Apologies & Redemption: It has been four years since I last wrote what I very unimaginatively called “The Girl Series”. For various reasons I stopped mid way. I still have a lot to say and many stories to tell about 'The Girl'.
Over years, I often thought about finishing this series but never had reason enough to do it. The blog Marathon is the perfect excuse.
Very few of those readers who encouraged me through the first 4 parts now remain on my blog. But for those who might be interested the following are links to the previous 4 parts:
Also if you see the Right pane you will see these (in a section called Girl Series) linked directly to the posts
And now for Part Five :)
The last time, my readers and I met Girl, and that was almost 4 years ago, we left her outside her eldest son’s class room where after doing away with each bit of pride, the daughter of one of richest zamindaars of Calcutta was born with, she had just asked her son’s teacher if she would help Girl get an education she could at that point in time only dream of.
“….I don’t have money. I cannot pay for your help. I can only give you my word that I will be an honest student….” Girl muttered hesitatingly. From the corner of her eye she could see her son crane his neck from where he was sitting in the class wondering why his mother had come to meet his teacher.
Seeing Girl’s twitching hands and uneasy, scared smile Teacher understood the internal struggle the girl was going through- what it had taken for to come and do this.
“ What a strange thing to ask for?”, thought Teacher to herself as she studied the woman with jet black hair that almost reached her knees, honest eyes and rough-over worked hands.
Teacher debated silently. This was against the school rules, she anyways had enough students to teach and certainly did not need another one without any extra salary. Obviously she should politely refuse such a strange request. Certainly, she made up her mind.
“Yes, I will help you….”, said Teacher surprising herself much more than she surprised the woman infront of her who now folded her hands in a mark of gratitude as words failed her and tears of relief and hope began their happy journey down her beautiful face.
This was, readers, no ordinary moment.
Not, if you think friendships are ordinary. How could this moment which silently, with tears and smiles and wonder, marked the beginning of one that would last more than half a century be anything but extra ordinary ??
Thus started a unique long distance learning programe . Teacher would use, FB’s copy, turn it upside down and on the last page write down small words that she knew FB knew.
“Explain what each word means to your mother. Tell your mother to write these words again in the space below 5 times. It is her homework. Be a good teacher.”, she would smile.
FB would come home and tell his mother what her homework was for the day and Girl would spend the afternoon studying along with her two sons.
This period marked an important phase in Girl’s life. She had now set on a journey to achieve her biggest dream. A dream to learn-to be educated- to not be the illiterate wife of a famous doctor. A secret dream. A clandestine effort. An effort with 2 accomplices apart from Teacher- her two lovely sons.
Imagine a small house in a city in India 50 odd years ago. Imagine the summer heat. Imagine three people in that one room. One woman and her two sons. Sitting on the floor. Imagine the woman fanning her sons and herself intermittently with a hand made fan. Imagine three dark heads bent over three different sets of books. Doing different things but united and tied to each other in a way only a mother and her children can be. In a way only a student and her two tiny teachers can be.