Universal Light

25 Oct 2019

It was the second last lesson at the old campus. The students had been checking their marked exam scripts and tallying marks.

As much as we like to believe that marks are just marks, we also know marks determine GPA scores and have the power to call up all kinds of intense emotions.

We’re usually good at celebrating success but awkward at handling disappointments. Sometimes in our eagerness to help someone see the bright side of things, we ply them with glib platitudes & unsolicited solutions.

On that day I had prepared a lesson inspired by the Deepavali (Festival of Light) season and brought a small tea light in a decorative clay holder to represent a traditional oil lamp to class.

We explored the literal & figurative meaning of light, and the various symbolism of fire & light across cultures and in our everyday language.

The students cheered softly and their eyes lit up when the youngest in class struck a match to light the lamp.

A hush came upon the room as each child carefully passed the light from hand to hand, taking a moment to still their hearts to give thanks for the mental faculties to sit for exams and for whatever scores their efforts have brought them.

Slowly the heaviness of discontent lifted as the light burned brightly.

“I feel that there are a lot of things that I can look forward to in the future, and I feel motivated to work hard for the things that will happen next,” a student responded when asked how did holding a light in her hand feel like.

By contemplating on light, the students experienced how their minds could rise above the temporary disappointments that had threatened to lock them in a permanent state of fear and self-doubt.

When the lesson ended, I gave thanks to light and bless the room that had hosted us all these months.

That lesson turned out to be the last time I would be using that room as the following week, I would receive notice that the campus would close permanently.

As a result of the campus closure, we had the chance to conduct our final lesson of the year with a field trip to Little India where the students became part of the Festival of Light celebration.

My wish of having our final lesson at Little India had been fulfilled by factors beyond my understanding.

So I like to take this chance to wish all my friends the blessings of Fire and Light, especially when we face situations & outcomes that are beyond our control.


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