A Silent Spectator

I couldn’t wait to come out of the exam hall . There was still an hour left for the Annual Exams to come to an end. With each question passing by, my urge to complete the paper became stronger. Yeah … I had so many things to look forward to that summer – street cricket with friends ,trying out Amma’s mouth-watering dishes (which she’d learned from ‘Theneer Neram‘ if I might add )and our family trip to Bangalore. I scribbled with all my might to finish off my English exam soon but my pen came to a skidding halt when I reached the last question – an essay question .

“Write an essay on the topic Child Labour in about 200 words (15 marks)”

I hated essay questions. How am I supposed to ramble on for 200 words ? Uh .. Let alone 2 sentences. So, I carefully copied down the question in my best possible handwriting and stared at it for a few seconds. Then, I kicked off my essay with the most cliched sentence you could find in any average student’s English paper – “Children are our Nation’s future”. That was when I realized that my answer sheet wasn’t even worth using as a tissue paper. I looked around at my classmates . Some were staring at the ceiling .Some were asleep already while some were bent down on their papers with a risk of their nose touching the desk.

I still had not written anything in my Essay.There was only half an hour left because the 12:30 tea had come. The herbal tea was one of the best things in my school. With its perfectly mixed cardamom and ginger , I swear even my mum’s tea comes only second. I looked in the direction of the aroma. I saw the tea-boy carefully placing the cup on the table. He looked more or less my age . I guess I had never noticed that before . We always called him “Boss” or “Anna” . I looked at him more closely and then at my paper . “…...on the topic child labour….” .. Ah , the irony of it .. They preach one thing and practice another.. Even my miniscule brain plunged into deep thoughts while looking at the boy.He smiled at me and I returned the smile absently. I started with my essay and for the first time in my life I wrote something meaningful . Why haven’t I had the courage to stand up to things like these ? Was I a chicken to not even be vocal about my thoughts ?

I finished my essay at long last but I couldn’t take my mind off that boy . Later , I learned that I’d got a 10 out of 15 . What did the boy get though ? An assurance to 2-meals a day and roof over the head to sleep . *Sigh* As the bell rang , I joined the corridor teeming with hundreds of students who didn’t give a damn about the boy or anyone . What difference does it make though ? Just like them I too am only a silent spectator..

“Boss.. Ore oru cup tea thaanga boss..”


About vandysnape

Hi ! I'm Vandhana. Books. Blogging. Rickmaniac. Titanic. Time Travel. UFOs. Madras. Travel. History. Quirks. Shopaholic. Sinatra. Mozart. Beatles. Amelie. Me :)
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15 Responses to A Silent Spectator

  1. Puneet says:

    Rightly said! Infact this has always been a case with me too. I never like it when our maid brings along her daughter but I never said anything about it dont know why.. or I say i dint have any valid reason.. it was just that I also fear standing up.. Your post is depressing..!! Cant compliment more πŸ™‚

  2. liked the plot… everyon would have gone thru this.. yet not many take a second glance at the things that happen around us…

  3. Wow, touching and very relevant! We never had to address these kinds of problems in MY school. Then again, we didn’t get tea service from kids our age either πŸ˜‰

  4. Balu says:

    Nice. You at least had some thoughts on that boy, though you can’t do anything.
    Some people don’t even think of it…
    Thambi…tea innum varala πŸ˜€

  5. A moving post that makes the reader think. I wish there’s a way to make things better for the boy and all the kids out there who are victims of poverty. It only takes one person to try to make things better, eventually the rest will be inspired to follow.

    • vandysnape says:

      That is very true . One shouldn’t wait for someone to take the lead every time . I really hope to do something to patch up such things . πŸ™‚

  6. Yazhini says:

    Hey vasavi….just now read this…awesome really…The line”they preach one and practice other” was exta ordinary…we have to do something about it surely..

  7. Sash says:


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