This is the story of a simple boy from the outskirts of East Delhi. He belonged to a poor family and was a first-generation school student of grade 9.
One day he was in a hospital and a hurried stranger asked him for the way to go out (as he needed to purchase some medication for an ailing wife admitted in the hospital). The boy looked out for “Exit” sign and guided him. Later, in the afternoon, the same man searched for the boy to thank him profusely for his help.
The boy realized the importance of English and decided to learn it.
Back then, he had only one person to turn to – his English teacher in school. When approached with the request, the teacher replied, “Go away! You can never learn English, it’s not your cup of tea. I’m not your father’s servant.”
Dawn of resolution suddenly changed to the dusk of disappointment in no time. The debris of his hope were scattered all over the next few days as he mulled over other possibilities. At home he found a nursery rhyme book lying in a corner covered with dust. He understood most of the things. He realized that he can learn from English textbooks of primary grades and scoured his younger siblings books. Now he was learning new words but there was no one to practice or speak with. He would go to the terrace of his house every night and poured out his heart’s content in the form of soliloquy to the moon and stars. For six years, he practiced incessantly but something was amiss.
One day, he found Free English Academy (FEA) in his area. With a doubtful head, “Why would anyone offer these classes for free?” and a hopeful heart, “Now I will be able to speak in English”, he went in. Simple as it was, he took admission and started going to FEA daily. He diligently followed the two golden rules – speak only in English and speak in full sentences. This place was the answer to all his prayers – an English-Only environment that he hankered after. And the Facilitator turned out to be a better listener than the moon and stars.
With regular attendance and participation, hesitation bid goodbye and confidence became his new companion. Meanwhile, in his college, he was selected to deliver a speech in ISC (Indian Science Congress) 100th Annual Conference. The Indian prime minister was to attend this. All the presentations in FEA, gave him “I can do this’ confidence.
With diligent preparation, everything went smoothly on the day of his speech. The audience clapped and gave him a standing ovation. His three-minute speech was hailed as the best speech ever from the college.
It all happened because of FEA.
Now the young protagonist is a Student Evaluator in FEA and very pleased to share his journey through this blog.