At 65, this retired guard goes to school like any other kid
At 65, when one prefers to enjoy the retired life playing with grandchildren at home, Nanhe Lal follows an altogether different routine.
He gets up early in the morning, puts on his school uniform and rushes to Upper Primary School in Amethi’s Dadra, Musafir Khana area — to fulfill his long cherished desire of getting educated.
He could not go to school in his childhood days.
Strangely, not because of poverty but a superstition borne out of a wild cat scare in which a few children were injured on way to school when Lal was a kid.
With no formal education, he could only get a daily wage job of a guard at a mango orchard. Now that he is old, he has left the job.
“One day while sitting at the orchard, I saw children in uniform happily going to the school. I thought taking admission in the school would be the best way for me to spend time,” Nanhe said.
However, since he was illiterate and a class at Upper Primary School begins from 6, he could not get admission.
“He joined the literacy camp where he excelled in writing alphabets. After couple of years, the confident looking Lal approached me for admission. We gave him permission with certain condition that because of his age, his name will not be enrolled in the register but he can attend the class informally with other students,” said Asgar Ali, assistant teacher of the school.
Three years back, he took admission in class 6. Now he is in standard 8. “I’m happy to sit with the children in same class, take my exam and participate in a number of sports events during annual function of the school. Life has become so beautiful now. The children lovingly call me Dadaji,” says Nanhe.
“There is no end to learning. Maybe it was just the right time for me to acquire some bookish knowledge. I live with my sister at their home and enjoying this phase of my life,” Nanhe said.
“He never misses school even during adverse weather. He is a little weak in studies as compared to other students but we help him out with that,” his teacher said.
The students also treat him nicely. Sudarsan Agrari, Nanhe’s classmate said he competes with everyone in the class and is a good athlete.
“Despite his age, he takes part in all school activities,” his classmates said. Everyone in the class enjoys his company.
Not just for students, even for teachers it is an experience to teach an elderly person. “This is my first experience teaching a person who is as senior as my father’s age. It is an honour for all of us,” said Asgar.