The boy arrives to the school. The school looks shabby and devoid of even a proper compound wall. Most of the classes are happening in the open under the tree, in the balcony or anywhere possible due to poor infrastructure. But the boy does not complain. All he wants is to learn.

The first class was on Mathematics. The chapter was about addition and subtraction. The students are repeating as the teacher explains. “5-2=3. Have 5 in the mind and 2 in the fingers. So the teacher calls out 4 as she bends one finger and then 3 as she bends the other finger also”. The teacher continues with many more examples. The boy grasps them earnestly.

His concentration is wavered as he hears someone call out his name. He burst across the street to the stationery shop where he works. A boy of his age with his father has come to buy a pencil. The father gives 10 rupees for the 5 rupee pencil. So he starts calculating ” 10 in the mind and 5 in the fingers….” And gives the exact change. He then runs back to the big hole in the compound wall to continue with his lessons.


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