The Paper Boat of Happiness

I am a teacher at one of the best known schools in town. I take immense pride in saying that because it matters to people around me in setting my standards in the society. But my heart knows the story of the elite children who are taught almost every subject, indulged in almost every sport including horse riding, and are groomed for all extra curricular activities that exist on this earth.

One afternoon when the sky was covered with dark clouds (or nimbus/nimbostratus as the over informed children of my school would call them) ready to pour torrentially, I wheezed out of the school gate only to get stuck in a petty traffic jam right outside. And sudden showers added to our plight. After letting out a short sigh of frustration, I peeked out of my window and saw something that taught me what no school can teach.

In a big water puddle, a few children from the adjacent slums were sailing their paper boats. And the joy and excitement of the boat able to stay afloat and sail a distance lit their faces up. They started jumping with excitement. Their giggles were so loud that they could be heard even in the undesirable honks and revving engines of our cars. Unperturbed by the world around them, they had built a world of happiness for themselves. They had gained the attention of every single car around them. The rain which was the cause of our misery, was their source of entertainment.

The dirty, tattered clothes clad weren’t the objects of pity. It was the crisp and the clean who longed for their freedom. I noticed, some students of our school who were peeping out with their heads resting on the windows of their chauffeur driven Audis and BMWs were pulled back by their moms and the windows were rolled up. A gesture symbolic of “you can’t indulge in the real pleasures of life.”

I wonder why they are called the children of lesser god when they have access to real happiness.

~ Prachi Awasthi

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