The marvel-ous kid taking charge - By Tehreem Fatima

Nine-year-old Jibran Ahmed of Kanpur, the only boy in a large joint family, took over household chores to support his parents.

Muddy Hands; Hearty Souls (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Jibran Ahmad, Kanpur

Jibran Ahmed, a nine-year-old lives in a joint family at Kanpur. The joint family consists of 4 families and he is the only son amongst all. Although it might be assumed that as the only boy/son in a large family, he would be extremely pampered, and would be raised in an environment that segregates roles for males and females, the reality presents quite a contradictory story of this child. 2020 has been a roller coaster for everybody, but this Marvel fanatic kid pulled up his socks to not only help others but also improve himself and took on responsibilities that he never knew before, oblivious that he's been a real-life Superhero of 2020!

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Studying in Kanpur's Jaipuria School, the nine-year-old attends all his online classes, not just normal school from 8 AM to 12:45 in the afternoon. Even though like every school student, Jibran would be tired after classes, his mother had already enforced this habit of studying for an hour in the evening as well.

Iftar Preparation (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Muslims from all around the world felt emptiness during the 30 days of Ramadan in 2020. With Rooh Afza for drinks, and food like Dahi Phulki, Aloo Pakode, and Chanay being the traditional Iftaar everybody waits for all day long. Making the sharbat and cutting green chilies and onions were the responsibilities Jibran took to help elders.

Junior Masterchef (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

While people were obsessing over Dalgona coffee at their homes, this little hero learned how to make breakfast and snacks. He learned to boil eggs in the pot, make cheese-onion sandwiches, toast bun and butter and also bake a chocolate cake. He was turning into a little Masterchef!

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He would also help with the chore of washing the dishes. From his morning Bournvita milk cup to his dinner plates, he washed most of his utensils. His habit of washing, at least his own utensils, continues and is much appreciated by all family members.

Grooming the Personality (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Although 2020 would be a year marked by hopelessness and anxiety, there were still some people who made the most out of it. 

2020 was also a year to become adaptable to change. As a 9-year-old, Jibran used this challenging time to be there for his family in whatever manner possible and showed exemplary signs of maturity.

Laundry Basics (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Jibran ironing his father's kurta pajama for Friday prayers.

Despite being repeatedly asked to iron his school uniform before this lockdown, he didn’t take interest and would leave it for his mother. However, circumstances had changed and he took up the responsibility of ironing clothes.

I'm Never Bored- Things I can do by Myself (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

It was a challenging time for parents to keep children engaged, with schools having shut indefinitely. Jibran's mother came up with a lengthy list that consisted of a wide range of creative indoor activities.

From writing a letter to his grandfather to doing a photoshoot of clouds from the terrace, Jibran had his hands full!

Muddy Hands; Hearty Souls (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Although his clothes got dirty and the mud got stuck onto his nails, the joy Jibran felt after planting a sapling was priceless.

Muddy Hands; Hearty Souls (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

With the help of various YouTube videos and being guided by his grandmother, he was successful in completing the task.

Nurture them young (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

After 3 months of regularly watering the plant, the fresh and green sapling grew.

Although it would not be a major matter for adults, Jibran was jumpy all day as the plant finally grew.

Progressing- One lesson a day (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Amongst the many family members, Jibran helped his younger sister the most. From teaching her to spell “Cat” in English, to helping her learn to count to 100, he did it all with some help from elders.

Swinging Away The Lockdown Blues (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Just before the lockdown, the kids’ grandmother suggested putting up a swing for the children to enjoy some gala time outdoors in the evening. Even though the swing was a matter of dispute at times, it became a great pastime not only for the sibling duo but elders too.

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Before going to sleep at night, the nine-year-old reads a midnight story to his sister, Samarah.

The stories include Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, etc. Among all these Jungle Book is her favourite book and Baloo, the favourite character as he looks just like her.

What If? (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

"What if" is a 10-liner poem about what Jibran wants to be in the future. Nevertheless, the professions are not doctors or engineers, but characters of Avengers like Thor and Iron Man. Little does he know that he's already become the real-life Superhero of 2020 for his family!

Navigating through the MARVEL-lous World (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

The little one has a very strong liking towards Marvel which is pretty evident from his school bag, colouring box, pouch, slippers, and books.

Not just the merchandise, the sparkling eyes of his when people talk about Avengers is evident to all, when he recites all the movies.

From duels to braids (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

Samarah’s bhaijaan took inspiration from his sister as she made different hairstyles for her dolls. Even though his little sister doesn’t let anybody touch her hair, this time was different. She taught her brother to handle long hair as well as to tie a ponytail.

Happiness is freshly painted nails (2020) by Tehreem Fatima#COVIDHeroes

His sister, Samarah, a 6-year-old who is mostly found playing with her dolls and dressing them up, asked her Bhaijaan to paint her nails. Though Jibran was skeptical of doing the task, his little sister patiently taught him how to go about it as he painted her nails with light pink nail polish.

Credits: Story

Artist Tehreem Fatima

Artist Bio
A passionate, freelance photographer, based in New Delhi, Ms. Tehreem Fatima is deeply rooted in her ideals of rationalism and realism. A feminist by heart, trying to break the shackles of patriarchy one link at a time. She has done her post-graduation from Jamia University and does photo shoots all over the country, capturing the soul of each subject. At the forefront of NRC protests last year, she also believes in contributing her bit in whatever way she can. She also believes in sharing her passion. Thus, a short teaching stint at the Unison World School, Dehradun. Speckled yet focused is how she encapsulates her entire range of projects.

Project Location Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

#my2020hero is an initiative by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation (CPB) to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of real-life heroes by sharing their stories.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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