The First Shots
They say, curiosity killed the cat.
But frankly speaking, aren’t we all
guilty of that? We all have questions,
we’d like to have answers to, but
cannot find. It may not be to our
advantage, but no stone will be left
unturned, or left behind. If you’re
looking for the proper answers, don’t
veer off course. Just be certain it’s
coming, form the right source. Most
importantly, make sure what you’re
being told, is true. Then beyond a
doubt, you’re going to find out and
all your wondering days, will be
- Audrey Heller
The First Week
Days 6, 7
By Monday morning, almost the entire school population was aware of the previous morning’s misadventures. With fifteen minutes still to go for the morning assembly, Azon retold his by-now largely-blown-out-of-proportion-by-the-grapevine story, well-supplemented by pictures from his iPhone.
The new timetable had taken effect today. The afternoon session was Computers for class II. It was an open, free session introducing the kids to computers and computing. None of them had seen one before. Before class ended, all of them got a chance to type their names in MS Word:
Now, even three weeks after returning home, I can name all of them (except one) by looking at the top of their little heads; Clockwise from top-middle: Sayma Batt, Seema Banoo, Muazim Wani, Iqra Nabi Wani, Yasir Bashir, Unknown :(, Sakib Lohar. Aisha Tabassum Batt’s scarf is visible in the top-left.
After class on Monday, I headed down South again, this time with Azon, for a short walk (See Map). No walk in Breswana can be uneventful; Breathing in the pine-fresh air, the silence punctuated by the melodious chirping of the abundant birds, the cold breeze freezing exposed skin, taking in the magnificent unobstructed panorama, (and later in the season, eating fresh, wild strawberries picked from the path-sides), a walk in any part of Breswana is a feast for all the human senses.
No need to worry about being hit by motorists or breathing in dust; Just give way to the horses carrying goods from the nearest town! ;)
On the way back, we visited the Government School. More on that, tomorrow :)
By (a very windy and cold) Tuesday, the kids and I were very comfortable in each others presence. The kids picked up on what is and what isn’t permissible in my class (almost everything was, in fact, except shouting :) ); I had identified the smart, the slow and the troublesome ones. Ocean had come up in a lesson. They had never seen an ocean or a sea, understandably. I put together all the pictures of oceans, seas and lakes I had in my laptop, and presented a slideshow. The kids asked me to show them some videos during the break; I showed them the Quidditch sequence from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
“Green Waloon ko dekho!”
(Look at the Green-People!)
Everyone knows those (/us) Slytherins are up to no good! ;)
That evening, Sabbah took me on a walk through the nearest houses, four of them. It was my first proper glimpse into a village lifestyle. Breswana has been through tough times; Possibly none more tough than the militancy years of the 90s. Sabbah and some of the villagers narrated some of the horrific tales from that decade, about how life was hell, caught between the ruthless militants and the aggressive army. I’ll be sharing some of those stories, and a brief history of the region, in a subsequent post(s). After everything they’d been through, it was surprising that they were still hospitable to outsiders. The pahari (literally, mountain-people) hospitality is legendary, indeed.
The local architecture is reflected in the picture. Most houses have earthen-roofs atop the wooden ceilings. The ground floor is usually the barn, and the upper floors serve as are living spaces, with the top of the barn serving as front yards.
On our return, at the small rectangular open space between the Cottage and the Computer Lab (see map) that serves as a playground for the kids, we found Hashim Din and Shahnawaz Alai (of The Happy Song fame) engaged in a series of races. This ground would be a major source of entertainment in the days to come; Countless hours were spent in races, jumps and sports of all kind with the local kids. The ground also acts as the Shooting Range.
Sabbah’s father owns a gun, as do most villagers who go hunting in winter. A few times during our stay, we would use Sabbah’s air-gun to shoot at a target at one end of the ground. Of course, the locals were always better than us. It took a few attempts before we hit the target, let alone the bulls-eye.