There are many that come and go in every child’s school life, but only a few stay with you. They make an impression surely; some small, some big; nonetheless enough to make you feel nostalgic.
So here I go another 47 years back, may be.
I was in grade 4 in SBOA (State Bank Officers’ Association) school in State Bank Colony, Madurai.
It appears as if I went straight to grade 4 from my cradle!! As I don’t have any recollection of my previous years of study, I think I can assume so😆😆.
Now, Iam in grade 4.
My grade 4 teacher was Mrs.Soft- that is what I will call her for lack of my memory. I am unable to recollect her name. (I am never good with names.)
It is just the name that I forgot. When I say like this, I sound callous. I am sorry. I draw a blank when it comes to her name, but the rest, her entire personality, I am able to summon up.
An elderly lady, draped in saree and graying thin hair, neatly combed and held in a bun. She had such soft and smooth skin that I wanted to be near her always.
Those days we did not dare to get too close to a teacher, yet we had our few moments. When we finished our maths sums and took the notebook to her for getting it marked, her proximity was a pleasure.
That was the closest we got. I clearly call upon to my mind the silky finish of the saree flowing around her (polyester)and the faintly perfumed,pleasant smell of the talcum powder she used. I stood close and let my eyes roam on her self, rather than looking into the notebook and my work.
She had two of her front top teeth jutting out, which added an element of harshness. That was only visual, I don’t remember her angry at all.
Her forehead would at times crease out of concern; sometimes out of exasperation due to unruly kids in the class, but never out of anger.
I would secretly wait for her to gently push me back into my place on the bench, when she came around the small classroom to check our homework; even during assembly when she checked our standing position to make it a straight line.
I liked her touch. It made me feel safe and special. I may not have associated these feelings with her touch then, but surely felt happy.
As I look back, my mind is able to evoke her pose;the way she sat in the first row during class picture. Her head was held high in pride whenever she was seen with her entire class, and she always made sure that each one of us were presented neatly.
I yearned to sit next to her;unfortunately being slightly taller than the rest, I was teamed with the tall students to take the last row in the back,on top of our class bench. Still I hovered around her until she arranged all the tall ones on that bench.
I also remember travelling in a bus to Pasumalai, a small hill for a day’s picnic to our headmistress’ house. The trip was the most memorable and enjoyable one as I somehow managed to sit next to my teacher. We did not talk much;even if we did, I am unable to cite any. But what still remains with me is the feeling-a deep sense of joy.
Our headmistress’ home (pathetic-I do not remember her name too🤔) was set atop the small hill-pasumalai and I recollect the delicious piece of cake she served us before we left for home. On the return journey, did I sit next to my class teacher? No idea at all. I think, I dozed off. No image comes to my mind. But these moments from the deep recesses of my mind, bring an immediate association with my grade 4 class teacher-Mrs. Soft.
That might be all in my memory store house regarding this grade 4 teacher Mrs.Soft, but nonetheless it left a lasting impression. Secretly I wish to be like her.
As a teacher am I envisioned as someone who is soft, made to feel safe around? I do not know,but sure wish to be so.
Good teachers make good humans.😊😊😊