A Complete Circle
Contributed by – Swati.
I spent most of my childhood growing up in a Boarding school. Life can be challenging in boarding with little to no guidance at most times. In my early teenage years I started getting picked on and bullied for various reasons. I was always made fun of for not being good enough. As a result, I was always angry with myself and others around me. My teachers often called me out for having a bad attitude and a bad temper.
The only time I felt at ease was when I was playing. Sports helped me find an outlet for my emotions. Only in the field, I was myself and I was good enough. It made me forget all the horrors of the day.
Sports became an integral part of my life and I even considered sports as a career. But as they say, “All good things come to an end” so did my dream of having a career in sport with an injury at a crucial point and the need to focus on academics for prospects of a better career.
By the time I joined college, I had completely stopped playing but would often think about the times I spent on the field. Even as I was getting a degree in law I looked at sports law as a career in my desperate attempt to be connected to sports. Just around that time, I heard about Project KHEL from a senior. I started following their work and saw how they were using play as a tool for imparting life skills.
Just by the end of the pandemic I joined Project KHEL. I was always happy showing up to the session. I loved the time I spent with the children and I was happy doing what I was doing. But the longer I stayed I realized that the sessions were so much more than about play and so much more than imparting life skills.
One day after an encounter with a difficult child (Arjun) for not joining the session but disrupting the session by passing remarks. I walked back home, angry with the child for behaving the way that he did. I couldn’t process the entire thing and I shared the same with my team. I was practically venting out and hoped someone would just acknowledge it and we could all move on with our lives. But instead my team asked to reflect on why the child behaved the way that he did and as I sat down to reflect on it I realized that he did that to get my attention and as soon as I realized that, I felt guilty. That day I realized my role as an Educator.
That day wasn’t just a awakening as an Educator but also of the child who spent most of their life growing up in a boarding school with very few people to trust, very few people to fall back upon, very few people who could comfort you and very few people who understood you. I saw myself in Arjun as a child who was always angry, always rebelling, always fighting, always tormented by their thoughts. I hoped that day that someone from my school/ boarding took the time to reflect on my actions and felt guilty for failing as an Educator.
That day onwards I am with the children as I would have hoped my teachers to be.