While they are in conversation standing at the entrance of Seema's apartment room, out of the open door of Arun’s room enters a girl of the same age as Seema in the common passage of that chawl. Here the passage also serves as a common balcony for the entire floor. She looks to Seema and her brother Arun sitting together and then looks elsewhere and gives a mischievous smile to herself, adjusting the load of her school bag says, “Hay,” to Seema and rushes inside the other room. This is sister of Arun and is in the same standard but different school as Seema, her name is Tanya. Seema returns the greeting and now appears to be a little more relaxed.
Suddenly, Seema with courage that came to her from nowhere speaks aloud to Arun, “I am afraid to write because I feel I could be wrong and then teacher scolds, shouts in the class which I do not like. Why they have to shout in front of the class like that”?
This abrupt but very meaningful explanation from her; surprises Arun but at that he feels better as the reply was the exact reason why most of the students are weary of studies. He realizes the true cause for Seema’s non co-operation in the studies. The cause as he understands is, teachers and their immature style of handling the students. He remembers his own experience when he was a small boy and on giving wrong answers, how teacher had wrongfully scolded him, instead of giving proper guidance. He had sharp reaction to that scolding and he had told the teacher that, "Sir, we come here because we do not know right answers if we could give right answers we would not need any schooling". And on that reply the teacher had scolded him all the more as if he had done some very serious crime. This misbehavior of over all teachers was common and almost all students get that experience as they pass through schooling. Having had that experience Arun develops sympathy for Seema and promises her that he will surely take up the task of tutoring her but not for a fee but just for the sake of it. On that seems says nothing but turns her face away and stands still.
In this chawl, with typical chawl atmosphere where every room has a separate identity and all members of the floor are sharing many things such as common toilets background sounds will be of typical chawl atmosphere, children from all floors join to play in the open space in front of that chawl. All sounds will be barely audible, so that conversation in the room can be heard clearly. There is hardly any privacy in such places, people staying in such chawls are used to interference by neighbors on small matters, and they always share each other's pains and pleasures. All are from the same strata of society economically.
Story continues in next post –
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