The children gave life to beautiful poetry as the three judges – two English teachers and I, found ourselves oscillating between being entangled in the perfectly delivered lines and the dilemma of deciding which candidate was better than the other.
The trophy went to the most-deserving class and the individual who had put up a perfect show, but we all agreed that every one of the kids who had confidently come up the stage and performed was a winner at the English Coral Elocution of Grade 5.
I had looked back from my seat set before the stage and was overjoyed to see eager parents encouraging children, not for the Science Quiz or the Science Olympiad, but the English Elocution.
This being an Indian school outside India does not change the fact that we are striving hard to produce more Engineers than mosquitoes with the dengue virus.
Science and Mathematics becomes the subject in focus. Always.
Luckily, this has nothing to do with learning and understanding the intricate pattern of our complex body functions or enjoying the magic of numbers but just the key to realizing the dream of adding another Engineer to the outrageously increasing number.
If by any stroke of bad luck, the child took interest in the literary works of great authors and poets, it was gently nipped in the bud before the interest snowballed into the love for Literature.
The perfect child of a parent who yearns a respectable place in the society becomes an Engineer.
A software engineer will be the perfect cherry on the cake of aspiration.
Pledge your enslavement to a non-Indian-based software company that will promise to keep your bank account consistent with a 6-digit number and slogging a couple of extra hours not only adds color to your appraisal and keeps the boss happy, but is a sure technique to be treated to a grand welcome by your family akin to that given to the valiant warriors who return to their kingdom after a fierce battle.
If you wish to take your dreams abroad, then divine intervention in the form of a deity in a South Indian temple will be a sure help for quick and easy attainment of the US visa.
A few slipped disks, rising blood pressure and heart ailments after hours of neck-breaking dedication can be taken care of with a gentle sweep of your insurance card but rest assured that your dream home becomes a reality.
As a five-year-old, Sid said that he wished to become an astronaut after he watched an episode of Mickey Mouse singing and dancing around the rings of Saturn and during his time on Earth, he hoped to juggle a career of racing on the Formula 1 tracks and become the next Tintin.
But now that he is well aware that dancing around the rings of Saturn has its risks and aspiring to become an investigative journalist is akin to being on a literacy mission in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan, he says he is looking into a few safer options.