The three of them looked nervous and fell behind hugely as compared to their Dzongkha counterpart.
Soon afterwards, knowing their plight in English, I made an attempt to kindle their interest. They appeared enthusiastic and flanked me from either sides to see what my influence have to offer them. Together we did chorus reading for almost an hour and took to solo reading quite some time later. It was fulfilling to see them at my disposal and unanimously agree with the idea of reading together.
They retreated with an assignment to commit few hours of the day to read English and display considerable progress. While I could not help myself wait for the next round of meet, I firmly kept my fingers crossed for their endeavor and watched them pull away homewards with smiles crossing their lovely lips.
Little did I know that I will walk into curious mind like theirs and feel please myself?
It was a lesson which came unannounced because of our common interest- a lesson where no classroom was required, the subject was reading and the outcome, inspiration.