There was this boy in the class who sat towards the end of the rows of the benches and hardly paid any attention to whatever was being taught in the class. I observed him for a day or two and enquired with my senior teachers about that fellow.
‘Who? Roll no. 25?’ replied one of them.
‘Yes, Parikshit’ I muttered.
‘Yeah! He is a nut job. He is very dull. His I.Q. runs into negative. He is going to fail in the exam’ commented one of my senior colleagues.
Next day I went to the class a little early to find that Parikshit was scribbling something on the wall. My first impulse was to scold him but I restrained and observed as to what he was doing. Seeing me he ran away scared. I inspected as to what he has written and was amazed to find that he had written a poem which was way beyond his age or literary acumen. I realized that I had chanced upon a genius. I went to his house and talked to his parents and talked to him in his room privately. And discovered that behind the inattentive face there lays a poet whose first glimmer I had seen on the wall. I thought it was the proverbial, ‘writing on the wall!’ which had been obscured by the traditional expectations that often overwhelm people and compel them to surrender their dreams and confirm to the notions of normality. I was happy that Parikshit wasn’t ‘so called’ normal. I wanted to take his poems and publish them but he said,
‘Yes I write poems but they are not very good…… nobody reads them…….not even my father… nobody will publish them. I am telling you nobody will like them.’
Nevertheless I took the poems and went to several publishing houses but none would publish a 12 year old’s poems. I knew it was stupid. I ran from pillar to post but it never bore any fruit. The faint glimmer that could have been seen in him faded fast and I was fast becoming the butt of everybody’s ridicule.
A few months later Parikshit sat inattentive in the class when I entered but soon he sat upright once I started reciting his poems. The class liked it and wanted more of them. I told them where to find them. Next, I stuck the poems on the notice boards across the school. I shared them on social networks. People liked them, not all though, some were even rude. Of course I never shared these feedbacks with Parikshit. I showed him the positive comments, the likes and hearts. Some of them were from the same colleagues who had given up on him. Some of the fellow students warmed up to him. Some got jealous still.
Parikshit is no more inattentive and he has passed his exam and with good marks. He is not roll no. 25 anymore. He is now the poet Parikshit. Nobody has yet published his works; maybe no one ever will. I know I haven’t gained a poet or a prophet but now I have an attentive student in the class. A convert.
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