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Personal Narrative Essay

Personal Narrative Essay

“Sanooba didi (Sister in Hindi), promise me you will never leave me?” whispered Meera, a 10-year-old, pulling me close to her face. She was looking sad and she was almost shading tears.

“I will never leave you, my sweetheart,” I promised to stay.

It has been six months, and I have no news about the girl I promised that I would never leave her side. How I miss looking at her pretty and innocent eyes.

Am sorry” a voice from within me could be heard.


(DAY 1)

‘‘Good day, (takes a pause) Ms. Sanooba?’’ Ms. Joe questioned me with gleaming eyes, as I entered Al Noor Centre for Special Needs Dubai. She was the receptionist of this learning institute for children with special needs or in other words, the people of determination.

“Sanooba it is, well good morning. I am here for volunteering and had emailed you regarding the same.” I said, as flatly as possible.  I was at the center to gain a few hours of experience in some health fields to top up my portfolio.

Uh, when will I be done, filling these forms of conduct, responsibilities and what not?”, I questioned myself with a frown.

I restlessly sat on the sofa of the reception for about an hour, waiting for the other students, who were to report for the orientation session — feeling scared and sorry for the students. I did see many of the special needs’ students show up for their class, some excited while some being cranky, yet prim and prop in uniforms. Every child I saw, had some disability, but from what I perceive now, on second thoughts, some of the other strength.

“Why are these kids so weird, must be a pain to handle them. Am I in the right place? This does not seem like my kind of a thing at all.”, A disgusted and partially frightened me ranted within. I was in a dilemma.

“Would you like to have some water?”, Asked Ms. Joe, with a smile on her face, she completely disrupted my thoughts. She was very hospitable; the type of person you could want to have as a friend.

Wow! she is very kind” my heart whispered.

“Well, I do have water with me, so thanks,” I said. After a travel of two hours to reach the place, accompanied by a walk of 30 minutes in 40 degree Celsius, courtesy no longer was a part of me, well at least for that time.

“Hey, Sanooba!”, I heard a voice full of enthusiasm, contrary to my emotions. As I turned, I happened to see my friend from high school, and she was here for the same reason. I felt at home after seeing her.

“Finally, something good. Hello Riya.”, The life from within spoke. I had found one reason, in fact, the only reason, to keep going with this volunteering activity. Little did I know my reason and perception was going to enter a completely different world, the minute I would step foot into the classroom, which I now call ‘the magical classroom.’

There was a short 30-minute session, explaining the rules, regulations and other fundamental rights and responsibilities of the volunteer and how different children have different needs. I remember trying to pay attention, but lectures and I do not sync well, and perhaps that is why the words just went above my head.

“How do parents manage such children? I wish and pray to the lord; I do not have to handle this mess ever in life”, my mind kept provoking disinterest and indirect hatred already. But I needed those hours and knew work was not always glee.

(DAY 2- (DAY 1 of work)

“Sanooba, this is so lovely! I cannot wait to meet the kids and work with them. This is a dream come true!”, The very excited Riya exclaimed. There was a sense of delight in her eyes, with a body language worth gratitude, as she walked to her place of work, in her bright red shirt with black pants. She looked full of joy and life.

“Oh yes Riya, let’s see where this goes. I’m tired of this heat”, I said, wiping the saline droplets off my face. Day one it was. Where was this going?

There was a short tour of the school before they assigned us a place of work. The buildings were bright and bold, with all the facilities I can name. Many classrooms, a vast swimming pool, a bright blue sports hall, 2 ICT labs, a colorful library with stickers of Disney princesses and Marvel characters. Cinderella and Spiderman specifically caught my attention.

“Oh, take me back to childhood,” the child in me hoped. How I wanted to be in a blue gown with a glass slipper and Fairy Godmother and the pumpkin carriage, but reality seemed to have a different grin.

Walking through the hallway, an aroma of brownies filled the space. “Yummy!” my tummy exclaimed. It was worth drooling over.  We had paused at the bakery, our destination post library. Within seconds there were two master chefs or specifically bakers, ready to introduce themselves.

“Hello, my name is Mark, and he is Zeeshan. We work at the bakery and love making brownies and cakes. We work at Al Noor Centre, Dubai and love feeding everyone here. Many companies buy our bakery products. If you would like to buy some, please proceed to the shop ‘Al Noor Works’ and taste our creations. Thank you, have a beautiful day!”, Recited Mark. They were both students with Down Syndrome.

“What was I thinking all this while?”, I said to myself.

“Down Syndrome? Bakery? Brownies?”, these words kept gushing through me.


“We shall now assign you to work spots,” said the lady giving us the tour, and once again kicking reality into me.

I remember entering ‘Junior Girls Pink’ and being greeted by ‘Teacher Gel.’

Hello dear, I am teacher Gel, that is teacher Lhea, welcome to class! Girls, we have a new volunteer with us. Say ‘Hi.'”, she spoke with eagerness and a beaming smile. She also put on that loving and welcoming smile. However, one could not fail to notice that the eye of strictness in teacher Gel.

“Uh, hello… I am Sanooba” a nervous me, tried to speak. I stood at the back of the class for about an hour, while teacher Gel, continued to teach the English alphabets to the 12-year old’s. I quickly looked at the ten children in the room, and my nervousness only seemed to increase. They seemed distracted by my presence and kept turning behind to have a look at this new creature in their class. The first day went by, with almost no work and I came home to bed.

Life is tough” my mind kept remembering.


“Sanooba didi (Sister in Hindi), promise me you will never leave me?” whispered Meera, a 10-year-old, pulling me close to her face. Her warm eyes let a teardrop on my hand.

It had been a month now, and ‘Junior girls Pink’ was my life. Meera, a student who sat on her wheelchair, unable to lift her hands and legs, was one of the most adorable human beings I have ever come across. Feeding her every lunchtime, teaching her to hold the pen, making her recite the alphabets and numbers, playing games with her on the tablet, wiping her face with the wet towel was all a part of me now. I had seen her progress from A to F, from 1 to 10. She had become my necessity.

Meera you stay strong; you know how I trust in you” my look on her was saying that silently. She was almost crying. She knows to love for sure.


“I never will leave you, my sweetheart”, I promised to stay.  I wiped her face after lunch and whispered the words she wanted to hear. I had become her world, her happiness and as once said by her, “my best friend”.


It has been 6 months and I have no news of the girl I promised that I will never leave her side.

I miss you Meera” this was the voice my heart was making. I was missing the girl. I lost the way she used to talk and the kind of respect she had for her teachers and us.

Al Noor has been one of the best places for me. I learned a lot while there.

After all home is where the heart belongs” my heart spoke. I had to go back home.


“Meera, I will miss you. I wish you the very best and hope to see you grow into the most beautiful person ever. I shall never be seeing you again”, my heart whispered, while I promised to wear a pink dress, the next week for her birthday.

I loved seeing her happy. Nothing made my heart warm and full of joy like putting a smile on her pretty face.