“She Told Me The Story Of A School Girl”

by | Mar 31, 2019

She told me
The story of a school girl!
She told me
Life is going okay.
Buried the fact
She is not okay.

With a vacant stare
Holding the tears
She told me smilingly
The story of a school girl.

What started with wintery breeze turned into a scorching day after 12. I took my jacket off. Kids were gradually going home. 4-5 kids are running around sending the clouds of dust. The ground was gradually getting empty; only the stones left behind that had been used to make some boundary.

I found her inside the classroom lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. I entered. She looked at me and took her eyes away from me. It astounded me. Because it is pretty rare where kids stay back after 2.30 in Jhed School, Kotra (Udaipur). I kept quiet and sat near her. After a while I remembered how one of my friend Iona once showed interest in understanding her story after visiting my class.

Sima, is the only girl of class 9. Many a times even being a woman I consciously forget Sima’s existence. The complex and difficult part of interacting with 26 adolescent boys keeps my mind busy even in my sub-conscious. First time I asked her after a long time in person “How is life?” The empty room and the ceiling covered with cobwebs in the corners finally got the opportunity to listen to the story teller along with me, whom I hitherto only saw copying from the book endlessly like an addict without knowing what it means. She closed her eyes gently. And then opening her eyes unhurriedly she said, “Zindegi chal rahi hai!”.

All my attention drawn towards her eyes. Confused and in need of love. “Will you tell me your story?” I asked. Surprising me she replied me back, “How to tell a story?”

“Sima is a girl. She has just learnt cycling today. She has fallen down two times in the ground behind the school. She got hurt. Everyone was looking at her that time as girl cycling is a pretty rare site in her village. But finally she learnt cycling”, Sima told with a big satisfactory smile referring to herself in third person. It is like the way I find myself free from my conviction while I paint. I saw her flattering her wings, as she told “par usne sikhi liya!”

“We are 3 siblings. My older sister, Gudiya used to go to school at Bikarni. But she only went to school till class 8. My brother, Kalpesh is really young, reads in class 3. My mother does not know how to read. You know all of them. Isliye mere liye padhna jaroori hai (that’s why it is necessary for me to be able to read and write)”.

After a while she again kept her eyes still on the ceiling. This time it was longer than the previous one and she start using ‘I’ instead of ‘Sima’. “I am thinking to leave Mahesh. How will I tell you! I was never happy in it. Different kind of thoughts keep haunting me when I cook, when I study, when I sleep. Everywhere they follow me like ghosts. Am I going to be like my other family members?”

This raises the question on the school system that failed to generate confidence and skill in her even if she comes to school almost every day. That system either does not motivate some of the teachers come to class or make teachers engaged to all the other official jobs that they miss the class on regular basis. As well as the fact of getting married in the age of 13. She kept talking about the recent fight that she had in her in-law’s house after I visited kids’ places to talk about the absence of kids in the classrooms. Sima’s in-laws scolded her for not being in class. Where the number of parent’s involvement in the kids’ learning is almost nil, discussion about school is rare, it amazed me that she got scolded for not being in class by her in-laws! I was profoundly happy to hear that.

With all my courage I told her that she could ask me any questions about me. She asked me the questions I kept ignoring from last two days after a conversation with Maa. My voice broke as I opened my mouth, eyes filled with tears scared of getting unveiled. I started, “I had no plan to get married so far, but Maa, gave me a deadline of 4 year(s)! Society is a cage but ee will find our ways to be free!”

Sima has thought about divorcing Mahesh because she is not happy. Society might say that Sima has got an extraordinary family after marriage. She also acknowledged that her mother-in-law and father-in-law along with her parents in the list of who love her the most. I remembered the previous day when she was suggesting everyone of class 8 to do meditation (that the class 9 students were for past few months) properly and added “it gives peace of mind”.

I was able to connect the dots. For the last three days I found her trying to solve the mathematics problems given in the worksheet by her own (without copying it from Kevla* or Kunal*). I was happy to see my girl solving her life’s problem by her own and was open to ask for help.

She told me a story of
A school girl.
Who has realised
She can live by her own
In this world
If she studies.
She looked at me
And asked whether she
Could stand on her feet
Class 10 as she complete!

SIMA told me a story
Of a school girl,
Who is brave to dream
Cutting down all the odds
In her way.

*Names changed to protect identity

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  1. Anupama Pain

    I liked this piece Mona … went through the 7 pieces at a stretch and this is marked growth in terms of your articulation and expression. Ability to tie up reflection with personal experiences is powerful. Will look forward to more variety and mix of writing as well as styles in future.

    • Monalisa Debnath

      Thank you, Anupama!I will try to write more. 🙂


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