The cowherd | Sunday Observer

The cowherd

1 May, 2022

Now that it was a special holiday, I thought of doing an extra class and I asked whether they could do it. They were overjoyed to do the class. I rushed to the principal.

‘Excuse me Sir’

He stared at me. His mood was perfect. It was the ideal time to ask for his permission.

‘I thought of doing an extra class tomorrow’

‘Do as you’ve planned. No worries. Keep them with you always’

It was a jubilant response. I was thrilled.

‘You’ll feel like collecting frogs in a bucket’, another teacher added sarcastically while I was coming out of the office. I ignored him for I had never been pessimistic and I won’t be.

The message was given.

“For how many hours”?

“Just for two hours”. “No, insufficient. We want more than that”.

“What can we do that day”?

“Well, we’ll do essays”, I suggested.


“ I will give three topics. You can select one and write. I’ll select the best essay and will send it other newspaper’


Everyone was benumbed.

‘Haven’t you seen English newspapers’


“Wait I’ll bring an English ewspaper”.

I went out of the classroom and brought it. Everyone was enthusiastic to see it. I kept it on the table.

:Wow!That’s big’”. I passed the newspaper.

“It’s heavy”.

‘Almost all the pictures are colorful’

“Vehicles, beautiful home gardens, mansion-like houses. I’ve never seen such beautiful houses”.

“Sir, I could read certain words and sentences’, a student went on saying as if he had done a miracle”.


“ I too can manage certain words and phrases, Sir’”, another added with happiness.

I took the paper meant for kids and showed it to all my students.

“This is for you”.

“Wow! So cute. Please pass it as well”.

‘Wait, I’ll do it’

“Sir, can we send our articles as well”?

“Yes, of course. You can select a topic you like and write something on it. Bring it to the class. I’ll do the corrections. You must rewrite it. After that we can sens it to the newspaper. After two to three weeks it’ll appear”.


I nodded. .

“Wow! Great, isn’t it? I’ll write one and bring it to school tomorrow”.

“I too”.

“I too like to write”.

Everyone was willing to write.

‘Okay, I’ll put three topics on the blackboard. You can select one and write on it’

My father

My mother

My class teacher

Three topics were put on the blackboard. Almost all got it written. Even the weakest got it noted down.

--- --- ---

I came to school the following day. Almost all students had come by 7.30 a.m. though they were asked to be there at 8.00 a.m.

I could start the lesson on time.

Everyone had brought the essay. They had written more than five sentences. Of course, there had been certain grammar and spelling errors. However, I was satisfied with their performance.

The common topic had been ‘My mother’. Only one boy had written about his father and he was reluctant to show me what he had written.

I had to correct one after the other. Both girls and boys were in the queue to get their essays marked with enthusiasm. I could do the correction within twenty minutes; However, that particular boy did not come with the book. I walked towards him. He stood up.

‘What’s wrong with you?”

“Let me see”.

I took his book. It was a perfectly written essay. The handwriting was exquisite. There was a blank.

My father is a ----------

He wanted to write his father’s job, but he did not know the exact word.

‘What’s your father?’

He failed to respond at once.

“I’m asking for his job”.

“What does he do”? He was unresponsive.

“Sir, his father‘s taking care of Perera’s cattle’” his friend seated next to him went on saying as loud as he could. It came to me as a thunderbolt. It was rorally unexpected.

“Doesn’t he grow anything at home”?

“We don’t have a plot of a land, Sir”.

I was helpless.

‘What should I write here?’, he asked me. I was a little nervous.

“A farmer”.

“But the farmer is the person who grows. My father’s rearing cattle”.

‘There’s a particular word for that, but I don’t know exactly what it is. I’ll let you know the exact word the next day’

I wound up the class.

It had been an unforgettable and long day for me.

(This boy’s article appeared in the Junior Observer after five to six weeks. He was thrilled. He was given a big vlap at the morning assembly by the principal, teachers and friends in the presence of his father and mother. I bought him the newspaper. His father could neither write a single word nor read. He thanked me with tear-filled eyes.

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