If i had a magic wand

If I had a magic wand…
This was the essay topic for one of our groups at the year end assessments. I opened up the answer sheets expecting wondrous stories, colorful dreams and wishes for fancy houses, big cars and luxury…for friends and happy times. I would wish for some of that along with happiness and peace and all those things you hear about so often.
I was surprised, shaken and so moved by the first essay I read. The demands were simple…each wish gave me goose bumps on my hand.
Wish no.1: If I had a magic wand, I would wish for breakfast and I would be able to eat before I went to school
Wish no.2: If I had a magic wand I would wish for my own lunch at school and my box would appear
Wish no.3: If I had a magic wand I would fly in the sky to America ..and then I would wish I could take my parents there too so they could see what I have seen.

I wonder where these little wishes came from? Is that all it would take to make this boy happy? Or is the world of possibilities that this topic throws open a world that this child does not believe in and cannot even dare to dream of?
Along with English and math and values and confidence we have to continue to work hard to help our kids dream and believe that this too can come about!

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE PORCELAIN POT

The other day, I took some kids from one of our centers for a press conference at the Press Club near VT. I cannot begin to describe what a super treat it was to be with them.

There were 7 children, very excited but all well behaved. As instructed by their didi, they walked out of their center in a single file and held hands when we crossed the busy street. And the sweetest part was that in spite of just being tiny little things at a level three, they insisted on speaking only in English…”Didi where I ? What doing now?” The questions were unending as their curious minds took in the sights and sounds.

It was delightful to see how fascinated they were with every little thing in the Press Club…the lounge….fancy glass top tables, comfy chairs, a flat screen TV…they wanted to know about everything they saw! They asked for water and got it in fancy glasses! It was a treat to see them hold the glass carefully in both hands and then drain the glass down to the last drop! Naturally, the tall glasses of cold water in the air-conditioned room were soon followed by fidgeting and then a  desperate plea:“Didi!!!! toilet go now! please!!!” And so began the next expedition – the journey to the FANCY LOO!

I first took the girls to the restroom. They peeped in and then looked back at me confused by the porcelain pot that gleamed in the clean white enclosure. So we got introduced to the pot, learned how to sit on one and then I showed them the BUTTON (!) for the flush. The flush was the highlight of the day – because to push a button and see water gush out and then swirl in dizzying concentric circles down a plush white porcelain bowl was quite a thrill!

Then began the ritual of washing hands, using the soap dispenser with delicious smelling liquid soap, wiping hands dry with a paper towel pulled out from a box by the tallest girl standing on her tip toes! And the grand finale – stepping on the foot hold of the fancy metal dustbin to watch it swing open and toss the used paper in…this was almost a fieldtrip in and of itself!

The meeting/ conference that we had come for paled into something fairly banal…though the kids were excited to meet the speaker (and her I-phone!)

Rahul Bose was there too. They did not recognize him at first but then it was so funny to watch their expressions as they suddenly realized halfway through the power point that the man sitting in front of them was also featured in an ad and the video clip that they were being shown!

There were sandwiches for everyone after the press conference but we were running short on time given a choice between food and their favorite new spot… the kids insisted on going to the fancy bathroom before exiting the press club…(I did pack the sandwiches for them in any case!).

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