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Walking The Thin Line... Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jamal, India Jul 21, 2006
Child & Youth Rights   Short Stories


Walking The Thin Line... “Still there is suffocation of conservativeness
Do open the doors of your imagination
Of what was hidden/restricted, continuum will go on express what is really in you; don’t preach what is usually said/written”.

It was a hot sunny day in May when I was returning from a village. It was a long and tiring day, so I stopped at a roadside Dhaba [roadside tea stalls] for a cup of tea. I saw this 10 year old boy “Rishu”, who was washing glasses and plates in the backyard of the dhaba. It was strange and at the same time amusing to observe him working: he was juggling with the cups and spinning plates on his finger. I couldn’t stop myself so I went to him and asked “How did you learn these tricks?

“Just like that, I pass my time like this, I learned slowly on my own” he replied.

I said again, "Doesn’t the dhaba owner scold you for breaking his cups?”

“He is my distant relative and I do these tricks with steel glass and plates only.”

After chatting with Rishu for a few more minutes I finished my tea and went back on my way.

Inspired by this short event I believe that work, creativity and social responsibility are not opposed to fun, indiscipline and sacrifice. There is always a continuum and we cannot draw lines every time.

Meeting Rishu was one of the many incidents that we all experience in our day to day life, but I realised the significance of this incident while introspecting my own life. I think we all have boundaries, within which we live and perform our duties. Is it all about walking on the thin lines, or is it that sometimes it becomes a continuum where we can't even demarcate between two different sets which are generally considered separate?

Rishu at such a small age doing labour, supporting his family in earning money, like a young responsible adult sacrificing his childhood for the family responsibilities, yet the child within him has found a way to meet his childhood. He was creative enough to make his work fun for himself.
It reminds me of the days when I was making programme proposals, working for hours and hours with my colleagues and I started mimicing our manager, every one laughed and the whole tension just went away.

For me, work and fun are both in a continuum which cannot be compartmentalised. It was always within me to enjoy my work and make other people laugh.

I have faced criticism while working on a campaign for health issues which later on was very useful for the organisation: “It is quite risky, how would you deal if things are beyond our control?” “How does it help our program, you are loosing focus?”

But I always believed that creativity has to face criticisms.

For thinking out of the box one has to pay some price, but if the purpose and process are right, the results in long run will definitely come. Hence what was affirmed as indiscipline at some point was eventually considered as creative initiative when it yielded the desired results.

For me, work is incomplete without “passion and rigor” which come from ownership and accountability for one's society. In my work situation, which involves staying in remote villages, meeting people, understanding their issues, working to ensure their rights, making the system responsive for catering to the community's needs are all part of a job which happens at the cost of being cut off from my family and friends.

In both situations, Rishu’s and mine, I perceive similarities in that we both perform in our own situations in a gamut walking a thin line between work, fun, creativity, responsibility and sacrifice.



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Writer Profile

Hi ! I am a professional social worker. most of my writings and poems are reflections of my day- today work and issues. I also write poems in Hindi, which so far cannot be posted on TIG.
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