Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Chapter Shall End Soon.

For the umpteenth time in the last few hours, I read the letter neatly typed and signed and folded it again. I had known all the time that doing this would be difficult. Yet never had I anticipated that I’d actually end up hating myself for doing this. For reasons unknown and sans basis to me, I had started feeling guilty. Not wanting to prolong the wait further, I moved towards the door carrying the letter with me, and knocked softly. I entered the room with oodles of trepidation, knowing that my life would never be the same again once I came out of it. For this was the very room where I sat nervously almost 8 months back, nodding dutifully when my classes were allotted to me.

And in these 8 months, I have come a long way from what I used to be, so much that it actually seems 8 years’ worth of experience. Every moment I have spent in school has turned out to be a memorable moment for me. For what I joined as a job to keep me busy for a few months before I left home turned out to be much more than a job. It became my life.

And I was so happy with this life. If there weren’t a few factors to be considered, I’d have never even thought of quitting. But then, US has been a different dream altogether, and a much older one.

The tidings spread fast in the staff room, and it was a boon since I was spared the pain of having to announce it personally. But telling the kids turned out to be one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. I entered the class as usual and spent the next 5 minutes helping them to settle down in their places. I took the class attendance as usual. The kids had kept their diaries on my table for me to sign even before I had asked them to. They too had kind of entered into a routine life with me the last few months. Like everyday, I saw their Math textbooks opened in front of them. They looked at me in anticipation, wondering which chapter would be started today.

I just stood and looked at their faces. Not a word was spoken. It seemed that I had entered into a trance for a few moments. I just looked at their faces, my eyes drifting from one corner of the class to another. Finally, I cleared my throat and found my voice.

Children, I shall be leaving this month. And I want a promise from all of you that you all will behave yourself and will not give anyone the chance to complain once I am gone.

I somehow hurried through the seemingly rote lines, wanting to get over with the torture as soon as I could. What I saw in their faces was a stunned expression. Whatever is in their hearts gets reflected on their faces. In fact if telling them a goodbye wasn’t so traumatic a feeling, I’d have actually laughed at the remarks they had to make about the news.

Oh ma’am, are you getting married?

Who will teach us math now?

Ma’am, you won’t be there this year with us for our class photographs?

Ma’am, you will give us your email id?


And so on………….

Most of them were very curious to know if I am getting married. When they were told the real reason, some of them actually asked me how much more they have to study after leaving school to get a PhD. They were disheartened that I would be leaving before the Teachers’ Day. And so was I.

When I’d entered this school, I’d wondered how I would be able to remember the name of every student of my class. And now, I just have to take a look at their handwriting to know who they are. It was a strange period of adaptation for me when I would be treated as the junior most amongst the teachers and still the senior classes would treat me with all respect. On one hand I was pampered and kind of bullied (though it was great fun) and taken care of by the teachers. On the other hand it was weird to be wished by the kids, ranging from the boys at least half a foot taller than I am to the ones who barely reached my hips. I could probably end up writing a book about my experiences of the first job. And it is this very job that actually made me realize what is it that I really want to do in life.

Yet it is pointless to relive each and every memory and prolong the pain. Goodbye times are indeed painful times, all the more since I know things would never be the same again. If you have ever read Kabuliwallah by Tagore, you would know what I mean. Children learn to adapt fast to the changes in their surroundings. They get to forget people as quickly as they learn to love them. So even if I met them a few years down the line, I know I’d never find the same expression of joy on their faces again.

I am about to embark on a new journey of life, of working for a dream I have envisioned for long. Initially this job had meant to me nothing more than an opportunity to spend the next few months doing something useful instead of whiling away time. Yet now I am strangely engulfed with a strange feeling of sadness. These are the classrooms I’ll never walk into again. These are the corridors I’ll never take again. I’ll soon be expected to return the teachers’ copy of the text books. My personal cupboard would soon be empty. For a few more months, I’ll live in this school as some hundreds of signatures in the students’ copies. And then these copies would be replaced by new ones. And slowly things would get faint and I would be forgotten. Never again would I have to wait to take the 6-15 am bus. Nor would I need to conduct assemblies again. The various noises associated with a school, the kids running around, the bells ringing, would all be silenced soon. Never again would I have to sing the national anthem or say the pledge daily. Never again will I get a chance to sing “Happy birth day to you” in unison with the whole school. Never again would I be asked how old I am. Never again would a 2 and a half footer come running to me and say, “Ma’am, he is pushing”. Never again would I have to stay up at nights correcting answer scripts and laughing my guts out at the funny answers. I’ve already started feeling miserable.

Just give me the strength that I don’t end up crying on the 31st (which would be my last day here). I just don’t know what more to say.

sunshine.

17 comments:

Maverick said...

looks like due to restrictions imposed by indian gov. i am first... :D

I felt the same when I left my college but things move on and later on only memories remain which you cherish all your life

SH D said...

You just made me sad....But we need to move on right?

mintykulkarni said...

True Sunshine, first job is always unforgetable. I will rather say memorable. But life does not stop, so do we.
Best luck.

Ashok Kumar Bhardwaj (Udham Singh) said...

Though all of your posts are good! This one I would rate as The Best...

Sajith said...

adapt to changes and move ahead wid life... chersih it as it comes.. and these moments u will remember and be cherished for time to come...
very well written wid loads of emotions being reflected...

rachana said...

hi sunshine.. for past few posts you are talking about kids..I think you may like this..(innocent---)If you have time read..
http://www.pkblogs.com/rachanab/2006_03_01_rachanab_archive.html
good luck for ur future...

anu said...

just one word "superb" .

Inder said...

very true. things from past and present may not always accompany us in the future. but, as they say, life goes on. the memories will be with us forever. all the very best for your future :)

Scorpion King said...

Thanks to Gov of India I'm able to get the site .Big smile:))))))

"Children are so pure, you know. Whatever is in their hearts gets reflected on their faces"

Very true ....

Well Mad'm 1 more question will u keep on blogging even if u go to US?

Scorpion King

divya said...

this post is making feel sad and lost and nostalgic. i miss wearing my school uniform..and i miss those moments where i`d wish a teacher and wait for her to say 'good morning child'... u know what i think i`ll go visit my school this weekend.

Teens to Toons said...

Like I always said.. you had get over it.. Its a new place, exciting place...

Rose said...

I used to teach in an institution for the mentally retard.. I got reminded of my last day there.. The children and the instituion had been so much a part of me that it was difficult to tear myself away from them.. But i had places to go to and things to do..

I too hope u find the strength to have a grip on ur emotions atleast in front of the students on ur last day.. I hope u flourish in the places u go to and the things you do..

:)

..Me

Adarsh said...

u always make me feel i-don't-know-what
I imagine myself going through the same emotions as urs in recent times..with the corresponding changes in time and space....
All the best.... u'll be 'flying' soon

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe said...

awesome!!

I could see you standing in front of the kids and making that statement and I could feel what you felt.

It is posts like this that make you unique. They are really touching and remains in mind for sometime.

joe/

Roy said...

Hi...

Thanx to ur blog which let me remember again that how we ppl forget with the speed of time[kabliwala]
change is so innevitable nyah?!?
do u know what d best thing in ur writing?!?
the uncanny ability to add humor..

nice to land here..
Roy

Strider said...

Hi,
This reminded me of the time when one of my teachers left school.Now it seems like I know how she felt..

Thank you