EMPTY BLACK BOARD; EMPTIER LIVES
This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan!
By Neel Anil Panicker
It was the only ‘school’ In the entire 200 sqaure mile desert stretch that is the Rann of Kutch.
In fact to call it a school would be an anchronism. For, it wasn’t like it had a well painted building or two with a jazzy frontage and was housed within a large three feet high compound complete with a multitude of classrooms, staff rooms, a canteen, besides the ubiquituous playgrounds__different ones, both for indoor and for outdoor games.
The truth was far, far removed from reality.
Our ‘school’ was a small, barely 100 sqaure feet room encased within a conical thatched roof that doubled, or trebled, as a border outpost as well as a resting house for migrant sugar farmers.
During daytime, between the hours of 12 and 4, it functioned as a school for we kids, all children of labourers employed by wealthy landowners. While our parents toiled from morning to sundown to produce the best quality refined sugar, we huddled inside the semi dark one room hutment to learn from Abdul Chacha the three Rs of education.
Our school life ended the day he died. Since then, much like the empty blackboard that stands guard outside the school, our lives too have darkened.
#NEELANILPANICKER #FFfAW #fiction #shortstory
FFfAW Challenge-Week of April 10, 2018