This is no fairy tale. It’s just an incident that may mean nothing. Still, for no particular reason, this matter just flashed across my mind. So I thought I’ll write it out. Can any of you recall when was the last time you had a strange or rather odd experience from someone whom you respect dearly?
As of now, I am not sure if the word to be used is “strange” or “odd”, but since I am a human and as humans are bizarre, I intend on moving ahead with my innate flaws.
So to come to the odd scenario, I should take you a few decades back when I was that teacher’s pet. Why was I this teacher’s pet? I was not the chubby-cheeked, dimple-chinned one. I was just one of those kids who never questioned seniority in my school days. I was quite reasonable in my behaviour with all, quite proficient in my spellings. My report cards had a consistent statement- well behaved, smart and studious. I sound snobby, don’t I? But trust me, I am not. You will soon know that!!!
All these remarks that I have stated above started with one particular teacher- Mrs O.Mrs O’s daughter and I were of the same age and in the same class. I studied in the same school all my twelve years- starting from KG till tenth). So I had learnt under most of the teachers as my classes and years progressed. And the majority of the teachers knew almost everyone and exceptions were there, of course. If you have been under a teacher who loves you dearly, it’s an expected fact that he/she would take an interest in your matters and studies as you move to the higher classes. If I remember clearly, I used to be elated whenever I met her because she was so proud of calling me her student.
Years passed, I left school, started college, got employed and finally reached an age where I started cherishing each moment of my school days. It was during one of those days that one family friend of mine invited me to his wedding.
So I was at the venue in search of where the dessert counter was when I spotted Mrs O at one corner of the spacious auditorium. My happiness knew no bounds. With all the joy of a kid, I rushed to greet her.
“Good day, Ma’am,” I squealed in delight.
I was brimming with happiness and was about to embrace her when she asked me, “Have I taught you, dear?… Seems, I forgot your name.”
So I stopped myself and clarified, ”Ma’m, this is me Ms.R. Don’t you remember me? I used to be your daughter’s classmate. I used to sit next beside you in our school bus always. Your spelling champion.!!!”
But my self- introduction was met with an uncertain smile .
Pathetic, right!!!! Especially when I could see that she didn’t recognize me.
It was indeed embarrassing to explain and describe oneself so pathetically because all I saw in her face was just a blank expression. Now, this was the moment when the three things which I mentioned above- well behaved, smart and studious- all started toppling down like Zenga blocks in my mind.
All I could think was what was the point when the person who tagged me so doesn’t even recognize me? I can still imagine me grinning like a monkey trying to see if she would recognize me and be truly happy.
The incident isn’t over yet. Mrs O and I were still trying to come out of the embarrassing moment when I heard another happy “Hello Ma’am” behind me. The light of familiarity and happiness shone in full brilliance when she greeted the new voice by his name!!!!. Any idea who it was? It was my younger brother- my own blood just 3 years younger to me.
My brother, naughty as ever said playfully, “Ma’am, now you won’t pay any attention to me since your pet is here”.
At that, she just said, ”Oh My God, Ms R, I remember you. You used to be so chubby. What happened to you- thin as a stick? Don’t you eat anything or are you on some crazy-new-generation diet fad?”
This is where I tell you guys that my whole life, irrespective of being a fool or a nerd or a winner or a pathetic loser, I was NEVER FAT, not chubby, not plump, just thin. I was too thin. Family and strangers( especially the ones you meet in weddings and get-togethers)alike used to warn me to stay away from windy places.
Not to smash into smithereens that is already broken, I smiled, exchanged some pleasantries, wished her a good day and moved ahead. With a kind smile, she wished me luck and went on with her conversation with my brother.
I respect teachers and my respect towards her hasn’t lessened a bit, because I believe that whatever memories I had was worth cherishing. I want those memories to remain as such. She may have genuinely forgotten me over the years, maybe I wasn’t that remarkable enough, maybe I was expecting too much. Despite all the maybe’s, there is a truth- I was sad. It was a lesson of accepting all the maybe’s and letting go of it. I wouldn’t have gained anything if she had recognized me outright( except that I would’ve been glad!!!); Also, I didn’t lose anything when I realized I am forgotten. Still, I felt terribly sad.
Now, years later, when I am finally writing this, I have no idea what I should be feeling. Yet, there is this thought that keeps on resonating repeatedly- What was the point of being the report-card-Miss Perfect? I was anyway supposed to be forgotten. I could have accepted the imperfections in me much earlier, be a part of that naughty group of my class, get a few childhood punishments and learnt from all those flaws.
Though, a bit late, I know I’m not perfect- just one of the imperfections always striving to be better, still learning. And the responsible human in me says,” Maybe, this is how it should be”!!!
And I am back to being happy.😎