Every man needs a lady friend. That lady friend may be a mother, sister, wife, soul mate, colleague, anyone. But then, even a lady needs a lady friend. And over a period of time, it is this need that many a time, propels a woman to rediscover herself beyond her responsibilities as a mother, a wife, a home maker or even a working woman. A time out is all she needs to realize that special friends are more often than not, sought in her own kind.
It has been exactly 7 months and a week since I joined in a nearby school (in my hometown) as a teacher. Although it took me and my subordinates a tad more time to know each other (considering I am a late bloomer in fostering friendships), I have been one blessed soul to have known such a wonderful team who are uber talented in their own ways. And after all this time, on an impulse we decided to meet at a restaurant to have lunch together. Although the initial plan was to binge on pani-puris, it quickly changed to the idea of indulging in a hearty luncheon. All were game to it, until one of us had to go back home for her 2 year old. Considering we had already reached the venue and it was too late to cancel out the plan, we decided to lunch. Also, we decided that the pani puri plan shall happen when all of us are present. The luncheon was a delight! And, there was so much more to share over grilled vegetables on a seekh, roasted potatoes, pappad, soup, rotis, sabzi, dal fry, jeera rice and ice creams! Yes, we lunched for two hours and more, not knowing where all the time flew. But it was fun all the way, getting together for such an awesome time. That said, I would love to introduce you all to these lovely ladies who make this group called the Sweetest Six!
Shilpa ma’am – She is the senior most among us and is the pre-primary wing coordinator besides being the class teacher of Senior KG – A. With a good height and a broad structure, she is our matron of sorts. Having developed the syllabus and the entire time plan for the preschoolers, this lady commands a deep respect in all of us. Not to mention, even the XI and XII graders who leave no stone unturned in troubling their own teachers, turn into docile lambs and stand up instantly, as she walks by. For preschoolers, she is the Goddess of discipline. For parents with complaints such as – “My child does not eat at home!” or “Ma’am, My child watches a lot of TV. Can you do something about it?”, Shilpa Maam is the one stop solution to getting the unruly children on track. Under her watchful eye, no indiscipline goes unpunished and no best behavior goes unrewarded. Although having studied and graduated from Gujarati Medium, her English is quite good as one can barely make out any difference. Only after she mentioned casually over a tea break, I came to know about it and, was very pleasantly surprised. She is extremely good at multi-tasking and managing multiple responsibilities. Usually in a school, you always end up with a management that forces you to abide by a certain norm that often sidelines your growth. In short, a pattern is already decided and you cannot deviate. Period. However, with Shilpa Ma’am, it is different. She enjoys brain storming sessions with us and, loves to implement new ideas notwithstanding where it comes from. And it is this quality in her that I truly admire – humility. Which is why, she never ever has to demand respect, she just commands it! And, did I say that this woman has the most twinkling eyes I have every seen?
Rupali Maam: She is our second senior most teacher in the pre-primary wing after Shilpa Ma’am. If I have to describe her in one word, it would be – feline! But, a gorgeously beautiful feline! With her grayish blue eyes, a fair complexion and a queen like gait, she is exactly what preschoolers imagine their teacher to be. The first thing she does in the morning after coming, she goes and sits in her class only to be surrounded by her 22 monkeys with whom she has her chit chat session. The half an hour before the assembly begins, is her ‘alone time’ with her tots with whom, she too shares her interesting anecdotes. And, that said she is the best story narrator I have ever come across. In fact, when she narrates stories in the assembly (yes, story telling is a part and parcel of our assembly everyday), there is a pin drop silence. Even us teachers and the helpers listen to her in rapt attention. Children need no disciplining in that period. One of her famous story recitals is – “Ek lomdi bhuki pyasi….chali dhoondne khana….” I can never tell if it is her tone or her voice or her style of narrating, but whatever it is, it wants us all to keep listening to her. And yet, behind those laughing eyes and sweet smile, there lies a strong lady who handles her home and work life with aplomb. She always reminds us all – “A lady has to go out and work. It is not for the money part alone, but for her own need to connect with like minded women and grow. She should not be chained by house hold chores as they can totally eat a woman’s life and soul!” True that, Ma’am!
