A Moment Of Silence ..
A Moment Of Silence ..5 mins 123 5 mins 123
Khogen and Ali were called in early for the assembly by the sisters of the school today.
Both the young boys were best friends and studied in a neighbourhood catholic missionary school for the economically underprivileged section. They were as young as 5 years but they perceived their surroundings better than most children their age. And why not, they lived in joint families which struggled to make ends meet.
Their fathers worked in retail and food factories and so did their uncles. While Khogen still had solace in having no major hardship at home, Ali was going through a major life-changing event.
Ali's mother had just undergone surgery for removing a cancerous tumour from her neck and mouth and was unable to speak much. And due to the removal of various lymph nodes, she also had problems with hearing. However being a devout wife, mother and daughter-in-law she continued performing her household activities with the agony.
Her ailment and suffering were not received with empathy at home because with the disease came a lot of monetary burdens which besides her husband her brother-in-law had to shoulder. She was scorned once in a while by her mother and sisters-in-law but being a god-fearing woman she chose to pass that away with a smile.
Ali being a silent observer, stayed by his mother at all times, helping her with her medicines and food. He also helped with chores that his mother was now unable to perform.
Ali, however, started observing changes in his mother's behaviour and health as the chemotherapy started. She started growing feeble and sad both in health and mind and the sneers that she earlier met with a smile now started aching her and broke down more often. Although her husband listened to her anguish, he never really heard her enough.
Will all this at home, Ali started becoming quieter at school, although he continued to perform well in his studies.
This didn't escape the notice of his teachers and Khogen alike.
Even after a lot of persistence, Ali didn't tell his teachers or anyone except his best friend in school about his mother's condition.
Khogen loved his friend a lot and knew he had to do something meaningful for both Ali and his mother. Although he wanted to keep his best friend's promise, he saw the growing feeling of loneliness in his friend.
So one day, when Ali was busy completing his homework at school, Khogen quietly went and spoke to his class teacher.
Khogen - " Miss, can I come in "
Ms. Rashmi - " Yes Khogen, come in, sit next to me "
Khogen - "Miss I wanted to tell you something about Ali ... but please don't tell him I told you anything, I am breaking my promise .."
Ms. Rashmi smiles and says - "Don't worry, breaking a promise for a greater good is better than keeping one, now tell me why has Ali become so silent and sad ... does anyone beat him or trouble him in school"
Khogen - "No miss, nothing in school, it's at his home, his mother ... his mother is not well, she has tumors and the doctors cut it, she has cancer...
Ali is very sad and helpless, he thinks no one cares for him or his mother. "
Ms Rashmi - "Hmm, this is very sad Khogen, let me see what I can do, thank you for coming and talking to me, you are a good boy and friend"
Ms Rashmi pulled Khogen's cheeks and patted his back.
Khogen gave a broad smile and left quickly from the staff room.
A day passed after Khogen's discussion with Ms. Rashmi and today in the morning assembly, all children from nursery to class 10 arrived early as asked by the sisters along with Ali and Khogen.
Sister Magenta - "Children, while we thank for all our blessings from our Holy Father today, let us pray for one of our dear friend's mother who needs it the most at this time.
Our friend has been going through a lot of pain and so has his mother, yet enduring everything in quiescence.
All of us will pray only for him and his mother and their well being in utter silence for 2 minutes. "
For a second, Ali was taken aback by this gesture doubting if it was for him and then he looked around, saw bowed heads, hands folded in prayer, eyes closed and mouths murmuring several prayers.
Yet there was pin-drop silence, as though the world had come to a halt in a school which remained boisterous otherwise.
He couldn't hold his tears while he prayed with the others, listening to the reverberation of silence that was multifold than a thousand words spoken.
Sister Magenta - " As we break this prayer for today and continue with our day, remember that your friend needs you and your prayers every day.
He is none other than our dear boy Ali, your classmate."
Everyone looks at Ali as he wipes his tears and smiles at everyone around, nodding his head and saying thank you.
Khogen pats his back from behind and says - "Everyone loves you and we are all there for you"
When Ali returned home that day, he ran straight up to his mother and elaborated on how the entire school prayed for her and her health.
Ali's mother couldn't hold her tears either and smiled after a long time and hugged her son.
Times changed and Ali and his mother overcame the treatment and its effects on good health.
But those 2 minutes of the silence remained with Ali forever.