Dear Mom J
I wish I could start with “It seemed just like yesterday when you decided to follow me into St Gregorios School, my first school - as a teacher” but truth be told, I have no recollection of when you actually joined St Gregorios.
33 years feels like a fairy tale distance back in time. But as you retire today, and hang up your sandals – a giant wave of emotions shook me out of my reverie and made me write this:
For a long time I used to dislike the fact that I was in the same school as you. You see, other kids always think you are going to snitch on them or that you will have some unfair advantage.
My one memory was when one classmate in all her innocence and bravery, actually asked you: Madame, Why are you teaching us, since Nitin will already know the answer?
In my head: “I was like: This is a painting class for godsake. Damn!!, She’s gonna give me a C now just to placate others”.
Kids you could still handle, it was the teachers I was more worried about. How many times has it happened that a teacher will scold you in class, and that’s it. Done and Dusted. The parents would have no clue about their wards till the half yearly Parent Teacher Meeting. But no, for me it used to be a torturous wait till end of school – to figure out if I would be allowed to stop at Agarwal Sweet Corner and buy Chowmein on the way back home. J
Considering I got transferred to another school and missed out on having you as a teacher and Vice Principal in school – it would be only fair that other students or your colleagues write testimonials about you. But I can’t help but point out today, the things that have stayed with me and make my chest swell even today and especially today:
First and foremost, for working as an independent lady almost all throughout your adult life and yet balancing your domestic life with papa and raising up one gem of a boy and one ok type girl. J If you are reading this, I know you will graciously go: “ That is because your papa….” . It may be true as well, but go ahead, take that credit for once. This is your post, I’ll write a separate one when he retires J
Concern for students in general – I remember so many instances of you personally taking care of students who were ill by making them sleep in your lap, or accompany them to their houses, give counselling etc.
I don’t know why am writing in bullet points but doesn’t matter now. What matters is I remember how your sandals would always get quickly worn out because of so much climbing and going down the school stairs. However you never complained about the stairs, only the sandal quality J
I would get up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom, and there you would be in the main room at 3 am or 4 am checking papers of students- possibly because you didn’t want your work to interfere in “our” regular hours. I think that it is no coincidence that your journey of passion and dedication coincided with the growth of St Gregorios from its very humble beginnings to its stature today.
It would be unfair to say that it was a one way street. Serving the school, working with some awesome teachers and the multiple batches of students also made you a far “cooler” chilled out person as well. For eg: Am truly in awe of your excellent watsapp emoticon usage J. Am not joking, every statement of mine usually ends with only one kind - J
While there is a no way, this “small” post does justice to the reams that I can write about you, in the interest of FB likes – ill quickly end with a story.
Student 1: “This is my pencil”
Student 2” “This is my pencil”
You: “ Ok, if both of you don’t tell me – ill break the pencil into 2 and give one to each of you”
Student 1: “Ok”
Student 2: (Crying): Mummy will scold me.
You (in King Solomon style): And the pencil goes to….
With that kind of fairness and justice, I needn’t have worried. I deservedly got a B grade in that painting class.
Here’s to the second innings Mom!!