The clock over the teacher’s table ticked.
I was watching it rather anxiously. It wasn’t because I was desperate to get out of class – I was just done with my assignment.
“Tanvi, are you done?” asked Rekha ma’am.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said gratefully.
“Okay, hand it over. I’ll check it right now.”
We had to do a poem on exams. It was an interesting topic, because exams weren’t something anyone ever wrote poems on. We were always told to do essays – debate merits and demerits – that kind of thing. Rekha ma’am, however – she had this fun technique of making things very different and creative.
One of the assignments she had given had been one of my favourites: we had to write a story about people from class. I’d written something like a screenplay. Rekha ma’am had loved it – even though I made lots of grammatical errors.
She didn’t seem to care about grammar errors. She would always grade you based on creativity. Even in the letter writing assignment, she gave me an A+ for my ability to write.
I gave her my assignment. I’d written a small limerick, because I’d been very stressed out during my English worksheet – right until I saw the worksheet itself. The stress always builds up until that point, then once you know how to answer – you calm down.
Rekha ma’am smiled when she read my poem.
“You know, Tanvi, you can really write.”
I think that was the first time someone told me I could write. I think that was the first time it occurred to me that people could write things other than essays.
“I can?” I asked.
“You should try writing more. You’re good at it.”
It was an anomaly for an English teacher to like me. They normally were very impatient with me.
But then, Rekha ma’am was never like the other teachers. She was old, with a slight limp – but she had a very pleasant smile. She liked you regardless of how well you did, and she liked me a lot. It was easy to love her.