A day in the life of Saurabh
Meet Saurabh. A history buff, idli-dosa addict, and the acclaimed student of the year. When you meet Saurabh you might be fooled by his introverted and polite disposition, but rumour has it that in the company of Mohammed and Santosh, he is a humour junkie. Devyani Ma’am has many a complaint about Saurabh’s changing attitude as he grows into a fine young man, doused in pride as she nurtures him into the next year at school. Here’s what Saurabh’s day looks like at his school:
His day starts when the sun rises. 30 minutes of Suryanamakskar, followed by pull ups and yoga aasana’s taught by his teacher. Saurabh is punctual and particular about his exercise routine, always watchful of his health. He then goes on to assist Akit, his 14 year old friend, who needs help in taking a shower. Saurabh helps by ‘prompting’ him, to take care of himself, yet, patiently hand holding him through daily morning activities.
Right after his exercise routine, Saurabh heads for a shower. He loves a full bodied soap with a strong scent.
As a senior student, Saurabh has responsibilities towards his younger hostel mates. Helping Rohit with his breakfast is part of his hostel duty. The system is such that children learn and respond more to peers than teachers, therefore, helping the younger children is what he does dutifully. Additionally, he assists the hostel staff in their tasks too.
Saurabh usually joins Sanyog and Durgesh for breakfast, once the the younger students are done with breakfast. His vegetarian diet includes Idli, bata vada, sheera or poha every morning—- which he loves!
All the students trickle into the foyer from the breakfast hall. The school day begins with singing ‘Jana gana mana’ and ‘Tum hi ho mata pita tumhi ho’. Saurabh sings with the same enthusiam everyday!
Class begins. The day is packed with back to back classes—Social Science, Math, History, Geography, Marathi, Computers, Type writing, Yoga, Art & Craft, Home Science amongst others. In Home Science lab, Saurabh experiments with different salads and sandwiches. He also tries his hand at his mom’s recipes of dal and rice. The timetable changes everyday.
History is Saurabh’s favourite subject. He loves discussions around the story of India’s independence. Freedom fighters like Gandhiji, Lokmanya Tilak, Nehru, Babasaheb Ambedkar inspire him.
The bell rings. Lunch is finally here after a morning packed with classes. Saurabh, along with his friends goes to the Dining Hall, a short walk from class. Fresh veggies, dal, roti and salad make for his staple diet. Occasionally, noodles are served for lunch- his favourite! And you will seldom catch him eating anything extra.
Post-lunch class for the day is Marathi. Mohammed is his class partner for this subject. Mohammed and Saurabh have been good friends ever since they joined school 7 years back. They sit and chatter, laugh and gossip in class with their friend Sanyog.
Deyani Ma’am stomps into class, an unusual behaviour for the generally cheerful teacher.. She reprimands Saurabh, furious at being alerted by the hostel staff that Saurabh had been bitten by a rat 2 days back! As per protocol he was to inform her about the same. However, he chose to ignore the incident as somewhat trivial and got the hostel staff to get him medicines. Devyani Ma’am is upset that Saurabh hadn’t shared this with her. Lately she has been feeling that Saurabh is developing ‘an attitude’, refusing to confer, confident in his own decisions . Perhaps, it is an adolescent thing she comforts herself… Saurabh cries – angry & hurt at being scolded. 5 minutes later, he went about his regular things.
Under ideal circumstances, Saurabh would go to the pool and take a few laps. But in the last year, due to his ear problem, the doctor has advised him not to do so. Instead, he spends quality time working out at the gym.
Saurabh goes back to class and finishes off last minute class work, before he neatly arranges his desk and gets ready to leave. Chitter chatter is heard in the corridors of the hallway as all the children step out of class and walk towards their dorm rooms.
Evenings make for chill time. It’s when all students and staff get together- like late evening family time. Sometimes, Saurabh steps out of school too. Or, he watches TV- mostly when Sachin Tendulkar is playing.
Early dinner is the norm at school and Saurabh loves the routine. It ensures he eats early and stays fit.
The day ends with finishing pending homework. Saurabh loves reading and spends some alone time with his books.
10.00 PM Lights off.
Saurabh comes from the rural district of Sangli in Maharashtra. He was born deaf and over the years his vision started deteriorating too. 7 years ago, his parents heard of the Helen Kellar institute for the Deaf and Deafblind and were instantly convinced to send him to a place that would nurture him, mould him and equip him to have an equal standing in the world.
The transition from being Deaf to Deafblind wasn’t easy. It came with the need to understand, learn and adapt new skills. Today, after years of living amongst loving teachers, having access to a customised curriculum and living in an enabling environment, Saurabh has come a long way. He communicates fluently through tactile sign language, uses braille to write letters to his family, understands familiar words, recognises people by their silhouette and smell, travels across Mumbai himself and most importantly he dreams of what he shall grow up to be.
Saurabh aspires to take his HSC exam within the next 4 years, return home, open a grocery shop in his village, support his family, marry and live life to the fullest …his face towards the sunshine and shadows behind him.
Photo Credits : Anushka Dalal
Words By : Leher