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Just Categorized Differently by Ipsita Sinha

By Volunteer, Ipsita Sinha – FHI Bangalore

“Hey Ipsita! How was your summer break?” asked Radhika .

“Well, it was unexpectedly productive, rejuvenating and ‘exotic’.” I answered. Just as the bell rang loud, students from across the corridor screamed alarmingly enough to give corpses a heart attack. Meanwhile, I walked into the classroom with a strange air of cool and calmness as I was sorted with my Value Education assignment. So, now you know why those alarming screams!

Having interned with an NGO over the summers, I felt I had a lot to talk about both based on facts and personal experience. The teacher was late for class and I chose my window seat to get a clear view of the life outside, when, my eyes met Ramya. This girl of merely 11 tucked the worn out end of skirt, a size two or three larger than her waist and with the broom in one hand and her falling sleeve in another continued to sweep the playground until it sparkled like clear water. She studied in the Hindi school, an adopted extension or in other words ‘An Initiative’ taken up by my school. Time, people, vehicles, hawkers all passed by but she sweeped the ground undeterred with a placid expression on her unwilling face. Suddenly, Ramya ran to the tap, washed off her weariness and from one of the rooms brought her rustic looking bag. Page after page, she keenly marked the lines with a pencil as blunt as a chalk. I was startled. Meanwhile, little did I like my class, I couldn’t help but hear people complaining about slow moving fans, never ending portions, etc. which they likely summed up as “Dude, my life sucks”. Excuse my language. But it comes from a much bigger dictionary of such millennial extravaganza.

So, now when the teacher finally entered, my air of calmness changed into an air of unacknowledged calamity resulting from extensive self pondering. Wonder why? Think! Think! I’ll give you some time.

Well, thanks to 2 things: A] My summer internship. B] Ramya. It was then that I realized the binaries of categorization. Where EDUCATION for me was categorized as ‘Priority’- a lifetime investment fetching returns and adding meaning to my life, for Ramya and the many voiceless like her, it was a ‘Privilege’- A MERE LUCK BY CHANCE. The underlying dichotomy between these different labels can be analysed through the simple concept of ‘human mentality’ and how we as a social structure have over the years selfishly associated certain tasks to certain people based on their class, caste, sex, creed etc. So, how was the summer break for Ramya? Honestly, it was and still will be mundane, deprived and something known as “Different” from ours unless we take the little time out of our bucket of society imposed priorities and page after page keenly ‘ANALYSE THIS FLAWED DIFERENCE’.

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