The Girl Under the Streetlight...!

It was somewhere close to midnight that I decided to drive down the road for an ice cream. I found the roads empty, but what was my surprise to see that under each streetlight, along the pavement, children sat, staring with absolute concentration at the study books on their laps.

I watched a little girl, maybe twelve or thirteen, and on her face lit by the weak rays of the overhead street light, was a look of single-minded intentness and deep concentration.

She was not bothered by the sound of my car or other traffic on the road, nor did the honking and the beeping that broke the silence of the night perturb her in the least. Her eyes were focused on her book, and there was no doubt her mind was on the subject matter therein.

She sat in a public place, bearing the brunt of public stares, some curious, some inquiring, some inquisitive, some prying and some plain snoopy, but for her, those eyes did not disturb, because hers were on her book!

And as I watched this little girl, my mind went to this country of mine.

A country where intellectuals fight verbal duels and wars of words, where rational thinking is used to profoundly explain idiotic and inane thoughts, and where writers focus on issues which are really non-issues. When all along we should be looking after these children, so busy gathering knowledge under dim lights that are thrown so stingily in their direction.

We forget such children when we have politicians who decide what they have to study.

We forget such children, when we change history and facts, not realising that they are putting in all their time and intent to be fed with knowledge and truth, not fake facts made up in a political party’s fake laboratory.

Tomorrow that little girl, studying under a lamppost, may be laughed at in her class when she writes weird fictious stories about our ancient spaceships, and rockets and inter-planet dealings.

Tomorrow, that little girl will find herself horribly ill equipped to handle a job, because some education ministry decided not to educate but to feed propaganda material to the children of our country.    

The ills that plague this country are legion, but if we could focus on this one area, which is to feed the next generation with truth and facts and not fiction dressed as such, then we will do justice to the little girl, and millions of other children who study under streetlights or some dim lamp in their homes!

The little girl closed her book and yawned as she looked dreamily into the distance. I hoped that even as she dreamt of a better tomorrow, our authorities with our own resolve would give her what she deserved; an education that was worth her mighty effort...!

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at bobsbanter@gmail.com