Friday, September 25, 2015

Kamal: A Talent In My School

Kamal is like any other eleventh grade science student in my school. He is a shy and a timid young boy. Because of his silent and calm nature, he is not an easily noticeable student in the school. He is a member of the school vocational club.

Recently the school conducted 'Club Exhibition'. The school has twenty one clubs. Kamal occupied a small space in the vocational club corner. He sat quietly with some mobile repairing equipment displayed before him. The crowd concentration shifted from one club to another but not many were interested in Kamal. The few that came thought that what was before him was merely a display of disassembled mobile phone. 

All during the program Kamal remained inconspicuous to the audience. It was only towards the end of the program that Kamal came to the limelight. Actually it was my encounter with him that caught the crowd's eye.

Kamal in the vocational club corner
The guests had already left and there was a very thin audience left. I thought we had called it an exhibition and I was walking out of the hall. As I neared the exit door I saw Kamal sitting quietly with two other friends.

"What have you got here?" I asked him.

"Mobile repair sir"

"Can you repair my mobile? Its sound doesn't work" I asked .

I thought he would not dare accept to work on a teacher's mobile. But the response was a confident "Yes sir"

I handed him my mobile and others around me started to laugh taking Kamal for granted. But Kamal started getting busy on the mobile. I told him in jest 'I hope you will not return my mobile in pieces like Mr. Bean returning a solid radio in several pieces to a customer' following which there was a huge laughter from students who thronged around to watch Kamal.

The students who were watching Kamal were anxious over what Kamal was doing. They thought he was on a risky venture of handling a teacher's phone.

Just then a lady teacher walked past and asked me "What's going on here?"

"He is repairing my mobile" I said.

"He will only get your mobile spoiled" she remarked and walked away giving a fleeting glance at Kamal.

Kamal heard the comment and he blushed but his hands never ceased to be confident.
Kamal working on my mobile

At one moment I was skeptical of his ability. I wished I had not given him the mobile. By then he had dismantled the phone completely and I could only watch him.

But his hands were deft and he exuded confidence over what he was doing

Still skeptical, I asked the other two boys sitting next to him who were equally quite. "Do you think he can really repair my mobile?"

"Yes sir. He can. He is really good at it sir." That gave me some reassurance.

Kamal had identified a problem with my phone. He said "sir, there is a disconnection here" He pointed to something very tiny which I couldn't make a thing. He  worked meticulously on it and got it fixed. 

Watching among the crowd was another teacher who also had problem with his mobile phone. He stepped forward and handed Kamal his phone. He had multiple problems - the camera, screen and dial pad. Kamal got all of them fixed just in few minutes. He won the crowd's heart.

Fascinated by his capability, I asked him "Did you do any formal training on repairing mobile phones?" 

"No sir. I learnt by myself at home" he said still looking timid.

"Are all these repair kits yours?" I asked pointing at the kits.

"Yes sir"

"Do you do this at home?"

"Yes sir"

"Sir, he is well known in Daragaon, (the place where he stays)" said the other two boys near him."People give him different electrical appliances such as, rice cooker, curry cooker, water boiler, microoven, washing machine and fan to repair. Just anything sir-any electrical equipment. He fixes them all for free sir. His room looks like a electronics repair shop" 

The next day I got the following things repaired:

1. Water boiler
2. Two fans 
3. Micro oven 
4. Tubelight
5. Extension cord
6. My wife's watch

I was surprised at Kamal's unique skills. Unique because he didn't learn from any Guru but his skills are self-taught. However, Kamal admitted that he cannot repair computers and digital camera. He has plans to attend computer repair course this winter. 

When asked about his ambition, Kamal said he wants to become an electronic engineer.