Thank you Teachers

Image5th September is celebrated as Teacher’s day in India. The first memory that comes to me on Sept 5 is of the Teacher’s day 13 years ago, when I was in 12th standard. In our school Teacher’s day was celebrated every year in a special way. The 12th grade students played the role of teachers for that one day. Each student will play one teacher and he/she would teach the subject and class of the respective teacher. At the end of the day there would be a function honoring the teachers and the student who took the role of a particular teacher would give that teacher a red rose. This happened every year and when we reached 12th standard, all my classmates were very excited about it. Girls have to wear sari, it was the first time most of us would be wearing a sari, so excitement was more among the girls.  By mid August our class monitor gave the list of students with the Teacher’s name each student wanted to become that one day, to the class teacher. Best of Mom’s saris were selected, blouses altered and who will wear what was the only talk those days. But later the excitement gave way to anxiety when even on 3rd September we did not get the final student-teacher list from our Teacher. Finally on 4th we were told that, that year our school would not be celebrating teacher’s day. The Teachers decided to not celebrate to protest against some policies and to demand action on some issues . We were heartbroken. On 5th September that year we went to school as usual in our uniforms. But we all were upset and decided to boycott the classes. All the students stood on the corridor refusing to enter the class. Teachers tried to convince us to enter, but we did not budge. They explained to us why they were protesting. All this while I was not feeling that we were doing the right thing. I thought we were being selfish. In our excitement to dress up as Teachers and the disappointment to be stopped in the last minute, we forgot that teacher’s day was to honour teachers. So by boycotting the class and disputing their decision, we were actually dishonoring them. It is their day not ours. It is the day we should show them our respect and gratitude. I convinced my friends that it was a bad idea to oppose teachers on teacher’s day instead of Thanking them. One by one my classmates understood my logic and went back to class and apologized to the teachers. But the students in the other section got irritated, they too had to go back to class but many of them were angry with me for days for ditching them in their protest. I was seen as a traitor by them. But I felt I was right and even now when I think of it I feel I was right. What do you think ?

So on this Teacher’s Day, let me pay a tribute to Seven of my favourite teachers.

1. Kunhikannan sir – he was my science teacher in the 7th & 8th std. He was everyone’s favourite. His teaching style was like that of Ram Shankar Nikumbh’s (Aamir Khan )teaching style in Taare Zamen Par. He would not read out from texts or dictate notes but made learning science fun through day to day examples and funny anecdotes. If we hear a whole class laughing, we knew Kunhikannan sir was taking the class. He never scolded or punished any student, of course there was no need to, because even the worst student found his class interesting and everyone scored above 90 in his class. He is a good singer too and often sang songs on student’s requests.teacher

2. Bhargavi mam- she taught me English in 7th and 8th std. She was the one who brought me out of my shell and made me participate in recitation, debate and group dance competitions. Coincidentally she was my house master too for 5 yrs.  She always gave me that extra push that I required to participated in all extra curricular activities. She believed in me.

3. Babootty sir. he was my Maths teacher in 9th and 10th std. While I was okay in Mathematics till 7th grade, a particular Ms. S, my Maths teacher in 8th std, made maths a nightmare for me. I started failing class tests in maths and in final exams just passed with 35% marks. But in 9th std, Mr.Babootty made me love maths again. The way he taught made all the complicated problems very simple. I scored above 80% in maths in 9th and 10th std, all thanks to him.

4. George sir- my English teacher- in 9th and 10th standard. He made learning English fun with role paly and other activities. He too encouraged me to participate in essay writing and elocution competitions.

5. Sushma mam- my English teacher in 11th and 12th std.  Every student in school was afraid of her. She had the reputation to be the strictest teacher in school. When we reached 11th std all were scared to be in her class. But I found her to be sweet 🙂 Yes she very strict but only with those who misbehaved in class. I admired her way of teaching and for some time I wanted to be a teacher to be like her. I had written her name as the teacher I wanted to play on teacher’s day celebration 🙂 She made me act in a play for the first time ( and that was the last time too ) in my life, for the school annual day. The title of the play was “The pie and the tart”  🙂

6. Bindu mam- my Biology teacher in 9th,10th,11th & 12th. I loved her for her sweet personality. Me and my friends used to bring specimens of plants belonging to the specific plant kingdom that was taught in the class to impress her. Why we did not think to do the same when animal kingdom was taught is something that puzzles me now 🙂

7. Beena mam- Economics was not my cup of tea. But Beena mam made Business Economics class interesting during my MBA. She engaged the class in active discussions and made us up to date with the economic scenarios. Her class was very interactive.

