A Chinese proverb goes like this,

Tell me, I’ll forget

Show me, I’ll remember

Involve me, I’ll understand

1984

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Somewhere, in a school in Bombay, a little girl held her father’s hand as she proudly walked to collect her report card. She had secured the prized first rank. As she clung onto her A grades, her confident gait was matched by the delight in her father’s eyes. She stopped at the book exhibition in the hallway. Her eyes grew wide with wonder. She loved books and she set her heart on a Giant Book of  Fairy Tales by Hamlyn. Rs 81/- was a whole lot to pay for a book, especially when all her father had was Rs 100/- in his pocket. That afternoon she came home, beaming as the proud owner of a new imported book. Little did she know, that the treasured book would change her life and one day, would be part of her wedding trousseau.

1986

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The girl was chosen to represent the country at the Indian Film Festival in France. However, her modest upbringing could not afford the expenses of travel and stay. Her mother wrote an honest letter to the French gentleman, thanking him for the honour, at the same time apologizing about being unable to meet with the trip requirements. The gentleman, in return, replied with an official sponsorship from the French government. The girl had an unforgettable trip to the Eiffel Tower and forged a friendship she would cherish for years.

1988

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The girl failed for the first time in her academic life. The red line was not drawn on her mark sheet. It seemed to have been drawn on her entire self-belief. Even with an F in Math, she still stood third in class because of her other subject scores. She was used to the limelight. For the first time she felt the agony of being nothing. Her neighbour came to her rescue. He helped her understand the logic behind x and y. Her uncle got her some self- study material. Her parents egged her on to perform better. Her teachers said she could do it. She claimed her rightful 3rd place in the final term.

2013

That girl sits to pen a few lines on her blog. She smiles as she looks at the shelves stacked with books and more books. That Fairy Tale one now belongs to her 11 year daughter, who is an equally voracious reader. As she works her thoughts, a ping on a social network site makes her smile. It’s been 26 years since they first met. And they still are in touch. France, Corbeil, is where she left a part of herself as a 10 year old. Someday she will come back to her roots, he says. She smiles as she gets back to work. She has to prepare a talk for her students on Accepting Failure. She looks for that treasured report card. Nothing resonates more than real life stories. I know, because this is my story to tell.

Our life, with all the people, places and events, is our ecosystem. We build it one day at a time. Our experiences teach us lessons that we neatly fold and keep in compartments. Knowingly and unknowingly, we are watching, learning and growing every passing minute. And then one fine day, when life thinks you could do with a gentle nudge or a bigger push, these memories come tumbling down. You then pick the one that suits the occasion and say, because I saw, I learnt. And because I learnt, I can attempt to teach.

I am sharing what ‘I Saw and I Learnt‘ at BlogAdda.com in association with DoRight.in.

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