Shri Narendra Modi, Our new Prime Minister is always in the news, more for the good things he’s doing and planning to do more and more in the coming years. His Swach Bharat Abhiyan on second October which happened to be Gandhiji’s birthday, garnered a lot of admiration and inspired quite a lot of people. There were people, as usual, ready with their negative comments but couldn’t cut down the enthusiasm of the general public.
When I heard about this Swach Bharat Abhiyan the first thing that came to my mind was my school Presentation Convent In Dharwar, Karnataka opposite Kittur Chennamma Park. I studied there from third standard to seventh standard which was way back, from 71 to 76. It was an all girls school from fourth standard onwards and co-ed from first to third. So many years have passed but somehow, memories of the good old days spent there keep coming back to me.
I cannot forget the nuns who used to be dressed in white from head to toe and were kindness and affection personified. At the same time they were very strict and believed in discipline and taught not only lessons but also the do it yourself concept. Cleanliness was given a lot of importance. From sixth standard onwards the classes were divided into four or five squads with around eight children in each squad. Each squad was assigned different duties for one week which included cleaning the class, the desks and benches along with other duties. Cleaning the class meant literally holding a broom and sweeping the class! And it was not total type of cleaning but a proper one with the girls sweeping nicely and properly under the desks, benches, window sills and everywhere. And then two girls would dust the desks and benches with a duster. There were sweepers in the school to do this job and would do it again after we left the school. This was purely to teach us that no work is inferior and everybody should be ready to do any work without feeling bad. Apart from this we were also given the task of watering the school garden, not with a long pipe but by filling buckets under the tap. Each class got to do this only twice a year and I remember very well how excited we used to be about this twice a year opportunity and used to look forward to it 🙂
If the schools of today try this now there will be a line of objecting parents who would fight and threaten to lodge a complaint. But in those times it was different and parents never came to school to complain about anything unless something was drastically wrong. This, when majority of the children belonged to good families. We children were so kicked up about the squad duties that the nuns could get anything done from us 🙂 I must say we all enjoyed and took pride in carrying out duties as squad members and would wait for our turns which used to come once a month. It is at such places that one learns about dignity of labour, co-ordination and co-operation.
Thanks to my school I’m a better human being today because the school taught me to respect all human beings and after almost forty years of leaving that school I feel proud to say that I’m a student of Presentation convent. The people of India, lead by Modi are out on a cleanliness drive which our school taught us years ago. Three cheers to Presentation Convent, Dharwar.
As a teenager I was a diehard film music fan. Being a Kannadiga , I grew up listening to everything in Kannada; Kannada stories, news ,songs and of course Kannada conversations. In such an all Kannada environment there was one thing that was a little different……that was my dear mommy’s Hindi songs. Though she was born and brought up in a village in Karnataka, she lived in Hyderabad and Aurangabad for some years, after getting married to my engineer father.
There she got influenced by Hindi films and Hindi film music. She is blessed with a melodious voice and loved singing. As a child she had learnt a little classical music and her sur tal were also in place. So she just started off with the Hindi songs that she used to hear everyday on the transistor. I am sure she started singing in Hindi before she learnt to speak the language. Her sur used to be perfect as it is till date, but the wordings were often made up to sound the same as the words in the song. Later on as her Hindi became better her she rectified her mistakes. She proved that love for music is above all barriers.
Anyway even after coming back to Karnataka her love for Hindi songs did not decrease. She only went on to add more songs to her memory and this time, Kannada ones. She used to be humming either a Kannada or a Hindi song all the time and we children grew up listening to her songs as she churned out delicious food for us. She was so fond of singing that whenever she heard a word she would sing a song starting with that word. Actually she never realized that she was singing, it was so spontaneous.Now my mother is seventy-three and does the same amount of work as she was doing a long time ago, without waiting for anybody to come and help her. Her singing is still on but not so much as it was earlier. She has seen so much in life.She lost her eldest son and husband in a span of six years after which she just didn’t sing for quite some time. Slowly and steadily it did return but not like the olden days. She engages herself in work to divert her mind. I have seen people sitting and brooding over their grief. I really don’t know from where my mother draws all the energy and mindset to keep working. Whenever I read ‘aharnishi seva nirataha’ my mother comes to my mind.
As children when we used to sleep nicely when she used to work all alone in the kitchen. Whenever this thought comes to my mind, I really feel bad as to how could we sleep like that when our mother was working so hard. But I guess in most of the cases it is like that only. As children we never realize how much our parents work hard to keep us happy and they do it all without expecting any returns. Now when I look back I really feel guilty. In fact this feeling of guilt set in as soon as I got married and started multitasking just like any other housewife. I kept wondering as to how my mother managed the children, the house and everything without grumbling and cribbing. Of course my father was always there to help if she asked for it, but he had his own job and other things also to attend to. After the realization that any kind of help from any quarter is welcome even if one is not asking for it, I make sure to do as much as possible when I go to my mother’s house. This way she gets good help and I get to spend time with her and the satisfaction of reducing her work a little bit.
I think we rarely find people who would want to keep working at seventy-three, with two daughters-in-law at home. Generally one wants to sit back and enjoy after having worked for such a long time, which I think one deserves. But my mother doesn’t think so, she believes in keeping herself busy. “I’ll keep working as long as I can” is her argument. I pray to God to bless my mother with good health and the strength to keep singing, come what may and also to give me some of her ‘ no cribbing’ attitude.