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The children of the special section never cease to amaze me. Each time you step into their class you feel lifted and all your worries and woes vanish – albeit temporarily! You have barely entered that a shrill voice greets you with a loud Namaste Maa’m. It is little Sohil. And then almost in unison you hear a loud greeting from all the others in the class. The greeting is touching as even those who cannot speak or hear join in their own inimitable way. They then resume whatever task at hand, be it the vigorous morning exercise session, the tedious math problem or the complex puzzle. You have many options: you can sit and watch them or join them in their activities: you are always welcome.

The wonderful thing about these children is that they never judge you, they just open their hearts for you to walk in. It is we, the so called normal people, who spend our time surmising, criticising, judging. If we see a person that does not look, act or think like us we are quick in labelling him or her as disabled or incapacitated. We deem them as inferior and want to teach him our ways and if that is not feasible we are quick to find a way to somehow shut them way. Special kids do not expect you or anyone else to be like them.

In our special class no two children are alike. Some have fractured bodies and others broken minds, some have both. Yet they all accept each other and reach out to each other in very touching ways. We may think they have limited understanding but that is not the case. The best example is the way they treat little Radha and her brittle bones. No one ever had to explain anything to them. They understand with their heart and even the rowdiest ones like Umesh or Munna never do anything that may hurt their little pal. Radha participates in all activities be it dance or musical chairs. Instinctively everyone makes room for her and ensures that she too has her share of fun. Sohil and Himanshu, the babies of the class, are cared for by their elder friends and a perfect synergy reigns in the classroom.

They have many lessons to teach of us if only we bothered to learn. They more than anyone else have understood the true meaning of compassion, tolerance, camaraderie and team spirit. They are not wasting time in proving points or oneupmanship. If only we had the ability to emulate them, the world would be a better place.

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To the manor born