Thanks to you all my dear teachers, for the knowledge, support and guidance you have given me and the trust you had in me.

You might have noticed most of my favourite teachers are English teachers. Was it my love for English that made me love these teachers or these teachers who made me love English is something I have yet to figure out 🙂

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st-7th September 2013.

Vishu in Dubai

This year our Vishu celebration wasn’t that great. What is celebrations without family and friends ? As Vishu was on Sunday ( a working day here, in Dubai ) we were in office on Vishu 😦

Anyways, we arranged a vishukani with available items, Babs wasn’t much thrilled to be shown the Kani as soon as he got up. But as soon as we gave him one Dirham coin as Kaineettam, a glow came on his face. Then he was happy to see the Kani and had something to blabber about the items kept for Kani 🙂 I was reminded how Kaineettam was the best thing about Vishu for all of  us as kids. Didn’t know this love for pocket money would start at the age of 16 months 🙂

I came home a little early from office and prepared a small Vishu Sadhya for dinner . The sadhya was spread on a plaintain leaf and surprisingly Babs enjoyed his first Vishu Sadhya ( last Vishu he was just about 5 months old ). Not only did he have stomach full from his plate (plaintain leaf), he wanted a second helping when I sat down to eat.  So that leaves a happy baby and a happy mummy and of course a happy daddy 🙂


PS : As I was posting this, I felt the tremor of the Earthquake. This is the first ever time I actually felt the Earth quake.

Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

Continuation of Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

We met Patti Amma. This time our antennas were up. We tried our best to get to know her well. We were convinced enough to try. The location was an issue. Her flat was little off the route and 15-20 minutes walking distance from our Villa. I convinced my cab drivers to help me, but on the evenings when they have tight schedule, I would be dropped only till the Baby sitter’s place. I and my husband decided to meet at the place, pick him and walk to our Villa, on those evenings. Anything was fine as long as Babs was in safe hands.
babysitting-kangaroo-animals-birds-pelican-3093First week, he cried when I left and when I went to pick him. But I felt he was comfortable with her. By the second week he stopped crying, though he looked sad and was reluctant to let me off. I could see the change in him. He had connected with her. He was of course not happy to leave me but yet was not unhappy with her.
Opposed to the first Baby sitter’s view, Patti Amma told me that Babs was an easy child, any baby sitter’s dream child. He stopped crying as soon as I was out of view. When he wanted, he ate and drank without any fuss. He happily let her bathe him and groom him. He befriended other kids there easily but was shy and scared of outsiders. He would cling to Patti Amma on seeing any outsider. I was happy to see how he became everyone’s favourite at her house. On evenings when I went to pick him, I could see through the door left ajar, Babs sitting in Patti Amma’s lap and Patti Amma singing a Tamil Rhyme, Babs making sounds in tune with her and tapping his little fingers on her cheeks.
We were happy and relieved.
Patti Amma was planning to go on a vacation in December. Other kid’s parents were also fine with the vacation schedule. I too applied for leave and the request was accepted. But then we got a blow, when my husband’s leave application was rejected as his colleague was going on vacation at the same time.
Now we had to look for a new Baby sitter. We were really worried how it would affect our baby, to be left with a new person again.
Luckily for us, there was this couple who had moved to our villa in November. Their son was doing graduation in Kerala, the husband was working and the lady, S was a homemaker. Being in the same villa, we met her often in the evenings and between conversations came to know that she had Baby-sat a 3 months old kid till he was 3 yrs old. She had also expressed interest to baby- sit as she was idle at home and felt lonely. She is a sweet and cheerful lady. Babs was also familiar with her. So we requested her to baby sit him for 3 weeks and she happily agreed. Surprisingly Babs connected with her very fast. He cried only the first 2 days and from the third day he happily went to her arms. He seemed to very happy with her.
Then we went for the month long vacation . After coming back we were in a Dilemma. Both Patti Amma and S were good and loved our baby. Finally we decided to send him to S, because he seemed happy with her and being in the same villa and seeing familiar kids and people around, he never felt he was in strange place or away from home. We wouldn’t have the transportation issue also. There was no bus to Patti Amma’s place from my office and also from her place to our Villa. Getting a taxi to her place was easy but from her place to our villa was difficult. Where as there was a direct bus from near  my company to our villa. So I need not worry about dropping and picking up my baby even on days when I don’t get my company cab.

