Crisp cotton saree, small golden studs, glasses
28-years old, a mom of 2
I sat in a small room
Waiting for my first student
We straightened up as my toddler cried,
“Someone’s here, someone’s here”
Then a stray dog walked in through the gate!
And we laughed
Prayers, books and slides
English, Tamil, Math and Science
Cooking and tuitions, laundry and uniforms
Drawing water, hoisting flags and teaching songs
Time has passed by in a blur
Hard work and no sleep always by my side.
I had always had high ambitions,
A government employee or a reputed intellectual
But it wasn’t meant to be
I had yearned to be all that and more
So what if I was a girl
My dad & husband were with me too.
Now when I go, at every turn
I wonder what have I done all these years
Have I done justice to my dreams?
My abilities and my ideals?
Aches and pains, toil and sweat
Is all I remember.
Just then someone breaks my reverie
It’s the bank manager wishing me well
I remember him just like it was yesterday
The little boy with his mom in rags,
who had followed the dog in,
Struggling to pay the fees at every term
I had kept him on because he studied well
I know many a story like his to tell
Of a girl or boy who came to learn
That’s what my life is about
An education for all.
This post is inspired by my mother-in-law, Mrs. Revathi Ramesh, who is running a primary school in Coimbatore called Sri Vidya Mandir for more than 31 years, which caters to predominantly the not so affluent population. I was going to go with Malala for this post till I realized there was a more real example so close to my home. Keep going Amma!