Kinjal Maam: The youngest among us, this woman is every child’s delight! The aura of comfort she exudes with her warm smile and doe shaped eyes, makes her the children’s favourite. Strict when teaching and a friend when not, she is my son’s best friend (so he says!) Humble and mature, Kinjal Maam is a gem in teachers’ world. Her patience and her determination in making every child understand what she teaches and help them cross over to the finish line, is truly commendable. With her around, nothing is impossible. Like she says – Kar lenge ma’am! Aur humare bacche to accha hi karenge! She has taught me a very crucial lesson as a teacher – Be patient. Not every child is going to reach the finish line on first, second or third position at the same time. The real challenge is unlocking the hidden talents in children who are written off as ‘incorrigible’. Just trust the children. They will shine. She will be an asset to whichever organization employs her. Her optimism is infectious. God bless you, Ma’am!
Urvi Ma’am – Handling a class of almost 38 toddlers without much assistance is not a child’s play! Rather it is every teacher’s nightmare. But not for Urvi Ma’am. A mother of two, she is a pleasant looking teacher with a beautiful smile. But then, it is her hearty laugh and super sonic voice that are her trademark. And, toddlers need exactly that. Besides, she is one awesome dancer. And, do I need to say how toddlers adore dancing? Currently she is preparing her children for the story song of Ek chidiya. And, am sure that is going to be the cynosure of our upcoming annual function. But there is something more that I admire in her. She is one of the few who calls a spade, a spade. Her judgment of a situation is more often accurate and, she has a memory like an elephant (i.e never forgets anything). And then, she is a saggi like me! Hi five, Ma’am! *Claps*
Uma Maam – This post would be incomplete without the mention of our uber talented Uma Ma’am. I guess, when God was designing her, he must have deeply thought about all the great art teachers and sculptors (like Pablo Picasso and Rodin), because this woman is a genius. She is our art and craft teacher who weaves magic when she paints, sculpts, quills or crafts! For instance, making best out of waste for her, is like moving her fingers effortlessly as though she is swaying a magic wand and, lo behold, you witness a masterpiece in making! In an interschool tribal fest competition, she and her team of students made a hut, corn fields, mud stove and paintings (all from scratch). Needless to say, our school won the first prize. Later in a best out of waste competition, at district level she taught one of the students to create a lampshade using a dalda tin, a wooden stick, a barb wire, an x-ray sheet, a cardboard cut in the shape of a lampshade and a bulb. Once, she mentioned casually that years ago, she made a Tanjore painting for a hotel inauguration in Hyderabad. And, I said – Ma’am, why have you not started something on your own – like online retail? And, she shrugs the suggestion off. Some people are truly gifted. She is one of them. Art is a form of God, I believe. And, this lady truly has God’s gift. Ma’am, I would love to see you becoming a successful entrepreneur one day! Cheers to that!
Lastly, there is me who finishes this group of sweetest six! When I first joined the school, I was skeptical about how I will be received. There is a reason to it. Hubby was on a course. I was in my hometown with son, ensuring that A completed his pre kg session in one place. And, owing to hubby’s profession as a fauji, we keep moving places and so, I rarely get to make friends. Yes, yours truly falls in the category of introverts who is totally incapable of making friends in a short span of time. Which is also the reason, I feel a bit out of place in parties and all. You never get to know anyone intimately as you end up moving places by the time you just start with getting to know the other person. So, either you make very few good friends or, just know some acquaintances! So, when I joined in the school here in my hometown as a teacher, I only focused on this job as a time killer. But with time, I realized that I was surrounded by wonderful women who truly cared. And, I know now that, I have earned friends for a lifetime. From each, I have learned a great deal about handling children, handling families and, handling oneself too. It is now I have begun to understand the importance of letting oneself being surrounded by positive people who not only ensure their own growth but also, the growth of their subordinates. And I thank God for introducing these wonderful women into my lives.
Yes, every woman needs girlfriends. Every woman deserves an awesome girlfriend. Seeking them is difficult. But when you get them, make sure you treasure them J
A big Hi Five to Sweetest six!
God bless… J