This prompt for Day 2 of The SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge  got me thinking, Mi. I am recalling all my “back to school” years.

I don’t really remember my first day at school at Little Flower Primary School where studied from Grade 1 to 4. I smile to think that Kumud teacher taught you as a fourth grader, and me, too. Talk about a full circle!  Then there was that year in Madras at Valliammal. I wasn’t excited about that one, I can tell you. I freaked out over having to constantly talk in Tamizh all the time, but as the year progressed, it wasn’t so bad. My classmates, especially the boys were alright! A couple of girls were quite snooty but before I knew it the year was up and I was whisked off to Mount Mary’s in Mumbai.

That one was crazy. Like a typical 6th grader, I thought you didn’t want me because I had to stay at the hostel. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stay with Paati who was also in Mumbai. I felt so betrayed. I doubted your love, and Gopumama’s love. They were kind to me when they visited me during the weekends, but you know, it was so tough to get over my inner turmoil and come to terms with having to stay there, in my mind, alone. Yeah right, with a hundred other girls.

Reflecting back, however, it is amusing. I remember how, on my first day there – I was dropped there in the afternoon just before lunchtime. I was already miserable at the thought of saying goodbye to Gopumama. As if to add insult to injury, they served brinjal for lunch. It seemed like the last straw. I smile to think of Joanna, the high school girl who was in charge of looking after the little ones. She was sweet to me. Then Sister Marita beckoned me over and drew me into her lap and gave me a chocolate. I was so undersized, she assumed I was a kindergartener. After chatting with me for a while, she gently asked me which class I was in, and when I said “6th” she hurriedly disengaged herself from me and encouraged me to go check out the dormitory and the place where we kept our trunks. So hilarious.

Later, she and I became good friends and she was always amused at my nonstop chatter. As the days went by, I adjusted, naturally. I fondly remember Connie, Itu, Michelle, Sunita, Dolly, Penny and Chandrika. I remember Mrs.Ghai. Sister Theresa, who kept in touch for years after I left that school. I remember Kumud teacher’s love. Above all, I remember coming back home for good!

This back to school memory, in a way, is more significant than any other, Mi, even though I went to two other schools after this! The experience changed my life, my attitude, my perspective. I like to think it made me street smart and more independent. Most of all, it made me comfortable with myself. I was happy, even content to spend hours with myself, my thoughts.

Looking back, I know you did the right thing and I am grateful, Mi.