“CHOICE” not a “COST”

By Ipsita Sinha, FHI Bangalore

How as a writer you often feel that ‘little’ is just enough- little space, little time, little hopes, little smile. On the contrary we fail to realize that this little comes to those who already have enough. Yes! Well this time I’m planning to preach this notion. So let’s call this a #CostNoMore.

Building on my first experience as a NGO volunteer, I soon found myself watering my motherly instincts in the eyes of those who weren’t legally my children but emotionally were way beyond this label. For clarity let’s keep the place, time and idea constant, making CHOICE the only variable. The event coordinators feeding us the details on one of the FHI days told us that the first task in hand was to guide the children in ‘covering a drawing book’ and decorating the same. Well, that’s no ordeal. Right?

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What? Wait! I did own a drawing book, I did use it like a prodigy back then, but I never covered it myself. Odd as it may sound- I had the choice not to. I thought it was my right not to conform to ideas of knowing everything in life. I was mistaken. While guiding Lakshmi, a sagacious 7 year old, I pensively observed her absorbed in the task, sticking every glitter possible on her cover page to shine out of her anonymity. The task was no ordeal for her but she chose it as a stepping stone to rejuvenate the self-confidence, morale and the right to exercise her identity. In severe doubt I approached my event coordinator and was revising the query in my mind. “Are you sure we have to guide them per say?”

Dumbstruck and gaping, I’m sure they had never before faced a query so profoundly ludicrous. In no time was the drawing book attired in the best of jewels and shimmers. As I dictated her what she was supposed to fill in the pages with, she focused on keeping pace with the time and the little English she knew, innocently unaware of the lessons she had taught me, the freedom of choice she had well played and the hurdles she crossed without glancing upon them even once. 

CHOICE was not a cost this time. At a point of privilege how we choose not to abide by certain norms we fail to realize as how someone as human as us would rather choose to use these little things to assert their existence, talent and creativity. With Fly Higher India NGO, these forgotten beings do not pay a COST for the CHOICES they make hence, giving children a past they can always look back upon.

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