But our woes didn’t end there. On the fourth day after Babs was back  with S, S had to rush to Kerala as her mother had fallen and in the ICU. For 3 days, my BIL who was staying with us, did the Baby sitting job. Despite being a bachelor in his twenties and no experience with small kids, he did a great job. But then the sad news of S’s mother’s demise came. S would be back only after a week. BIL had come here on Visit visa, for job search and he had to attend interviews.
So once again I sought Patti Amma’s help. She was happy to care for Babs for one week. Babs hadn’t seen her for nearly two months now and so he again took time to connect with her. For me and Raj too it was a tiring week because that whole week I did not get transportation from my company, as the cabs were busy with deliveries at project sites.

After a week S came back and from then on she is baby sitting my son again.
Curious to know how he is doing ?416-daycare-cartoons

– as mentioned in the first post  , he is eager to reach there in the morning.
– in the evening he is excited to see me but not in a hurry to leave.
– one night, he spilled water on his night dress and when I removed his dress and was fetching another dress for him, he snatched a dress from the cupboard and in his language asked me to dress him up. He gave the socks to his dad and showed his foot indicating he wanted to wear it. Then he slid down from my arms and took his bag in the table and said ta-ta hurriedly to dad and pulled me, pointing towards the door. From his actions, it was clear that he thought it was morning already and was eager to go to his Aunty’s place.
– one night we were just having a walk outside the room. S also was there and he went to S arms and then he was not coming back to me at all, instead he was asking S to take him to her room.
Then S said ” go to your amma dear, its night, your sleeping time, I am only your vallarthamma, I can’t keep you with me at night, she is your pettamma who will be there with you always.”

Am I upset that my baby is happy to be with his Baby sitter ? No definitely not . I am happy and relieved, because now he is not just with a baby sitter but with another Amma, who loves and cares for him . Am just praying that the bliss continues.

PS : Vallarthamma – Foster mother. Pettamma – Biological Mother

What kept me from leaving home !!

Once when I was around 10 yrs old and my dee 12 yrs, my Amma was doing the routine combing to remove the head lices / jua (they are now extinct or endangered species I suppose, haven’t seen even one lice for a long long time now) which flourished and nourished on my long thick black lustrous hair I had then (and now I have something black on my head in the name of hair 😦 ).

ImageI hated this (Indian mother’s favourite pastime) sooo much. Just the sight of the comb used to make me a rebel. All my pleas to leave my hair alone fell into deaf ears. Finally I had enough and I decided to leave home for good. I escaped my Amma’s hold, declared my intention to leave home.

My dee, who was bathing, was hearing the commotion outside. She rushed out of the bathroom with water dripping from her hair and body, wetting the frock she wore. She ran behind me and pulled my arms.

“Please don’t leave, please “

“I have to. I can’t stay in this house. Amma doesn’t like me”

“Then I will also come with you. Please wait for 5 minutes.”

“No am going. I can’t stay here for another minute.”

“Don’t go alone. I will come with you. Please wait for 5 minutes. I will join you.”

“If you want to come with me, come now. I can’t stay here for another minute”

“Please wait for 2 minutes at least. I will come with you. Please.. please..”

I thought, may be she was not stupid like me, wanted to pack some clothes. After all she used to scare Ammamma (granny) often by packing her 2 favourite dresses in a polythene bag and declaring that she would leave home and come to us. (Me and Bro were with parents in Hyderabad till I was nearly 9 yrs old and my dee was left with our Ammamma in Kannur )


“Ok.. I will wait for you at the konipadi (steps at the gate as in picture). But why do you want 2 minutes ?”

“I rushed out of the bathroom hearing that you were leaving. I could just pull on my frock in a hurry but did not wear chaddi (underwear). How can I leave home with you without wearing chaddi ?”

She ran towards the bathroom.


