The sun rises up over the mountains as I sit outside watching the cow eat. I live in a small village in the mountains of Northern India. From my porch I can see the six other houses that cling to the mountainside. In the distance, over the river, you can see the flat land that rolls off towards distance places that I have never seen. Down the to the tropical south. One day I will go.
My village is high in the mountains. There are no cities nearby. Only sometimes do we go to the large town. It is an adventure that I love. I love the noise and all the people. Here there are few people. It is a simple life. A life that I love, but I long to go far away. To see more of my country, see more of the world.
I walk to school with my friends. Our school is a small building. Every class fits in to the one stone block. Our teacher is a good man. He teaches us everything. English, Maths, Geography, Hindi, he knows everything. Our school has no money but he still tries to teach us. There are a few desks and a blackboard, a poster on the wall with English letters, A is for Apple, B is for Ball…
My favourite lesson is English. Most of my classmates can’t speak any English but everyday after I go home I spend all my time looking at my English book. Learning words, everyday I try to learn 10 words. If I can’t speak English then what will I do? When I grow up I want to be a pilot, I want to go beyond the river, down across the plains to the big cities.
At lunch time we eat our packed lunches and then we play cricket. I love cricket. We use any ball we can find. If I can’t be a pilot I want to be a cricket player. In the evening I can’t play cricket, I can only watch the big kids play. At school I can play all lunch time. Our school is on the side of a mountain and sometimes the ball falls over the side. Sometimes we nearly fall down too.
Back in class we learn Hindi. I hate Hindi classes. They are boring. I can already speak Hindi so I don’t understand why I have to learn. My grandmother can not speak Hindi though, maybe she can take my place. Perhaps she is too old. I wish I could find someone I can speak English with. My English is nearly as good as teacher’s, I hope one day I can find an English person to speak English with. Then I can get better.
School is over and I walk back home with my friends. My village is small, but I love it. When I arrive back home I do my homework and then sit outside and look out across the mountains and the plains to where my dreams lie. The cow is still eating. My cow is black and I want to be a pilot.
About seven years ago I spent some time teaching in a village in the Himalayan foothills. The schools were basic and lacked funds. The people however seemed to appreciate their lives and made the most out of what they had. This short story above is of a small boy that I taught who wanted to be a pilot. Given his circumstances he spoke excellent English and studied hard. Most of the kids understandably didn’t have very good English, however they could all repeat one phrase they were taught which was “My cow is black…”. I often wonder what became of him and if he will ever realise his dream. All the pictures are mine.