“Subir kaka, what’s that on your lap?” A little village boy, Raghav asked in amazement, looking at words dancing, floating, and then forming sentences on the laptop screen.
Subir, in his sixties, was a spirited and compassionate computer teacher by profession, often visiting his ancestral village to meet his old father. Life had been harsh with Subir. He became widowed at a young age. Teaching computers to small children became his passion. He believed in reshaping the computer science classroom and the lives of small children.
“Oh, could you read?” Subir motioned to Raghav. “Let’s do it together and tell me if you also like it.”
Subir’s expert fingers started tapping the laptop keys. Raghav followed Subir’s instructions and typed a few lines of code in Python — a computer programming language.
Magic happened. When Raghav pressed the ‘ENTER’ key on the laptop, a spiral figure appeared, and soon it filled the whole screen.
“WOW!!” Raghav squealed out of joy. “This is amazing! Subir Kaka, can I make a different figure this time?” He cajoled.
“Sure you can, but you need to learn to code first,” Subir winked his eyes and ruffled Raghav’s hair. “Tomorrow morning, let’s learn after you finish up tending to your cattle.”
Right after daybreak, Subir and Raghav sat for hours, coding and making different figures on the laptop screen. Every time Raghav drew a new shape, he jumped with joy. He was unstoppable. There was a fire in his belly to learn computer programming.
“Subir kaka, tomorrow can I bring Pappu and Lali too. They’ll love it.”
“Bring them over! There’s an opportunity for everyone,” Subir nodded.
In the morning, the Dalan was full of village children. A tiny tap of Subir’s magical fingers was enough to prod the shepherd, and the rest followed. Not just Pappu and Lali, but more children tagged along with Raghav to learn on the computer.
Subir’s enthusiasm was infectious. The spirit with which he taught small children to code was mind-blowing. But the man with thirty years of teaching experience was sadly going to retire in three months.
Hey, children, wait up,” an old man sitting on a cot in his Dalan yelled, waving his hands. “Did you boys win a lottery? Where are you running to with your cattle?”
The uncontainable enthusiasm and joy on the boys’ faces were a sight to behold. They were rushing to herd their buffaloes back home. ‘The buffaloes bellowed, the boys shouted, and the birds flew shrieking from the trees.’
“No Baba Jee,” the little cattle herders screamed back, puffed up with pride. “We don’t want to succumb to deep sleep or watch over the buffaloes graze on the dew-drenched grass in the summer pasture every morning. We are going to Subir Kaka to learn computer.”
The sun climbed the sky, but the freshness of dawn hadn’t yet dissipated, because after his retirement, Subir started a computer class in the village for the little herders.
Dalan – A room before, or forming an entrance to, like a waiting room. In villages, Dalan is also used as a veranda or open hall for reception of visitors.
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