(Dear co-parents, some of us might hear a small, fading voice making yet another attempt to reach us)

Amma, I don’t want to go to school.

I am just a child, Ma. I want someone to tell me stories and teach me. I want to watch tadpoles and butterflies and know what they eat, where they sleep. I want to climb a hill and catch a cloud to see what it is made of.

I want to wait with my hands in the stream and feel the fish swimming.

I want to run with the puppies, sing with the birds, and play with paper-boats in the rain.

I want to lie down on the soft green grass and hear the wind whisper.

Only then I want to learn more about them from the printed word.

Only after my imagination is fired, my thirst to know more has begun, a seed of ‘Why?’ is planted in my brain.

Amma, I feel trapped in the prison-like classroom. I feel my spirit slowly weakening with the monotonous teaching. Often, when I ask a basic question our teachers say, “No time for all that. Let us finish the syllabus.”

I get tired of studying just for marks without pausing to truly understand.

I want to go to the museum with my classmates and hear my teacher explain the stories of the artefacts.

I want plenty of nature trips where real Biology classes would be held.

I want to see colourful videos of volcanic eruptions and deep-sea dwellings.

I want our whole school to visit together the historic and cultural places in my city.

I want to learn astronomy after looking through a telescope once.

I don’t want to just read them in my textbooks; I want to see, hear, touch, smell and taste whatever I can. I want to experience.

Why can’t the school make at least one such trip every year?

And, I cannot stoop down anymore to carry my school sack. My back is ready to break. Why should I carry all the books everyday? Why can’t we have only two subjects per day? Or, why don’t we have lockers like in the Western schools? And, why should I squeeze in that over-crowded auto?

But, Amma, growing up no longer seems to be fun. I see only more of homework, winter projects, summer classes, weekly tests, monthly tests, quarterly, half-yearly and annual exams, external competitive exams, more tests, more competitions, more pressure, more stress…

When can I sing, paint, dance, swim, or cycle?

When I can just play cricket or even hide-and-seek?

What happened to that minimum sleep that you always say a child needs?

Why should I always study, study?

Amma, I am scared of increasing atrocities by untrustworthy teachers, ragging-raving seniors, acid-loving nuts, perverted adults…

Ma, right now, I don’t want to be a doctor, engineer or anything else.

I just want to feel safe and secure, play and learn without any stress before I become an adult like you.

I only want to enjoy my childhood, Ma.

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