Thursday, August 6, 2009

A child's compassion

I pack the lunch boxes with three chapattis and sabji or pasta or four idlies for my school going children aged 11 and 9. The items vary almost daily. They leave after breakfast around 8am and return only at 4pm.While I found the girl, the elder of the two, grumbling that I stuff the lunch box with too much of the items, the younger one was asking me for more. I thought being a boy and playing all the time whenever there was leisure, he must be burning more calories and have greater appetite than the girl. I started keeping more of the items that I made and was happy he liked them. One evening when we were having supper together my husband asked the boy “Sunil, you seem to have a ravenous appetite. Have you not taken your lunch or what?” I remembered that I had kept six chapattis with plenty of alu sabji.It appeared strange that he was eating more than what a normal boy would eat after a heavy lunch. Sunil replied with a hurt look “I am hungry. Is it improper to eat more?” My husband did not pursue the topic. But this was rankling in my mind as I gave him lunch more than normal for a boy of his age. His lunch box was always found wiped clean in the evening. I did not ask him anything then.
The next day I went to the school and met his class teacher. After the pleasantries I asked her how Sunil was faring. She said ”Oh Sunil, he is a gem of a boy. I am proud to be his teacher. Very well behaved, he is one among the first three students.”
“Does he participate in games and play as well?” I casually asked.
“I am sorry. That is one point I wished to tell you myself. He doesn’t participate in any games and always prefers to sit on the sidelines. He needs to exercise. Otherwise he is a very lovable boy”
That evening when we were alone, I asked “Sunil, I want you to tell the truth. I am stuffing your box daily with more than adequate lunch. Yet you seem to be hungry in the evenings. I met your teacher today. While she is happy with your performance in studies, she mentioned about your lack of interest in games and physical exercises. You don’t also seem to burn your calories justifying your hunger. Tell me what exactly the matter is. Are you eating in full the lunch I give you?
After some hesitation he said ”Mom, please do not get angry. I share my food daily with Mohan. He is a very poor boy and does not bring lunch. On some days he does not even take any breakfast as nothing is available at home. He is reading on scholarship.Mom, he is first in the class. When everyone is eating the lunch would it be proper to leave him alone starving? To tell you the truth I give him more than half the share. Please do not get upset. Have you not told me about Eashwar Chandra Vidyasagar and his generous heart?”
”Sunil, I am not upset with you at all. But you should have told me all these before my asking.. It is not proper to hide facts” I said.
“Mom, I was afraid you may reduce the quantity and tell me not to share.”
I could not suppress my tears at the simple innocence and the compassion this boy had for his hapless class mate. I told him “I am proud of you. What you did is right but take your mom into confidence always.”
From the next day I started using a bigger lunch box and stuffing much more than what two boys can consume


  1. That was a lovely story. The mother must have been really proud of her little boy.

  2. good story but guessed the end as soon as it started.

  3. My son does exactly this with his class mate and so I could relate very well to this well written story..

  4. Hi K.P,

    Thanks for this sweet story, what a lovely kid.

  5. lovely Sir :) thats all i wanted to tell.. anything more will spoil :)

  6. just drop down at ur blog nd must say dis post of urs was so touchy..hats of to your little kido..
    u mst b feeling so proud innocent of him...
    btw, nice blog, gr8 wrk..keep it up..!!!

  7. So Lovely Kid With Lovely Thoughts :D

  8. There is much compassion and generosity in children. It is upto parents and teachers to nurture these good qualities.

    A good story, well narrated :)

  9. lovely story n beautifully expressed

  10. Very nice story sir. Little hearts have more depth and compassion compared to grown ups.

  11. Back with a bang!!A lovely story indeed:)

  12. we as kids always have hearts as mighty as a giant..but as we grow bigger, we loose our appetite to share? why so?