Earth and I
Special thanks to CHARLES FREDELUCES MUNDO for the pictures used to create badges for this blog.

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Ishaan is a a playful nine year old boy. He always gets low grades. He always gets into trouble. It seems like he enjoys defying orders that his parents feel anxious about him.

One day in school, the teacher asked Ishaan to read his book, but Ishaan felt as if the letters are dancing and so he was not able to read the lesson. He was sent out of the classroom and spent the entire period outside. When the class ended, Ishaan was not able to do his homework nor let his test paper signed. For fear of being thrashed by the teacher, Ishaan skipped classes and wandered around the city all by himself. That night, Ishaan begged his older brother, Yohan, to write an excuse letter so that he will be admitted in his class the following day.

Ishaan was admitted, but they had a test in Math and he was able to answer only the first number but he answered it incorrectly. Later that day, Mr. Awashti, Ishaan’s father accidentally discovered the fake excuse letter and Ishaan’s misdeed was found out. His parents met with his teachers and his parents learned that he was not doing well in school and might fail again.

Mr. Awashti thought of a solution to Ishaan’s negative attitude towards his studies. He decided to send Ishaan to a boarding school. Ishaan begged and cried but it was to no avail. His things were packed and though his mother was against the idea, Ishaan was left in the boarding school. That night, Ishaan cried long and hard while his family went back home.

Ishaan’s first day in the boarding school did not go well. He was overwhelmed. His teachers were dismayed because he could not read and write properly. His Art teacher even hit him with a small piece of chalk and rapped his knuckles five times. Ishaan was very sad that when his family visited him, he did not even speak at all. He just kept the set of crayons that Yohan brought for him and he cried the whole night when he slept beside his mother. When his family left, Ishaan felt even more sad.

Then, a new art teacher came, Mr. Ram Shankar Nikumbh. He was playing a flute and he was expecting everyone to have fun in class. He noticed right away that Ishaan was different because the boy did not do his art work. Then, Mrs. Awashti called Ishaan to say they won’t be able to visit him that weekend because of Yohan’s final tennis match. Ishaan simply didn’t care anymore.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nikumbh asked Rajan, Ishaan’s seatmate, about him. The boy told him that Ishaan is new in school and that he couldn’t read nor write. Mr. Nikumbh checked out Ishaan’s notebook and noticed that the boy’s mistakes have a pattern, his letters and even words were either written backwards or in mirror image. He went to Ishaan’s house and talked with the boy’s parents and told them that Ishaan manifests symptoms of dyslexia, a reading and writing disorder that he, Mr. Nikumbh himself suffered when he was young.

In school, Mr. Nikumbh discussed about famous people who had dyslexia but were able to do great things like the great Leonardo da Vinci. Ishaan’s interest was caught. That day, when they were sent out of the classroom, Ishaan made a boat that sails in the pond which showed his innate talent.

Mr.Nikumbh talked to the principal and volunteered to teach Ishaan to read and write and asked that the boy be assessed orally while he is working with his basic skills. The principal consented and Mr. Nikumbh worked with Ishaan. One day, Mr. Awashti visited the Art teacher to let him know that his wife made a research about dyslexia to show that they care about Ishaan but Mr. Nikumbh told him what real care means. On Mr. Awashti’s way out, he overheard Ishaan reading the advertisement for the upcoming Painting competition. It was the first time he heard him read. In his shame, he was not able to show himself to his son.

On the day of the competition, Ishaan woke up and left early that the competition has already started when he arrived at the amphitheater. The contestants had so much fun. At the end of the competition, there was a tie between Ishaan and Mr. Nikumbh. However, the final decision made Ishaan’s painting of a boy by the pond the winner.

Ishaan’s painting became the front cover of the school’s yearbook while Mr. Nikumbh’s painting of Ishaan was the back cover.  Ishaan’s family was so proud of him especially when his teachers told them how smart and talented he was, all thanks to Mr. Nikumbh who paid attention to the boy who once didn’t know how to read and write.

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