Talespin Children

Hidden strengths

After what seemed ages, our online classes were going to end. We were all geared up for our first classroom project: preferably about something that had influenced us greatly during the pandemic.

After a few days of watching me search for something to do, Amma suggested, “Why don’t you accompany me to the event today?”

The event, conducted by an NGO, had all COVID-19 norms in place. I listened intently to the host’s narration about the three guests to be honoured. Each was differently abled but had made a difference to others through their extraordinary efforts in these times. Hearing about the one with speech impairment struck a chord. It reminded me of someone special taking me back to the days when the pandemic was unknown.

Friendless days

Back then, we had just moved to a new locality and I had spent several friendless days. One day, someone new arrived but... “How does someone who cannot speak get along with anyone?” I asked Amma. “They don’t want our sympathy.”

“Well….yes,” Amma said referring to the new boy Rahul. “But he would be happy to be befriended.”

Rahul had a warm disposition. A few days later, he joined a group of boys who turned up for various games in the nearby playground. Gradually, I too joined the group, though I had not yet become Rahul’s friend. Deep down, I knew that I was the one who was unable to break the ice but, one day, something happened that changed things altogether.


It was past sunset when Rahul, Vicky and I were in the midst of an interesting game. The area would usually seem deserted when dark. Suddenly, we spotted two men hastily entering the playground.

They hid something behind the shrubs, threatened us to keep quiet, and hid themselves in another clump a little further away. Soon, two policemen came looking for them. While Vicky and I ran away and hid nearby to avoid being questioned, Rahul preferred to stay and nonchalantly conversed with the policemen in sign language.

A lesson

When the policemen left, the two men tackled Rahul to ask what he had told them. But the matter ended once they were convinced that, due to his speech impairment, he couldn’t give away their secret.

Amma was right. Rahul, who became my best friend and remains so till date, taught me that believing in ourselves was what we needed.

On our way back, I chattered about the event. “You seem to have enjoyed it. Hopefully, it has offered you something for your project,” Amma chimed in. “Super idea!” I yelled, and started to plan how I could do that.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 6:48:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/hidden-strength/article34796593.ece

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