A Fall To Remember.


The day dawned, bright and clear. I was all set and ready to take a cab to my destination – an upcoming institution on the outskirts of my city. Draped in one of my crisp, cotton saris – a brilliant yellow with a green border, my notes, umbrella, and other essentials that I might need for the day crammed into my handbag, I started my journey in high spirits. 

Dr.Prema, a dear friend of mine and Principal, had invited me to conduct a workshop on Soft Skills for her junior college students. Taking for granted that it was a women’s institution, imagine my horror when, as my cab eased into the driveway, I realized it was co-ed! I had had my education in great seats of learning that were all integrated – coeducational – if you must! But teaching for a decade in a women’s college, you can’t fault me for being apprehensive about handling a mixed group of students. 

And here she was, my dear friend, who did not think it necessary to let me know she was Principal of a co-ed college! How easily I was ready to put the blame on her, when, I, in all our chats in the last few years, never bothered to find out about the nascent college she was invited to head. Prema hugged me welcome, the warmth of her love enveloping me in her warm embrace. I could have stayed there the entire day had it not been for the fact that it was I who was to do the workshop! I chided myself for choosing to wear this outlandish colored sari. Something more pastel would have helped me blend in, but no. 

Everything, from breakfast in Prema’s house to the hall where the workshop was to be held, passed by in a blur. That I was all nerves about handling a mixed group of students was an understatement! Quite literally, regaining consciousness towards the end of the introductions; watching as Dr Prema and the other two teachers left the hall, a sign for me to take over was overwhelming to say the least. There were only eight girls, young women, while the rest of the room was filled with boys, young men. Here was I with a hall full of eager minds, ready to learn, to observe and absorb that which they might need to help integrate into society. 

Till today I cannot fathom how I got the strength to pull myself out of my strange stupor. I found myself up in a trice, pushing aside my chair and taking a step back to get into action.

That was my undoing! In my unwarranted nervousness, I failed to notice the teacher’s platform behind me. You don’t need imagination to tell you what happened next. Well, yes, you guessed it!  Yours truly fell rather unceremoniously, like a sack of potatoes from the truck to the ground!  Hardly had my poor posterior hit the floor than I was I was up in a trice, no, not looking flushed or embarrassed as I should have, given the circumstances, but, standing upright, said, “See, this is how we start our learning; with a Bang!” Now please refrain from asking me how I had such presence of mind because I just do not know myself! I believe it was Providence. The Best part of it all was the reaction of these students – a room full of caring hearts that was reflected on their faces, earnest expressions of empathy! I was dying to laugh out loud at myself, but not these simple, sincere students, both boys and girls. These innocent, incredible minds taught me a lot that day by their display of sheer concern. The rest of the day was a hit and went off without a hitch. Every teacher will agree when I say the learning was both ways, for them and for me. The love I received from those darling young men and women means the world to me even three decades later! 

On the return, my best friend, my husband, came to pick me up from the bus stand. No sooner did I get on to the bike than I burst out laughing, uncontrollably. My darling husband had, for long, suspected that he had married a fairly nutty woman, but This confirmed his suspicion that I was not a ‘fairly’ but ‘fully’ crazy woman! Between bouts of laughter, I recalled my day to him, where else, if not on the road! That day onwards I Learnt, and Laughed, a Lot!                                                                                                


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