So near and yet so far.

Latif had a dream. He wanted to go to school. The garage in which he worked was situated right in front of a School. Everyday in his third hour of duty, which would start right at 6.00 am in the morning, his gleaming innocent eyes  followed the students walking into the school right to their classroom. If his vision had hearing abilities too, then his eyes would attend the lectures and then return back. Thats how bad he wanted to go to school.  Shining shoes, creased uniforms,  lunch boxes, well groomed oily hairs and backpacks flaunting 3-D Super Heroes, everything looked so perfect about going to school. There he was, dreaming about all these with greased hands. The intensified random thoughts in his brain slightly abated the speed of his hands working on the moped. All his dreaming ceased at once when a tight slap from his employer, Raja Saab, landed right on his cheek. He began to work, with his tears incessantly dropping on Mother Earth. At the tender age of 12, Latif dreamt of going to school.

That day was special. The city Mayor after dropping his children to the school stopped by the garage. He was accompanied by the headmaster of the school. Latif as usual was working his magic trying to revive a dead engine. He was all ears to the conversation between the two visitors and Raja Saab.  “Raja, something called as RTE has been implemented. The Government has taken this issue seriously. Now that the elections are nearing, my party wants to show that we are working towards implementing RTE. To that end we would like to enrol the three children working in your garage to the school. The Headmaster has agreed to enrol them in his school, so that he can claim for the funds released under the act” the Mayor spoke. The three of them then walked for a distance, discussed for a minute and then shook hands with each other and dispersed. Latif cried again, incessantly, this time due to unbearable joy. His dream was about to come true. That night in his sleep he had a dream.

He wakes up one fine morning. As he is struggling to open his eyes against the thorny rays of the morning sun, three shadow like humans greet him. He learns that they are Raja Saab with a brand new lunch box, Mayor with the creased uniform and the Headmaster with the new shining shoes. They get him ready. For the first time in his life the boy walks out of his home ready for school. From the dark interior of his dilapidated home he walks towards a bright exterior in the hope of a bright future. 

theboywt

Image Courtesy: Morgue File (http://mrg.bz/jnYWqY)

He then awoke in reality to be subjected to exactly the same events as in his dreams. But instead of School, he is taken to a photo studio along with the other two children. After the photo shoot of the children in their school uniforms, their finger prints are imprinted in the rectangular box of a form. Latif is shocked when they bring him back home and ask him to change. They take back the uniform, bag, lunch box and shoes. He feels like someone is taking away his life.  Raja Saab hands over a cover each to the Mayor and the Headmaster. That evening when Latif is as usual working his magic on a bike, the Headmaster drops by to leave his scooter for service. ” Two free services you remember” he remarks. “Ya Ya I know” retorts Raja Saab. Once the Headmaster leaves a visibly angry Raja Saab slaps the three kids and shouts at them. ” You bloody rascals. Because of you I had to pay 20,000 bribe and now I have to give two free services for that bastard. I will cut fifty rupees every month from your salary now onwards”.

Latif wipes his tears and resumes work. His friend, 10 years of age, comes near him and rests his palm on his shoulder and says ” It should be terrible for you. It was your dream right.” Latif answers with a mature smile ” At least I got to wear it for a moment. I will work like a donkey and make sure my children go to school”.

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This post is written in response to “The Boy”: Wednesday Prompt  at  Write Tribe.

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18 thoughts on “So near and yet so far.

  1. This was such a moving tale with lovely narration. Although I thought that finally Latif would see the corridors of a school, you managed to highlight how the politicians have outwitted the entire system using their money and political power. Lovely post 😀

    PS: The image does not appear correctly. You might want to re upload it.

  2. I was so happy that Latif ‘s dream had come true but it was short-lived and you have exposed he harsh and murky reality.

  3. Educating their kids is the dream of quite a few people who are uneducated for no fault of theirs.
    Very well written, really moving. PG, I wonder whether the fact that you are a teacher gave this post that little extra that makes it so special.

    • Thanks PI. As far as the fact that me being a teacher having influenced such a post is concerned, I agree to it mostly. Certainly I too was moved while coming up with the story.

    • @Kathy. Sorry for the late reply. I noticed your comment in the spam folder. I have no idea how it happened.
      As far as your comment is concerned, I totally agree with you. Kids who have got the opportunity to go to school
      should consider themselves lucky.

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