Do you notice something truly extraordinary about this photograph taken in my classroom? I did when I walked in. I was so amazed I did a double take, then didn't lose any time to click the scene.
Not one but several 15-year olds were reading big fat books - story books, and that too, believe it or not, not stuff like Chetan Bhagat but the likes of Khaled Hosseini and other authors of a similar level. They were reading books like that on their own, of their own choice, as they waited for the class to begin.
If anyone knows Durgapur and its 'educated' populace, adults wholly included, they would know it is almost as rare a scene as seeing a whole cohort of Olympic gold medallists or Nobel Prize winners walking down one of our streets.
I was charmed, thrilled, delighted. And if I can believe that I have contributed even in a very small way to the making of their tastes, I shall consider myself blessed. It is at rare moments such as this that I can still hope that India has a future, civilisationally speaking. God grant these children long and happy, fruitful lives, and may they keep reading till their dying day.