I am a blessed soul.
Why do I say so?
Time and again, somehow, amazing human beings have entered my life and altered the thought process, thus, impacting the life course in numerous ways. This September, I plan to pen my gratitude to the four teachers who have shaped my destiny as it is today. I begin with my English teacher Mrs. Usha Jain at O.L.F. Convent School.
I joined OLF in class six. It was the fourth school in my life terrain and in fact the only school where I have studied for more than two years. I had always been a good student however, was never among toppers. I think my friends will agree I was shy and reserve in class but quite chirpy at home and among close friends. OLF not only gave me friends for life but amazing teachers who strengthened my wings and shaped my personality in unimaginable ways. One of them was Mrs. Usha Jain.
Usha ma’am taught us English. I am still not able to recall the class. She was a simple soul. A simpler demeanor with innocent eyes and a kind heart. I remember, she was the one to introduce me to Reader’s Digest, my constant companion during growing up years. Every time she explained a chapter in class, I was teleported into the story and my trance broke only when the bell rang. She often suggested list of books mostly classics to be read. I noted each one of them. And at the next book fair (my favorite annual activity) I would be searching for them with my dad.
Once, she called me to the staff room. She had my exam answer sheet in hand. We were supposed to write a letter to a friend describing our holiday trip. I had written about Amarnath Yatra. She asked me, “That’s a unique choice for a thirteen-year-old. Have you been to Amarnath or anyone you know has been there?” I responded negatively. She quizzed me again, “How come you were able to write in such detail?” I told her that I had read a little bit in the newspaper and the rest I imagined. She smiled. All she said was, “Write more, you have vivid imagination.” Her words have stayed with me.
In every school I have attended, I was part of two activities: Music and Oration. At OLF, Usha ma’am was the one to push me into oration. Be it Daniel Sir’s retirement speech or compering or declamation, she was the one who heard me multiple times, correcting my every intonation.
Today, it pains my heart, that I never told her what she meant to me. I don’t even have a picture of her (somehow managed to find this one). I owe her so much and yet as an ungrateful child, I never went back and looked for her. Even today, when I pick a new book, I fondly remember she was the teacher who aroused my interest in literature and fanned my flame, nurtured me as a mother, and like a silent spectator watched me grow. Some souls are meant to be our guardian angels. Usha ma’am was my fairy Godmother, my lovely English teacher.
Photo Courtesy: 25 year school reunion – OLF reunion 1996 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJgWEbP_mXk