Live like a child every day, you will never regret that you did. – Sneha Marappa 😉
Every morning there are two times I come out of my room before I get to work:
1) To brush my teeth & stare at this specific tree in the front and a hill on my right.
2) To drink milk/coffee, that’s when the first school bus arrives.
The bus moves a little ahead closer to my room to take the U-turn, the children when they see me, few of them wave and few throw a smile and the other few scream, Snehaaaa akkkaaaa + wave.
This happens every day, every damn day; it’s like they are seeing me after many years, the excitement remains constant and every day is a brand new day. A few times which are unlucky days, the timing doesn’t match so this scene doesn’t happen but when it happens that’s the first smile that they bring on my face for the day-Smile 1.
Morning assembly happens at 9 am, everyone’s quiet-it’s a rare moment, like take out your camera and seize the moment kind of a rare moment-a Kodak moment. It is difficult to stay quiet for me too, our Director inclusive; one day she comes close to me and whispers, “Oh! A new saree. Oh yeah! She is that cool, not at all trying to flatter her-true story!
Sometimes I reach a little early, that’s when the Smile 2 begins. Akka, don’t tie your hair bun that way, I feel like laughing at you; Akka, you look like a Maid; Akka, Is it your birthday? (The most asked question, at least one child every day). Somehow all of this sounds better in Tamizh when they say it-Smile 2.
When Smile 1 + Smile 2 happens, the whole day lightens up, even if it is just one of them, I can live with it the whole day grinning, just like them.
Now look at a cobweb in that corner of your house, if there is none, imagine one. Flashback tone begins.
2 Years ago & so on!
On this day, I arrived here in my track pants and a Blue T-shirt; anxious, sweaty & exhausted. The train was delayed for 3 hours in Bengaluru, hence the exhaustion & lack of sleep. Carrying 4 bags and running behind a train that stops for 3 minutes with doors closed from inside, Sigh! That story deserves another blog post.
So where was I? The job, yes! The job was not much to do with children, maybe a little. Well, I had no idea, I just came here, did not think much, about my goals or aspirations, about my writings or blog. All I had on my mind was a simple life with less noise (Point to be noted), a life amidst mountains, & there you go, I got one.
I came here during summer holidays, hardly any (0) In-house teachers and absolutely no children. So there was no noise and there was life with mountains. Just like I desired, a breeze of applaud in my head goes on.
But I had a tiny fear, what happens when the school starts. How will I cope with the noise? I was perplexed, twitching my fingers every day when the noisy thoughts arrive. I was asked to take care of the library as well, who would not want to be around books. A library is a place for silence, nobody talks which mean part of my job will be in silence and I do not have to talk to people. Hurray!
Hold that grin on your face, right there! What I am going to say next might change that expression because the day arrived. The day that I was anxious about, the children, the people and the noise.
The first class in Library, I am sitting in a corner with a book and I see these kids gazing at me. I can feel those cute little eyes all over me. After a few minutes, the silence is broken with pulling & pushing, screaming & screeching, shouting & hitting. I take a deep breath, while I am breathing out, the noise hits the roof and is on the way to a space station. I would scream at them, on top of my voice, and now there is radio silence. And then the noise begins again. This continues, this exact format-all the time, in every class.
Days passed and so did months and years, I still shout at them sometimes and burst out laughing the next second. I am on their side now, we make noise, we draw, we sing and dance. I sit and hear their elephant stories, although most of the time they make up their own stories I feel, but they love it when I believe them and respond to what they say. They are good storytellers I must say, the tone, the pitch, the story crafting and most importantly they know how to trap the reader-they deserve an award.
Somewhere in that war between silence that I craved & noise that I disliked, Noise won!
I still have complications in dealing with people(adults), I am working on it but it is going to take time. So I am usually isolated, all by myself with myself but the loneliness does get on to me on a few days. These kids are the only source for me to drift away from that abyss, they are the only friends I can look up to, they are the only home that I can rest in.
Every day is unique here, all because of them, only because of them. I like it when they are concerned when I am not dressed, Akka are you not well? I like it when they ask about me while I am on leave, I like it that they exist, right there just for that moment.
Remember 2 years ago, I had this fear about coping with noise and now it was about how am I going to live ever without that noise after I leave this job. How often can I re telecast these memories in my head to keep that grin on my face? How am I going to live without elephant stories? Will they remember me if I come to visit them after a few years?
Nightmares, these were the nightmares that kept me away from sleep. Mostly after I decided to leave! But Life always has a different answer, not the one that you want. This time the answer came in the form of a Virus-Corona/COVID-19!
All that silence I prayed for 2 years ago, I have been blessed with it now, unfortunately. It’s been 2 months since I have seen all those grinning faces; as much as the silence engulfed everywhere, their grinned faces and screechy voice is engulfed all over my head.
The home they built for me in themselves is all empty, filled with only taunting memories.
The home that I could not even bid goodbye to!
And now I am slowly drifting to the abyss again.
The swings are heavier.
Merry go round isn’t merrier.
Playground’s turned bizarre.
The library looks spookier.