Madhu was unhappy in her new place as she did not have friends and knew nobody. Her disinterest showed in her studies too as her grades began to slip.

Madhu felt lonely. She was in Std VII and had moved with her parents to a new town because of her father’s transfer. Everything was new — school, friends, teachers, neighbours...

It was almost six months since they had moved and Madhu was still struggling in her new school. Her parents were too busy with their work and she yearns for their care and love. Madhu was quickly losing interest in her school activities.

She was a bright student but now her grades had come down terribly. Her spirit was down. Her teachers said — “You need to work hard to improve”; “Improve your handwriting”; “Does not show interest in academics and extra curricular activities”.

These comments only added to her misery and her self-confidence took a beating.

A new class teacher was appointed in Madhu’s class. Her name was Mrs. Veena. She was an experienced teacher. It was her first day and when she entered class, all the children welcomed her enthusiastically and wished her with a smile. Everyone interacted with her but not Madhu. Soon Mrs. Veena noticed Madhu and wondered why she was so dull and lacking in enthusiasm.

She asked her name and Madhu replied “Madhu.”

“Sweet name,” said Mrs. Veena. She sensed that Madhu was not willing to talk. She decided not to question her anymore on the first day. The next day she assigned work to the class and walked around the classroom. When she stood beside Madhu, she could hear her humming Vaishnavo janate softly. It was melodious.

Mrs. Veena asked Madhu why she was sitting alone.

Madhu did not answer.

“Why don’t you come in front and sit with one of your friends?” she asked again. Madhu just stared. Then Mrs. Veena said, “I just loved your humming. Great! It is my favourite song,” she added with a loving smile. Hearing this, Madhu was happy.

Sing it away

“Can you sing it for me?” continued Mrs. Veena.

Madhu immediately said, “Sure ma’am,” and sang the song effortlessly and beautifully.

Mrs. Veena was moved. She said, “How beautiful your voice is. You are simply wonderful!

Mrs. Veena’s words of encouragement lit up Madhu’s face. “Are you learning Carnatic music?” the teacher asked.

“I love singing and I have been learning since I was three years old. But after moving to this new place I have not been able to attend any class,” said Madhy sadly. Her eyes and face clearly spoke of her sadness.

“Why?”

Madhu told her teacher how her parents were busy people and they just did not have the time to find a class for her. Immediately, the teacher understood what Madhu had been going through.

Mrs. Veena quickly understood what the problem was and decided to help her out. “Don’t worry. You really deserve to feel good about yourself, and what you need to understand is each one is good at something and you are such a good singer!”

“Well, we have the Children’s Day celebrations tomorrow. I want you to sing. I will add your name in the programme list.”

Madhu’s expression changed and all she could say was, “Okay ma’am.”

On the day of the programme, Mrs. Veena announced, “Now we have Madhu to sing for us.” Her classmates wondered whether Madhu really knew to sing. When Madhu came on stage she felt comfortable and confident and began to sing. She sang joyfully.

The audience was spellbound. As her melodious music filled the air, everyone was lost in her music. It was magical. She got a standing ovation and Madhu felt like a champion!

This was not just a day for merry making. It was a day to celebrate every child’s individuality.