It was business as usual last Friday at St. Tony Stark school in Mahim till the English teacher Miss Gomes asked her class fifth students to turn in their essays on, ‘Who do I want to be when I grow up?’ As is customary for school teachers to ask a few students to read out their essays in such cases, Miss Gomes too followed suit.
All was well for the first few minutes. The usual trivial stuff – astronaut like Sunita Williams, actor like Shah Rukh Khan and then came in young Manoj Narayan’s turn. As he started the class experienced for the first time what the term ‘pin drop silence’ actually meant.
It was because Manoj said he wanted to grow up to become India’s next Rahul Gandhi. In what seems to be a very well-articulated essay with really bad diction, Manoj explained how he first heard Rahul’s name when he was around 2 or 3. He vaguely remembers Rahul being referred as the youth leader. He pointed out that it’s been over a decade now and Rahul is still the youth leader, even though he is in his forties now.
Manoj then pointed out that all the other professions have standard benchmarks against which performances are rated and results are delivered but Rahul Gandhi faces the brunt of no such criterion. His words were, ‘Rahul Gandhi is clearly the best at being Rahul Gandhi. A niche so niche only he can take it. A task so specific and detailed only he can do it. What that task is only he knows.’
While there has been quite an uproar at Manoj’s school and some of his classmates remain unfazed. His desk mate Leena Deshpande said, ‘That was classic Manoj. He purposely picks a choice no one else will. When everyone else is going gaga about Chota Bheem, he will insist that Dora the Explorer rocks.’ Leena wasn’t available for a more detailed comment as she got busy watching a Chota Bheem rerun.
When approached Manoj’s parents they said, they will be supportive of whatever career Manoj chooses and declined to answer more questions. We also approached Manoj’s English teacher, Miss Gomes to ask her opinion about this incident. She scratched her head a little and regaining her English teacher-like composure said, ‘It’s a bold choice. At least our children are taking the road less taken. That says something about my teaching skills. Besides it could be far worse. Manoj could have said he wanted to be the next Digvijay Singh.’ Or it could have been far better. Manoj could have aspired to be Nitin Gadkari’s driver.