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Mom, I’m (home) at your school!

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An old isolated signboard has always caught my attention while coming to visit my home at the weekend. The signboard read: ESTD 1890. It was my mom’s school. I’m proud to be a beginner of that primary school. It is like my home. Ever since I stepped foot as a one-year toddler, I stood behind my mom’s chair. She said I used to sit in the class and I completed (Ka and Kha) two classes from mother’s chair as my first teacher too.

I have more childhood memories than the years gone by. There was a big hall accompanying all five classes under one roof.  We sat on the floor where desks, fans and lamps were luxury items then. But everything went without a hitch and we screamed with laughter. The two teachers had a tough time controlling the children’s noise. While I looked out through the windshield, the evening twilight has brightened our primary school. I lazily saw around the pleasant meadow and walked sleepily over the stems and spikes of small wild-pollinated flowers that spread over predominantly. The air is still filled with my early childhood days. The vegetation are acquainted with me and seemed greatly cheered on my arrival.

One of my earliest memories is of sitting under the mango tree. Memorising the multiplication table under its shade from sunlight was lot of fun where we made friendship that last a life time. Stones and sticks were thrown fiercely to branches aiming at the mangoes. They weren’t 17th century “aha moment” from falling apple whilst Isaac Newton discovered the Law of Gravity; we discovered the joy of falling mangoes from the tall perennial woody plant. It was like an elevated crown under the sun and rain.  All of these things make me love my time at my mom’s school. The more we shouted numbers, the more our teachers were happy. Actually we’re interested anything other than eating fleshy, yellowish, juicy mangoes. Probably we had teachers that wanted to see us playing while learning and wanted to retain the smiles of ours.

Being a teacher’s kid had an impact on my upbringing when I was younger. As a child of a teacher, my memories are full of discipline from the classroom until bed at night. It undeniably molded me into the person I am today. “You’re Mrs. Baruah’s son, aren’t you?” I had been enquired hundreds of times over the years. Those eyes were always watching my movement in my tender age. At the same time it helped me grow up into a total personality. The influence of mother over her children will always be strong and my mom knows everything better as a mother cum teacher. While lying over the letter (Your son is mentally deficient. We cannot let him attend our school anymore. He is expelled) Thomas A. Edison’s mother turned him into the genius of the century with few positive words of encouragement  (Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have good enough teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself)

With this Teachers’ day celebration on the birthday of India’s second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan., I have a profound feeling of respect for those teachers who shapes our world. Even Prophet Muhammad introduced himself as a teacher. Throughout his life, he proved that he knew the things he is preaching. But life’s not always rainbows and butterflies to our small little world. While returning, those moments have suddenly got shattered. Their silence didn’t escape my notice. Soon I came to know that mom’s primary closed down due to low enrolment, where parents doesn’t want to send their children anymore. People are rejecting vernacular medium of study for English-medium schools. Our school was founded during the princely state while Lansdowne was Governor General of India. Such was the history. Today my mother is no more for she took teaching as a noble cause for our primary. Teachers are respected and eulogized. The respect they command from society due to the nobility of their profession.

However, every school has a memory for students that made their basic foundation for life. The advancement of science has probably made today’s scenery and competition makes it worse. The US President Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher was the best example of being a concerned parent. “My son starts school today. It’s all going to be strange and new to him for a while……teachers but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.” As many years have passed, I’m still proud of my primary education. Could we able to re-open my school after NEP implementation? The great education thinker Dr Kalam believes that school teachers have tremendous responsibility in shaping the life of an individual. “The seeds sown in childhood blossom into the tree of life”. While driving down the street, I keep thinking back to my school. Mom, I’m back!




Kamal Baruah

The writer is a Soldier, Banker and Columnist to North East Newspapers and Magazines

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