The lady teacher who was in the class was saying something to the girls but Bholi could understand nothing. She looked at the pictures on the wall. The colours fascinated her — the horse was brown just like the horse on which the Tehsildar had come to visit their village; the goat was black like the goat of their neighbour; the parrot was green like the parrots she had seen in the mango orchard; and the cow was just like their Lakshmi. And suddenly Bholi noticed that the teacher was standing by her side, smiling at her.
     “What’s your name, little one?”
     “Bh-Bho-Bho-.” She could stammer no further than that.
     Then she began to cry and tears flowed from her eyes in a helpless flood. She kept her head down as she sat in her corner, not daring to look up at the girls who, she knew, were still laughing at her.
     When the school bell rang, all the girls scurried out of the classroom, but Bholi dared not leave her corner. Her head still lowered, she kept on sobbing.
     The teacher’s voice was so soft and soothing! In all her life she had never been called like that. It touched her heart.
     “Get up,” said the teacher. It was not a command, but just a friendly suggestion. Bholi got up.
     “Now tell me your name.”
     Sweat broke out over her whole body. Would her stammering tongue again disgrace her? For the sake of this kind woman, however, she decided to make an effort. She had such a soothing voice; she would not laugh at her.
     “Bh-Bh-Bho-Bho-,” she began to stammer.
     “Well done, well done,” the teacher encouraged her. “Come on, now — the full name?”
     “Bh-Bh-Bho-Bholi.” At last she was able to say it and felt relieved as if it was a great achievement.
     “Well done.” The teacher patted her affectionately and said, “Put the fear out of your heart and you will be able to speak like everyone else.”
The teacher in the class started saying something to the girls. While hearing that, Bholi couldn't understand anything. We learnt earlier that Bholi was not like other children of her age. She used to stammer while speaking and was habitually observing everything late. She then looked at the pictures on the walls. The colours on the wall attracted her. The horse which was drawn on the wall looked brown. It seemed like the same horse which the Tehsildar used to visit the village. At the same time, while seeing the paintings, Bholi compared things. This incident also shows that she can understand and remember things.
Bholi's teacher
Then Bholi saw the next picture on the wall. It was the picture of the goat. The goat was black, and it seemed to be like that of their neighbours. Then she saw the parrot. The parrot seemed green in colour, like that of the parrots she had already seen in the mango orchard. Then she noticed a cow picture on the wall. It reminded her about their cow Lakshmi. After looking at all the pictures on the wall, Bholi suddenly encountered that her teacher was standing nearby her and smiling at her.
The teacher politely asked Bholi's name. After hearing that, Bholi tried to tell her name, but she stammered in between. As a result, Bholi started crying, and tears came out of her eyes like a flood. She then kept her head down and sat in the corner. She didn't look at any of the girls whom she knew already. The other girls looked and laughed at her.
Bholi felt uncomfortable facing the other children. The narrator then says that when the school bell rang, all the girls rushed out of the classroom. Bholi did not leave her place. She still sat by lowering her head and was crying. It shows how she was disturbed in her classroom. The teacher then called out her name in a soft tone. The teacher's voice was very pleasant. She had never been called in such an innocent way. While hearing her teacher's gentle call, she felt a lot, and it touched her heart.
The narrator then asked his readers whether her stammering tongue would again make her into trouble or deceive her. The teacher then decided to make an effort to make Bholi speak in a clear way. She took the effort to make Bholi feel very comfortable. The teacher had a soft voice, and she didn't laugh at Bholi. After seeing the teacher's confidence level, Bholi again started to speak. She again spoke in the way of stammering.
After hearing Bholi's stammered name, the teacher encouraged her to continue with her name. She asked her to tell the full name. Bholi again tried telling her name. At last, she said it clearly and felt she had achieved it. After hearing the clear voice of Bholi, the teacher appreciated her. The teacher patted her shoulder gently and in an affectionate way. She asked her to take the fear out of her heart. In addition, she encouraged her that she could speak like everyone.
Meanings of the difficult words:
FascinateExtremely interested
OrchardAn area of land where fruit trees but not orange trees or other citrus trees are grown
SobTo cry noisily, taking in deep breaths
Soothing To make someone feel calm or less worried
AchievementSomething very good and difficult that you have succeeded in doing
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Bholi - K.A. Abbas (pp. 54-62). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.