Sunday, November 4, 2012

The walking calendar: Govinda Aryal

How many dates and occasions can a normal human being remember? Perhaps the dates and their occasions of two-three days or, at most, one to two months. But Govinda Aryal, a resident of Bichyauli, Chitwan, can recall the dates and occasions of the past 12 years. He also never forgets anyone, even if he has only met that person once. When he meets the person again, he can perfectly recall the exact date, time and happenings during their first meeting. Hence, this memory genius has earned the pet name ‘calendar’ amongst his friends, which comes as no surprise.

Govinda was visually impaired from birth. Also, his body hasn’t developed physically. He is currently studying in the tenth grade at Jhuwani Secondary School, Bichyauli. With a strong academic performance, he has always stood first in class, ever since he enrolled. His teacher Susmita Bhattarai says that his interest in studying is the main reason behind his success. “Teaching a student like him is a matter of pride,” says Bhattarai. Govinda sincerely listens to what is being taught by his teachers and writes them down. He is the epitome of the fact that hard work leads to success.

Govinda can recall all the dates and occasions from the first day at school up until the recent days. “I don’t know how, but I can remember every day starting from day one at school,” Govinda says, adding, “If I think some day is important, I never forget it, no matter how long it has been. My friends are amazed by this.”

Govinda’s favorite subjects are Nepali and social studies. He has never secured lower than 70 per cent in these subjects. He shares that he finds geometry a bit difficult as it involves drawing and one can’t make pictures in Braille. That’s why he is not being able to do as well in mathematics as in other subjects. “I can easily write in other subjects. It isn’t tough. But we are required to draw in geometry and science,” Govinda says, adding that there is no other option for him, apart from skipping those questions. He does understand what is being said, but can’t make out how the drawings are supposed to look like. Hence, he secures low marks.

Helpful, Govinda eagerly shares his knowledge with his friends. He lives in the school hostel which has been allotted for visually-impaired students. The hostel accommodates around two dozens of students like him. However, he has to study with the normal students. The government has enforced a special education mechanism whereby visually impaired and differently-abled students can study together. “I can’t see what is written on the board but my friends read it out and I write them down,” says Govinda.

He aspires to become a teacher in the future. Although he is visually impaired, he wishes to help pull out many children from the darkness, towards the light, through education. Govinda’s friends take a liking towards him because of his helpful nature. One of his classmates, Sushil Ale also believes that Govinda will grow up to be a good teacher.

“Even now, if he has to explain something, he elucidates well with examples. He already has the characteristics of a teacher,” says Sushil.