My wife and I were invited for a Holi lunch at our friends’ place. They are a lovely couple with two little-children. They had invited four other couples who, too, were present along with their respective children. We wound up at 6 almost!

What makes such sittings, special, I think, is the warmth and simplicity at hosts’ place. Lavish spread of dishes and cosmetic hospitality sends you home with that lingering emptiness when you leave the party. But, true warmth sends you home with fullness…

My wife and I had such an experience, today!

During our post-lunch discussion, a part of our discussion revolved around the ‘better school’. One of the lady-guests found the present ICSE-Board school ineffective and was asking if a certain SSC-Board school was a better option. All had a take on the subject. Bad-quality teachers, excess hype and empty promises, exorbitant fees and even a tough syllabus – yes, the particular ICSE-Board school scored low on all counts according to the lady-guest. So, there was a good discussion on this subject… When my turn came, I said, what I always say: “The Board makes no difference… The child does!”

It is not easy to convey this view convincingly to anyone. So, I had to share my own experience with young kids coming to me from all sorts of Boards. When these kids come to junior colleges, they all join a common Board. So, one gets to see if there is any noteworthy difference…

“Every child is special,” said the tagline of the cult movie, ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Which Board helps the child discover this ‘specialness’?

I have taught thousands of students over all these years… How a child discovers its specialness… builds trust, self-confidence, nurtures fine values… develops empathy and sensitivity, and, above all, how the child becomes a creative child… yes, it has a lot to do with the child itself… Yes, great Boards, schools and teachers are a blessing. But, what is being imparted is imparted to all children who learn under the same roof… But, all don’t become great young minds when they grow up… Just as all seeds don’t yield a great crop… I, often, tell this Parable by Jesus…

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13 New International Version (NIV)

More than two-thousand years later, the message of the Master remains the same: The soil has to be fertile… All have eyes, only some ‘see’… All have ears, only some ‘understand’!


Pic.: Azriel D'Souza



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