I stood there unable to react. My dee came back running in 2 minutes. I looked at my Amma who was enjoying the whole drama.

My whole anger had vanished but just to teach smiling Amma a lesson, we did not go back home immediately. We both sat at the konipadi till our hunger forced us to return home when Amma called us for tea. We had tea as if nothing had happened.

So what kept me from leaving home that day ? My dee or her Chaddi ?

PS: I wanted to post this on 9th Dec (her birthday). But last two weeks were too hectic at office and awful at home with Babs falling sick.

PPS: Sorry Dee.. I know you would want to burn all my chaddis and leave me chaddiless  for posting your chaddi story.

1991 : A Diwali Story

Year : 1991, A Diwali day , 10.00 am at CRPF Residence Quarters, Hyderabad

I want to see the fire.. please didi light some crackers” , 6 yrs old Su said.
No, not now. In the night. Diwali crackers are to be lighted in the night” 8 yrs old Didi answered.
Please didi, just one.. please
No. not now, let Amma & Papa come back
Please didi, I want to see the fire, please light one kambithiri (sparkle stick)
She dragged a stool towards the stand on the wall where God’s idol was kept. She climbed on the stool and took the match box kept next to the Vilakku (lamp). Su took 1 sparkle stick out of the box under the table. She took a piece of newspaper and both moved towards the living room window.
I will light the newspaper, and hold it outside the window, you can light the stick from the fire in the newspaper and hold it outside the window.
Su gleefully “haan haa
She kept the newspaper on the window sill and lighted it. And then the most unexpected thing happened. The wind blew the burning paper into the room and it fell on the cotton cloth which covered the sewing machine next to the window. It caught fire.
Su was scared and started crying. She immediately pulled the burning cloth down, but by then the sewing machine bar had caught fire. She ran to the bathroom and dragged a bucket of water to the room and poured cups of water on the burning cloth and sewing machine. The fire was put out. Next she took a broom and cleaned off the charred cloth and ash water from the room. Then she noticed a burnt hole in her pink frock. She immediately changed the frock, hid it behind the iron trunk in the bedroom.
Then she took her frightened little brother with her, locked the flat (in the 1st floor) from outside, climbed down the stairs and sat at end of the stair case waiting for her parents to come back.
She had cleaned and hid the frock, so that her parents don’t come to know about the fire. But when the parents were back, she just broke into tears.
Amma worried, “What happened, why are you here and not in the room? I asked you both to stay inside till we come”.
Sob. “go up and see
What ? What happened
Sob.  “go up and see
Amma grabbed Su and Papa grabbed her and rushed upstairs.
On entering the flat, they didn’t find anything odd. Then they got a faint burnt smell.  Amma ran to kitchen. But there was nothing on the stove and everything was as she had left. They both looked at her quizzically.
What happened ?”
She pointed toward the sewing machine. Papa inspected the sewing machine and found the burn marks on the wooden platform, burnt and broken sewing bar. She broke into tears again and narrated the whole incident.
Papa looked at the crackers kept below the table. They were intact, except for one sparkle stick on the floor near the window.
Amma “ Thank God. The crackers didn’t catch fire. How could you both be so naughty? I just left you for few minutes and this is what you have done?…………
Papa inspected them for burns. After making sure they both were fine, he took the broken bar, pulled both the kids to the bedroom. Tied them to the leg of the bed and said “Stay there till I come back from the duty. No more play, No crackers, No Diwali for you
Amma, ofcourse untied them after some time, fed them but did not allow them to move out of the room. By evening papa came back. He did not talk to them. They had a silent dinner. Outside the room crackers were bursting, children were shouting; inside, there was dead silence. The children went to bed sobbing.
Then they heard Papa’s voice.“So you are sleeping without burning crackers on Diwali? and who will eat the Diwali sweets I have brought ?” The children jumped out of the bed. The whole family went to the verandah, burnt crackers with Papa’s supervision, enjoyed sweets and happily celebrated Diwali. Next day Amma & Papa explained to them their mistakes and about the danger their action would have caused. And also praised the girl for her presence of mind and appreciated the way she managed the situation.
Things I don’t remember now about the incident : Where did Amma & Papa go ?
And what was my brother doing all the time I was putting out the fire and cleaning the floor.