About a boy
When Roopa ma’am told stories, her hair almost looked like they would crackle.
“And of course, it was during this time that my son decided to have a birthday party,” she continued with her story. We – the Elective English class, that is, was excited and waiting. We wanted to know the rest of the story, particularly since it sort of meant that we could all ignore Wordsworth for a bit.
No one liked Wordsworth. He spoke too much.
“So we went to my sister’s house, to spend dinner. He asked us to,” said Roopa ma’am.
From the corner of my eye, I spied Piku ma’am watching the entire exchange. She was laughing just a little to herself, and I was laughing because I loved watching how well Piku ma’am knew Roopa ma’am’s stories.
“You’re forgetting to tell them about your sister,” Piku ma’am interjected.
I beamed. It was a good thought, that Piku ma’am had heard the story enough to prod Roopa ma’am in the right direction.
Besides, this wasn’t even the first time it had happened this way. Our Elective English classes were just a myriad of negotiating different authors, their histories, their families, and all the stories that were hiding inside Roopa ma’am and Piku ma’am. They had too many stories to count, they almost knew them by heart by now.
“Oh – yes!” said Roopa ma’am. “My sister.”
Roopa ma’am and Piku ma’am had even joined the school together, twenty odd years ago. They’d taught batches and batches of children, and accumulated stories. They knew so much about the school, it was honestly just a bit shocking. They sat across the table, in the small English room – which was hidden away from common sight by being nestled in a corner of the building. That’s where we’d all get together to chat, think English, and hear lots of stories.
Antara and I loved it. Antara in particular – I had never imagined getting this close to any teacher in my two years of having joined the school, but I did. I think they were also the first English teachers I had liked this much.
The first English teachers who had made me love the subject this much.
Lots of people don’t know this, but it was only after Elective English with Roopa ma’am and Piku ma’am that I decided to do English for my undergraduate study.