She had just joined as a primary school teacher and was taking the introductions. It was difficult to memorize so many names in one go and to put a face to them. It was funny how our brain charted out the identification marks. The lovely blue eyes for Lavanya, the chubby cheeks for Aryaman, the petite frame for Shivi, the long hair for Advaita… the list went on in her mind.

She introduced herself as Nainika. She hated her name as she said it aloud quickly. As she hated her job. She had wanted to be a pilot and because her parents did not have the money, she had been forced to take up this job. She had also begun to question this gender divide, always being told that teaching jobs are good for women as they have to take care of the home as well.

She wanted to rebel and do what she wanted, maybe become a surfing instructor or a train driver or traffic policeman, woman to be precise. She wanted to explore this life but was tied down by the social norms and the rules that her father had made for her. She had even thought of running away a number of times but had chickened out at the last moment.

She was already twenty-four and talks were on for her marriage. She wondered that who had fixed these age limits. And why? Why could a man marry till the age of thirty and a woman could not? It had been proven now that because girls matured earlier, this was the only way that society had thought to curb them. For if they did not marry till thirty, then they would not feel the need to get married at all.

One week into the class and a new student came in. She tried to make him feel comfortable but he wouldn’t talk at all. Repeated requests to make him tell his name failed. He lived with his grandparents as his parents had passed away in a roof collapse near their house. He had been just one at that time.

The grandparents had heard him talk a bit in monosyllables and when it remained so, they had taken him to various hospitals. All results were the same. There was no problem at all and he should have been able to speak normally. His name was Shashvat, as she had found out.

Suddenly, Nainika felt small. She was disturbed the whole day. There was no way that she could shake out this feeling. Her life had become questionable in front of her. She felt that she had nothing to complain at all. Thinking about Shashvat, she fell into a sleep which had demons and witches. They were all mocking her and making fun of her. She got up perspiring. After drinking water, she sat thinking of how to get Shashvat to talk. This became her mission in life.

She remembered the old song which she had sung in her school and she started humming it. She found a way to make Shashvat talk and all became well with her world. And this became her field of expertise, as years later her books were the reference points for further studies. Her fight with the world ended as she found her true calling.

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Each little flower that opens
Each little bird that sings
He made their glowing colors
He made their tiny wings
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
The purple-headed mountain
The river running by
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
The cold wind in the winter
The pleasant summer sun
The ripe fruits in the garden
He made them every one

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them allThe tall trees in the greenwood
The meadows for our play
The rushes by the water
To gather every day

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty
Who has made all things well

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all…

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them allThe tall trees in the greenwood
The meadows for our play
The rushes by the water
To gather every day

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty
Who has made all things well

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all…

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