Every Tuesday night, I sleep with butterflies in my tummy. The sorts that reside with me each time I go up in front of an audience. Only this time, I’m not the one performing. My class two babies are. Every Wednesday. And I’m nervous until the time they get off the stage.
But trepidations apart, it is the highlight of my days here. It was my introduction (or call it my induction) to the entire school; I remember feeling overwhelmed with the fervor, the enthusiasm and the spontaneity. A little more than a month and the feeling hasn’t diminished.
Most weekdays on the mountain begin with an ardent “Good morning, Mea’am!” as we make our way to school, arms laden with books and papers, which the little munchkins are begging to take off our hands. Once everyone is lined up, we begin with reciting an English prayer, which is followed by a hymn in either Urdu or Hindi, and then a silent prayer. The kids are no doubt distracted. Sometimes, it is too cold. Lately, it’s been very sunny. But they pray diligently. Arms held forward, eyes tight shut, some swaying along with the rhythm, hoping this will end soon. Their voices are loud and cheery. The innocence, the humility, the grace remind me of the assemblies in Sahyadri, where we had similar chants. I silently whisper a prayer of gratitude.
The relief on their faces is palpable once the prayers are dispensed with. Now come the parts where they can day-dream. A student offers a thought for the day in English, then translated in Hindi to aid learning and understanding. Then we have a host of performances, varying as per each grade. While the KG kids entertain us with rhymes, verse, the alphabets and multiplication tables, the senior school enlightens us with facts, GK questions, trivia and current affairs topics. And we laugh, admonish and reprimand. Sometimes, in that order! Every performance ends with an applause.
We celebrate the small victories; great marks on a class test, a brilliant answer to a GK question, a lively performance on stage. And for a few minutes each week, every child can take centerstage and revel in the adulation. To know that he/she can also excel; however fleeting that might be.
Wednesday mornings leave me feeling relieved. Also a tad bit empty. Until mid-week panic sets in and I’m off to wield my red pen!0