Saturday, December 15, 2018

Anjali - Friends and Feelings

Yesterday Anjali got off her school bus with a stricken face. I could spot it from the distance. I could also tell from the way her ability to hold herself decreased as she walked towards me that it was no ordinary matter involving seats or some sharp word from the driver or the ayah. As she came closer to me her face crumpled and tears sprung into her eyes as she hugged me. I asked her what happened.
'Divya fell in our sports class from the slide and hurt herself. She was crying so much. I never saw her cry so much.'
Manali  - Pic courtesy Tenzin
Anjali would not stop crying. When I told her we could go and visit Divya, she calmed down. She started messaging her school Principal Anita aunty and her class teacher Sandhya aunty to find out how Divya was. After their responses came assuring her that Divya was ok, she smiled.

And when she called and spoke to Divya, I could hear her distinct concern and relief in her voice at her friend being fine. Messages flew back and forth after the phone call, friendship vows were exchanged, plans made for making get-well cards.

That pain in her face when she first told me about Divya's hurt (which they could not stay back and help with, because their bus had to go and the teachers had taken Divya away) to the relief and celebration was a complete journey.

Another day last week, she spoke so indignantly about one of her teachers not allowing assistance to a child who needs assistance to write. Anjali grew up with her friend and was shocked that the teacher would refuse assistance even after the assistant was present and was permitted by the school. Once again, I could see her face carry shock and indignation at the unfairness and injustice. She marched straight to her teacher and told her about it.

That's a trait I admire in people - the courage to go and right a wrong. I have been guilty so many times of letting things be, letting them sort themselves out. It's cowardly. 90% of us fail to do that, and I really admire the 10% who stand up for their friends, who feel so strongly about right and wrong, about anything at all. They are so much better than us who don't feel anything at all, or rather deadened by our fears.     

I do wonder at such undiluted concern, at how affected they are as children. I am sure many adults are too. I deeply admire that trait to feel others pain so much, to be so concerned for them that you are beside yourself. I hope Anjali never loses that. 

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