A few months ago, I missed my train from Delhi to Dehradun. I had to get back home that afternoon and there was no way I was willing to pay for either a flight or a taxi. So I worked up my courage and headed to the bus station.
I hate buses. I get motion sickness just thinking about them. The drivers on our route are reckless and crazy and they sound their horns incessantly. Many of the “Deluxe” buses treat passengers to Bollywood movies at top volume — with screens at intervals the length of the vehicle there is no escaping the raucous and often violent cacophony.
But that’s not the worst of it. The worst part of the 7-hour journey from Delhi to Dehradun is that buses have no loos. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but the moment I find myself in a place where I can’t get to a toilet, I suddenly, desperately need to use one. I can’t read; I can’t listen to music; I can’t chat with my seatmate. All I can think about is how badly I need to pee.
On the train, with loos in every compartment, I find I never even think about them. I read my book; I do my writing; I make friends with the person in the next seat. I relax. I have options.
I thought about this phenomenon a few weeks ago while addressing an audience of young teachers about educational inclusion. My presentation was about adapting the curriculum for the children in their classrooms, about making it easy for children to behave properly and learn well. They had many questions, but one with which they all connected was about an 8-year-old boy who couldn’t sit still.
“The moment I call the class to order,” a teacher said, “Vikas starts to fidget. He interrupts, he bothers the other children and he disrupts the entire class. And he constantly asks to leave the room on some flimsy excuse or other. How do I handle him?”
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