Since childhood I have been insecure, living away from the warm cocoon of affection of my family in a boarding school far away in the hills. The journey began very early, at seven. The trauma of separation from my familiar ground and the stress of having to be totally on my own had paralysed my thoughts giving me an emotional setback.
As desperate times call for desperate measures, I gradually learned to deal with different situations tactfully and precociously. With a stuttering level of confidence, socializing was cruelty! I literally had no friends. I was socially awkward, scared and terribly shy. My matron was the only one who understood my problem. When my peers made fun of me or pulled my leg using abusive words, she would always be by my side protecting me from disintegration.
I drifted away in agony, hiding myself from all these afflictions in my own ivory tower. Was I afraid of being physically hurt? No, it was the fear of being mentally and emotionally crippled. I was desperate to reclaim my happy go lucky self at any cost. I learned to speak my thoughts being inspired by my teachers and a few chosen friends. Life moved on through trials and tribulations; moments of mirth and sorrow; hormonal upsurges and terse situations. Suddenly I had grown up.
Despite all efforts to win over fear and low self esteem, I lost the battle somewhere. I moved on but a patch of dark cloud filled with a sense of brooding melancholy held me back from opening myself before the people I met. I needed emancipation. My mentor proved lucky for me, as she came as an angel in disguise to release me from my emotional shackles. She made me see life in all its colors and verve when I saw it in only two shades ‘black’ and ‘grey’.
‘TEACHING’ was one profession that I have respected all my life and wanted to make a career out of it but little children was not my cup of tea. I wanted to teach students of high school or college. Again I had a challenge to face and pass too. Taking up a job as a Montessori teacher sent my life spinning in a 360 degree rotation.
The first day was intimidating, watching a large group of toddlers howling and shrieking! Terrified to get into the school premise as if it was a veritable place of danger. My stomach hurt to see those sweet faces streaming with tears holding on to the hands of their guardians as if some evil force was about to snatch them away from safety. Bribing a child with a balloon or a bar of chocolate works like magic sometimes.
I approached a little girl with curly black hair and very large brown eyes holding out a bar of Cadbury dairy milk chocolate before her. She slowly left her father’s hand and advanced towards me. As she came closer I gave her the chocolate and lifted her up in my arms kissing her super soft skin that smelled of Johnson baby cream. The feeling at that instance was inexpressible! She totally surrendered herself to me from that moment on. One by one children walked in, some happy others whining, some even threw up out of sheer stress.
To adapt and adjust to a new environment was not an easy task. This was my first lesson. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is seeing life in a multitude of colors. Colors that keep changing in accordance with the mood of the toddler. The pictures they paint may look insensible but they mirror a clean and immaculate heart.
Oh! To see the twinkle in those teeny eyes, the beaming red cheeks are an awesome phenomenon. Their absolute faith and trust in their teacher; instantly turns her into a hero, making her magnanimous figure. I love popularity, but in the last eight years I have acquired the status of an icon, worshipped and adored not only by my pupils but also by their parents. We all know that parents are the first teachers and the teachers are a child’s second parents, in this context what I have realized is that the fruits of teaching in a Montessori may well take time to ripen but when they do, they fill our taste and senses with the sweetest aroma of the most beautiful and timeless experiences.
Memories that make a mournful rustle with the passage of time, yet leaving an immaculate smile on our faces. As adults we seek numerous means to keep ourselves entertained. Little do we realize that children are the best entertainers who can hold our attention with their meaningless babbling and gleeful antics for hours. All they want to do is to impress their elders in their own little way. We are their icons, their rock of GIBRALTAR! An immense source of strength bonded with trust, care and love that know no prejudice. It’s an unctuous relationship that unfurls the chemistry shared between two dissimilar personalities, immortalizing cherished memories between them for life. What more would a teacher want?