Friday, 12 September 2008

Mrs Mahableshwarwalla

5th standard. Cathedral and John Connon School. Fort, Bombay.

Yours trully on the front right, first row.

Three away from one of the most remarkable teachers I have ever had. Mrs. Mahableshwarwalla.

Every morning the 30 odd of us would stand up, put our chairs under the table, and in unison give the sing-song: "goood mor-ning Missus Ma-ha-blesh-war-walla" (last syllable on the up).

But what a teacher she was. Her strict ways and her ringing the bell to keep us quiet were part of her zeal to make something out of us.

Like getting her husband to splice together a recording (in those days of tape recorders and LPs) of the Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture for that class assembly presentation on the American Revolution. Cannons going off! Drama! Us all in uniforms - Nalin (2nd row - extreme right) acting the part of George Washington. (which American school will be doing a play about India's road to freedom....).

Like the special effort she took to held the boy with the problems at home - who was not doing well. She was kind to him, and spent time with him after school and made a diagram of a racing car to get him motivated to concentrate.

Like the interest she showed in me. Me with the horrible hand-writing. If my memory serves me correctly, I think she made up the grade of "E" especially for me, so that she did not have to fail me for my hand-writing grade that year.

I have forgotten most of what she said - but I remember her eager face - her kind eyes - her love for teaching - her love for us.

Hats off to you Mrs. Mahableshwarwalla. Wherever you are. All of us owe you a lot.

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