mom of all trades

mom of all trades

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our beacon light

“St Josephs be our beacon light, in this wild and tempestuous night..
Be our radiant, guiding star o’er life’s troubled seas, till dawns eternity”

Some songs are so much a part of you, that the lyrics and the  melody  come to you magically, even though the last time you sung it maybe  a couple of decades ago; standing in  that expansive school ground, hemmed in on all sides by beautifully preserved school buildings, which are more than a 150 years old.  It’s the morning assembly time, when the scorching sun coats everything in your line of vision, in a hazy white layer, like looking through a curtain of ivory, gossamer thin mulmul or muslin.  The assembly always ends with the school pledge and the dramatic swooning of some students who cannot stand the heat and the subsequent scramble to whisk them away to the ‘sick room’. The girls file into the class rooms, smartly dressed in their navy blue pinafore, which falls exactly two inches below the knee.

There is something about school teachers that makes you gush like a school girl, even as you introduce your school going child to her. You remember the teachers along with their little quirks, the lessons they taught you, which ironically have little to do with academics and most importantly the quiet, unobtrusive way they helped you evolve from wide eyed, giggly girls to young ladies; ready to deal with real world outside the school.

The class rooms are bright and airy with high ceilings, exuding an old world charm, with wooden desks that have been used by generations of girls before you; the carved inscriptions giving you a glimpse into their school days. The class rooms open out into wide parapets, where you spend many a recess hour, sharing tasty morsels of lunch with your friends, while doling out delicious bits of school girl gossip or spread out your books, trying to coax your brain to cram in as much information as possible, before an exam. The first floor class rooms open out to wooden planked corridors that creak every time you run though it and makes you stop for second to ensure that it has not crumbled under your weight.

The chapel is like an oasis of calm in the frenzy of activity that marks a typical school day .It is cool and dark with an arched doorway and marble flooring which feels cold, even through your stockinged feet. You sit on the polished wooden pew, letting the scent of incense, the soothing soft murmur of a nun deep in prayer, her wooden rosary keeping count and the intermittent toll of the chapel bell lull you into a state of tranquility.

Outside the chapel, the school ground is abuzz with the hustle and bustle of lunch break. You come across a group of girls, deep into a game of lock and key or basket ball, someone trips and scrapes her knee and is taken to the office room, where the staff in charge brings out the large first aid box and dabs the wound with a smear of tincture of iodine, its startling purple shade covering up the wound. In the distance, you can hear the strains of the trumpets and the steady beat of the drums as the school band does its practice sessions. Sports day is fast approaching and the two opposing teams red house and blue house, recognizable with the red and blue badges practice hard to beat each other in an eternal battle for supremacy.

The screeching sound of the electric bell   as it slices through the quiet afternoon signifies the end of another long school day, filled with laughter, learning and friends. You pack your bags and say your goodbyes, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow you can do it all over again.

“Education is the movement from darkness to light”- Alan Bloom

Thank you St Josephs,  for being our  beacon light.

All photographs taken by the talented Saina Jayapal.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Take a little time – a note to my son from my 11 year old self

Dear Kanna,
If you can stretch your imagination far enough to a time, when you were a figment of imagination yourself, you can see her sitting crossed leg on the floor. She is wearing a blue frock, the color of the summer sky seen through wisps of tattered clouds. She is 11 years old, scrawny with untidy hair covering her forehead and a mischievous glint in her eyes, just like you. She looks up and smiles at you and her smile seems strangely familiar and comforting, like a beautiful melody sung in a foreign tongue.

As your 11th birthday inches closer, she wants to assure you that 11 is a wonderful age to be, an age where childhood is still friends with budding boyhood.
She wishes that you would take a little time, to savor this year and not be in a hurry to be a ‘big boy’, as these moments drenched in the sunshine of innocence, will leave everlasting memories when you are a ‘big boy’. Take a little time this year, to be comfortable in your own skin. As Dr Seuss quoted” “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”. Good things happen when you don’t pretend to be what you are not.

She hopes as you sit side by side on the moss covered wall, brown legs swinging to and fro like an orchestrated performance, that you will take a little time to laugh, love and live rather than exist.
Take a little time to tell your loved ones what they mean to you, and realize that what you see in their eyes is perhaps the closest you will come to magic.

She prays, as she watches a tiny dimple jump down your cheek in response to a joke she cracked, that you will take a little time to cement in the cracks of failure and disappointment not with guilt or fear but perseverance and love, with some tears to soften the rough edges.

She whispers, as you tearfully bid her good bye that she wants you to take a little time to remember that the magic is within you.