Irfan is one of our more keen violin students in the Child’s Play (India) Foundation music project at Hamara School.
I was driving him to a private lesson with Sanya Cotta, an extremely gifted Goan-origin violinist who now studies and works in Germany, and regularly coaches young children there herself.
On an impulse, I asked Irfan in my pidgin Hindi: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Doctor!”, he answered, without missing a heartbeat.
“Because I want to help the poor. I’ll treat them for free when I’m a doctor”.
We discussed it further. How would he make a living if he worked for free?
He had thought of that. He’d charge the rich, and that would be enough to live on.
And how would he be able to tell who could pay and who couldn’t? I didn’t understand this answer verbatim, but he seemed confident he could make the distinction.
“And what will happen to your violin playing?” I asked.
“If I hadn’t thought of being a doctor, I’d want to be a violinist,” he replied.
“But you can be both, you know. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”
I explained how several doctors around the world are such passionate players and lovers of music.
“I’m a doctor, and I play violin and viola”, I told him.
“Bahut lucky hain aap”, he responded, with a lot of feeling.
You are very lucky.
We drove the rest of the distance in silence. I don’t know what thoughts were in Irfan’s head, but I mentally thanked him for pointing out to me what a blessed life I’ve had so far.