Sunday, April 3, 2011

The RC Monitors

You can tell them a mile off. They do not walk, they zip-whoosh. Their eyes threaten to pop out of their heads, they spin so badly. And don’t even try to interpret those half smiles!

There is no official record of the RC Monitors. But they exist and I should know.

It was that eagerly awaited month of the School Investiture Ceremony. Those anxious weeks when anybody and everybody of consequence are lining up to face appointment interviews. There are tray loads of badges, up for grabs. The two Heads, Captains, Vice Captains, Discipline-in-charges, Eco Monitors, Bus Monitors, Editorial Boards, Sports Heads. An impressive array of well performing young children who are on the way to receiving the pips they have earned, with their hard work and discipline. They stand there in a slightly nervous file, despite their golden report cards and laden co-curricular folders. Some even have their class teachers telepathically urging them on, so impressed have they been with their outstanding performance during the year.It is an emotional time.

And right at the periphery of this charged, feel good, sunlit expanse, out of everybody’s sight and earshot, in the twilight zone, skulks the RC Monitor lobby, watching from the sidelines, looking perplexed and left out. I call them the amber light children. They are neither at the red ray nor facing a green one. They are in the orange lane, still trying to get a handle on the world around them. They are not the model, demo kids. They are young people in waiting. A foil. An alternative phenomenon.

I discovered their existence the day one brave ventured into the Resource Centre. He sidled up close to my chair and whispered, “Ma’am, I am not any monitor. Can you make me RC monitor?” for thought. “What will you monitor?” was my first and obvious concern, spelt aloud. He looked around the big room, furrowed his brow then came back to me, shrugging his shoulders. We went into a huddle and sure enough, lightening struck, ‘How about you help me with the odd sorting, grouping, and clearing tasks as and when they come up.” He nearly collapsed with relief, “In the break. In the break! I will come and ask you every day in the break if you have some work for me.”

It was done, simple as that. We had a pact.

He threw back over his shoulder on the gallop out, a spring in his step, “I will tell my Mother today that I am RC monitor.”

I felt a stab of guilt. Was I setting up this kid for disappointment? Had I been honest? Maybe he needed to accept that he was not making the monitor cut. Then I hurriedly told myself, “Big deal! He is too young. A day will come when he will realize that people are differently-abled and there is a place for everyone. Right now he is hurting and come on, he IS going to monitor some tasks in RC.”

The next day, like clockwork he was at my door. “Ma’am, have you some work for me?” But wait a minute. He had a potential in tow! “Ma’am can you make my friend also RC monitor?” Lo and behold, if I hadn’t set in motion a convergence of all the rowdies at RC. They began to traipse in at regular intervals, calling out to their friends importantly, “Wait for us, we have some work in RC!” They made themselves useful putting away the teaching aids, sorting out the Soma Cubes, counting the beads and carting old newspapers to the recycling bin. Needless to say, all this would be accomplished in a matter of seconds and they would canter out the same way they came in.

One had a talent for downloading mulish data from the internet. Another would begin by taking apart some of the electronic Science models, to my consternation but mercifully then, put them all back together. The wily of them had his ears to the ground, regularly turning up with missing RC property: a rubber trapezium, the magnetic alphabet “B”, that all important missing piece of the fish jigsaw puzzle.

I have to admit that we did not accomplish anything earthshaking during the session that called for community cheer but at the very least, some pucks had news to carry back home to Mamas, who in turn, were perhaps able to hold their own in the odd neighbourly exchanges.

“Isn’t there a badge for RC monitors Ma’am?”, they ask me. I want to tell them that those metal bits of honour are for the ones who have been chosen to play that sparkling role in the lead, not for those shortlisted to clap and cheer.

The Resource Center or RC Monitors: Endearingly ordinary; eager to be extraordinary.

1 comment:

Honey Sangha said...

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