You are a duffer !!!
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|   Apr 20, 2016
You are a duffer !!!

Raksha was a good student in school. Teachers liked her, her mother was proud of her. She never really had to study too hard to get good marks, it somehow came naturally to her. May be, from her parents, they both were quite good in their studies and fast learners.

Her sister Deeksha, who was a year younger, on the other hand, was a very slow learner. Raksha remembered how her mother used to spend hours and hours with Deeksha, helping her with her lessons. And whenever came the exam results, mother used to get shocked when she saw Deeksha's answer paper. Deeksha couldn't solve/answer the questions, which she remembered perfectly when she was being taught by mother. Raksha never could understand this anyway. How could someone forget the answers the next day.

Of course, Deeksha was criticized not just by a few family members, but even by neighbours, who knowing her, used to enquire the mother about her exam results and scores, and then try to console her by saying "it must be embarrassing for you"!

Not just neighbours, teachers took the prize when it came to insulting Deeksha in front of the whole class. And if that wasn't enough, they used to tell her "At least, learn from your elder sister, she is so good with her studies! And look at you! Total duffer". Also the same teachers, when giving classes to Raksha, would tell her "Your sister is so poor in her studies, help her" in front of her class. Raksha used to feel embarrassed and angry at her sister, she had a reputation in her class!

Raksha decided she would help her sister with her studies. Deeksha too, like a good student, tried to follow everything her sister taught. But she simply couldn't understand. She kept asking the questions, which Raksha thought were so stupid, that even an idiot would know. Finally, Raksha would get impatient, because she couldn't fathom, how could a person not know the simplest of things...and get up saying "You are a duffer, no one can help you".

Today, Raksha and Deeksha are both grown up, married, both are well settled with good jobs, both are earning at par with each other. Of course, for Deeksha, success didn't come easy, she had to work very hard, but she didn't mind it.

One day, the sisters decided to meet up for coffee. The conversation moved to their school days. Raksha remembered her school days fondly. Looking at Deeksha's face, Raksha asked what the matter was. Deeksha replied "I have no fond memories, didi. I hated my school and my teachers. No one ever loved me". Raksha was shocked, she obviously didn't remember the suffering her sister went through. "Didi, you know, everybody used to say I was weak in studies, I know I was, but I really did try to study hard. Somehow, I used to forget it, or mostly never even understood. But I swear, I used to try. Even you, used to call me duffer", said Deeksha. Raksha remembered, yes, she felt the pang of guilt. How could she say that to her sister. "I know I never got good marks, but did I need to be insulted everyday?", continued Deeksha. " In the class, after explaining a concept, teacher used to ask if everyone had understood, I used to check the entire class, if anyone would raise their hands. But no one would, so I used to raise my hands knowing what was going to follow, and tell teacher that I didn't understand. The moment I did, the entire class used to laugh at me. Not just the class, even the teacher laughed at me. Initially, I tried to ignore, but then slowly, even when I didn't understand anything, I couldn't muster up the courage to ask it again, lest, I will be made fun of, be laughed at". Raksha, held her sister's hand, she was feeling horrible, she had no idea what her sister, a little girl then, had gone through. "I am sorry, Deeksha, for having insulted you, being angry with you, and not standing up for you, as I should have. I have let you down. I am sorry." said Raksha, she couldn't say anymore. What could she?

There will be many Rakshas and Deekshas among us. Not everybody is same. We all are good at somethings and bad at some. I am bad at Maths!. Yes, Deeksha never got good marks, she was always made fun of because of that. This is the mass mentality, she was a very good and kind person, apparently, that was never good enough. Even now, students who are good at studies, sit in the front row, and the teacher never bothers with the back benchers (weak students), no one concentrates on them. If teacher makes fun of a child, who will he/she go to? His confidence will keep getting squashed at their hands, and in the end the child will emotionally shut himself up.

Imagine, somebody, hating their schools; the days, which we call the "best days of our lives". But for some children, those are the days, they'd rather forget.

Can we ever break the casts we are so tightly moulded in, and think outside of report cards? Can we not be kind to someone? Can we not appreciate a person for who he/she really is? Can we make sure that every kid, remembers their school days, as best days of their lives?

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