This Kheertna, the student at Sultaan Bazar Government Girls High School who probably tugs the hardest on my heart strings. She does not say much – whether due to shyness or language, I am not certain – but she is one of the most hard working girls in class. Since the first day of TMS she arrives at least 15 minutes early, cutting short her post-lunch play time to sit as close to me as possible in a chair as I prepare the computer with our lesson.
I am dedicating this post to her because she has recently impressed me to a point I can’t ignore. It is always difficult with these students to gauge just how much the students are, or are not, picking up from our lessons – particularly when we attempt to delve deeper into social issues that test them beyond clicking pictures. We are right now in the midst of preparations for our video project and have been busy making stop animations to be used as transitions in our finished product. The story revolves around a girl who is new to a school and has no friends – every day, she returns home and reports to her mother about a new piece of nature that she has made friends with and something that she has learned from this. Students have chosen the sun, a river, the moon, a flower, and little Kheertna has chosen a parrot. For days she has been diligently preparing these parrot cutouts so meticulously you would think her life depended on it.
Watching her I could not help but think, “What is it with Kheertna and these parrots?!” I remembered that this was not the first time she featured a parrot in one of our projects, and I went back to take a closer look at an old drawing I had of hers. This earlier parrot was drawn as a form of ‘protest sign’ in response to the Gandhi quote prompt I had assigned just after Independence Day. One of the quotes the students were given to respond to was on democracy, it said: “In true democracy every man and woman is taught to think for himself or herself” Below is the protest poster created by Kheertna, it was only today I realized how cleverly she had related to this statement.
I know it may be difficult to read, so here is what the poster says:
“Democracy: This parrot is my favorite bird and my parents are saying you get favorite peacock, zebra, but I like parrot. But my feeling is my feeling and not another feeling is my parents. And friends say your favorite bird is parrot but why? I will say yes my favorite bird is parrot.”
I am so proud that Kheertna understood that her ability to choose her favorite animal despite what others say is a reflection of our right to think for ourselves. Cheers to her.
Until next time,