My Alma mater – SSVM
“A place of worship” where I devoted seven years of my life – learning, imbibing values, gaining insight into Indian culture and inculcating habits that last a life time. This place is my school which nurtured my soul, enabled my growth and built a immune system in me against the evils of the society and bad people. I learnt dedication, humility, modesty, forged good qualities in to my persona and engrained in my brain that – knowledge is power.
To think of myself as a kid who was crying not to go to school, seems ridiculous. I have heard this story many times from mom and dad. I was very reluctant to go to school. I was very happy being at home surrounded by a big family. Mom had taught me prayers, national anthem, alphabets of three different languages (English, kannada and Hindi), basic mathematics and I was enjoying happily singing and playing. In the evenings, Dad taught me grammar and used to dictate some difficult words, thus making my learning very challenging. I was very happy at home as it was always play time. Since a few days, things had changed around home. Dad had been busy doing his research on schools to pick the best one for me and mom spoke to the neighbors about the schools, children going to school and the talk at home was about “school”. All I knew was I was going to be sent somewhere for a few hours daily. I was not happy with the thought of staying away from home even if it was for a few hours. Mom sat down with me and told me about new friends that I would make, teachers, books, uniform etc. I listened to all that with rapt attention but a skeptical look on my face. Then the day arrived, I woke up early in the morning, said my prayers, mom got me ready and then i started walking with mom dad holding their hands for about a mile. They kept telling me that everything will be fine and that I will learn a lot of things. There was a teacher in a white saree with green border waiting at the school entrance. Mom dad spoke to her and she smiled. I still remember her dimples. Then she took my hand in hers and started towards the steps that led to the classrooms.Tears flooded my eyes, mom dad were waving good bye and I could not control my tears any more. I started crying and stopped, pulled away from the teacher. Her name : Saraswathi, name of the indian goddess of intelligence and knowledge. So apt,(to think about her now) who lead me to my first stop of learning path- to my school. I began to rush towards dad. Teacher came towards me and lifted me up with her arms and cradled me and told my parents to leave as I would not stop crying as long as they were around. In spite of my pleas to let go and trying to get down she clutched me tightly without letting me go. I guess she had made a resolve in her mind. She carried me to the classroom and put me down in the first row. All eyes were on me, I stopped crying. I was introduced and I saw some smiling faces…I turned pink as I became very shy. Slowly I peered into a book placed near me, took a crayon and started drawing. At the end of that day, I had received applause for my drawings and quick solving of maths problems, some pats on the back from other kids and had shared my lunch with a bunch of other students. My teacher was very happy and I was very happy and hugged my mom as soon as she came to pick me up from school. She carried me home as I joyfully narrated all that happened at school.
Now, I visit my alma mater and refresh those memories….and pay gratitude with tear filled eyes for the wonderful place that created the ambience for my growth and enabled my evolution from a shy, introvert, innocent little girl in to a determined, passionate, patriotic individual. In these two decades, each time I have visited my school or drove near the school area I have been filled with the same delight and joy that I had experienced opening the gates and walking in on the second day of the school.
Dedicated to my school – Sri Saraswathi Vidya Mandir.
English translation – Salutation…. ( Named after Goddess Saraswathi)…Education….temple.