When I started going to school
When I started going to school
To walk on the lanes where I
Was standing in front of a large door painted in blue,
Wondering what happens inside…
Holding my breath,
Clutched my fathers’ hands tight…
I could hear the creaking noise of the door,
And then it plunged open.
My 6 years old soul was exposed to a new human:
A tall, dusky woman with a smiling face
Welcomed us inside,
Behind her, there was a black-board.
I could see some kids sitting on mats
With a flat black object on their laps
Along with a white, straight stick like object in their hands.
I wondered what they were doing
While my father was talking to the woman.
I thought that I would get trapped as I had heard stories of baccha chor. I thought those kids were kidnapped. My father could have recognised my anxiety and fear. So, he tried to console me and asked me to seek blessings from my first guru. I was trembling but I trusted my father. I touched her feet to seek her blessings. She hugged me with her warm smile. I was wondering. I had doubts about what was happening. Those stories of Baccha chor still haunted me. Suddenly, I was curious to notice those black objects seated on those kids' laps. I was trying to figure out if I have ever used them and then, I remembered that I used it during Saraswati Pooja. After recalling for a minute or so, I recalled that Pandit ji held my hand while chanting Mantras and I used a round white object to scribble. I was trying to identify and relate. But after I heard cheerful voices of other children playing in a near-by playground, I ran towards it. As a kid, I was usually fond of running and participating in sports. Hahaha! I vanished from the door of my first school without seeking any permission from my father or teacher. After all, teacher was just another human being for me who was elder to me. I was taught to respect my teacher but that day, I was just fascinated about everything.
The next day when I went to school with my father,
I asked him to sit with me
Because, he said, going to school was important for everyone.
I thought that my father never attended school
That was why, he did not get his bag.
My father asked me to wait for him
So that he comes with his bag to attend school.
To my surprise, he came to take me back home
After the school hours got over.
I started crying and pinched my father
For lying to me.
My teacher held my hands lightly
And asked me to stop hurting him.
But I have always done things my way:
So, I kept crying aloud
Till I received a ‘melody’ from my teacher.
I was angry but I concentrated on ‘melody’.
Before taking it,
I looked at my father
To take permission for having it.
I juggled in between school and playground
Learnt to write alphabets while forgetting them soon.
My inner child kept exploring teacher hood
By checking and inking my copies with stars and compliments.
After an year, I got admitted into a bigger school
Which had a big playground and big classrooms
With benches and desks.
Fascinated with my school,
I went to purchase a new school bag
A colourful one but strong enough to carry
My copies and books.
I loved the smell of new books.
I loved to read but was not keen to write
I would be the last one to show my homework
I would keep sharpening my pencils
And erasing what I have already written.
I would be the last one
To ask for any help from my teacher.
Still, I managed to come in top 10
But, Bakshi ma’am wanted me to come in top 3
Howsoever, I never bothered.
Sometimes, I felt lost
I used to day-dream about listening to stories
And enjoying with my grandparents.
I used to get scolded because I would often
Lose my pencils and erasers.
Oh, I remember owning
One of the biggest Shaka-laka-boom-boom pencils
In my class.
We had different sets of competition among ourselves:
Whose pencil is longer and so on…
One day, a piece of eraser entered one of my nostrils. I started crying aloud as I was unable to breathe properly. My teacher was frightened. She got a torch and tried to check the position of eraser. Ah! It felt awful as I was trying to breathe. But, I was afraid to breathe. One of my teachers called my mother and asked her to take me to hospital. I was afraid. My teachers tried to console but I kept crying till my mother arrived. My mother took me to Doctor Poddar's clinic wherein he took the piece of eraser within five minutes. I was pleasantly surprised. For me, he was my savior. I thanked him for letting me breathe freely after I handled suffocation for 30 minutes. Wow! I was still alive. The thought of being able to breathe freely again made me a happy-go-lucky girl. After all, I did not have to attend other boring classes of Bakshi ma'am and Pokale ma'am. Ah! I never liked caricaturing pineapples and apples. Urgh! those drawings never humbled me till I had to prove myself for taking admission to another big school.
Haha! That seems to be an end of my first phase.
I was promoted to class one
And for the first time,
I felt like giving an innocent gift to my teachers
Who wanted me to top in the class.
Although, I did not top
But I improved my performance.
There was a realization
That my teachers and my parents were working hard
Without judging my ability.
So, I outperformed myself.
I was never a performer
Although, I participated in fancy-dress competitions,
Handwriting competitions, 100-meter races
And won several competitions.
But my intention was not to win.
I was a learner
My mother encouraged me to participate in competitions
As it would make me aware of my weaknesses
So, I participated.
I got admission in Maharishi Vidya Mandir
When I was promoted to Class 1.
I remember those teary eyes of my first-found teachers.
A new journey awaited me
But I could never forget the school
Which taught me to hold pencil and write.