From childhood, I had this one habit. In school, if someone needed something which they did not have, I would always bring that from home and give it to them. We had such a big family that if I took anything from anywhere in the house, no one would even know of it.
It gave me extreme satisfaction to see the happiness on children’s faces when they were given the things they needed… such conduct therefore became engrained in me.
Once, whilst in class, I noticed that many children did not have pencils. I felt very sad. Quietly and without permission, I took money from my mother’s room and went to the shop to buy pencils.
The shop was on my way to school. I handed over all the money I had to the shopkeeper and asked him to fill my school bag with pencils to the brim. I did not even know how to count the money or the pencils.
I reached school with the bag full of pencils and distributed them to all the children. The teacher observed me doing this, yet did not utter a single word at that time. After school, I returned home. That evening, the Head Principal and two other teachers came to my home and asked to see my mother, my grandmother and my aunt who were all at home at the time. They enquired, ‘Did you know that Bebi distributed pencils in school today?’
In school, in front of the students, my teacher did not say anything to me. However, at home, they judiciously disclosed what I had done in school to my whole family. When mother came to know that I had taken money without asking and used it to buy and distribute pencils to all, she did not reprimand me, but lovingly made me understand that whilst to give pencils is good, to steal is not noble.
How should values be instilled in children and when is the appropriate time and place to raise a matter? In this regard this incident and the way my teachers dealt with it has always stayed with me.
My respect for my teachers enhanced even further for the courteousness with which they presented my mistake to the family and my disposition towards service and benevolence was reinforced even further. Today I remember my teachers with a lot of love and respect, yes, they are indeed my True Angels!