Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Open Letter to SMCites (Through the Rev. Principal)

This was published in the SMC Magazine
As a josephite, St. Mary’s has always held a special place in my mind. The memory of those primary school days are vivid when we waited for our trolley-mates outside the school spending the time throwing pebbles at bunches of ‘imli’ on the tamarind trees and also of those adolescent years trying all tricks to win a glance from the navy-blue skirted fairies. What lay behind those high walls was always intriguing! “Calm and free…quiet as a Nun” wrote Wordsworth about “the beauteous evening” but the phrases were perhaps as apt to express our feelings for those in the convent-school. Whenever we were naughty, SMC was invoked before us by our teachers as an example of good manners .I’ll be candid to accept that an SMC girl filled us with a complex with her manners, grace and quiet confidence.
The association with the institution (not mere school!) began anew, about a year back, when my wife joined it as a teacher. But my renewed association felt something amiss. The first time I felt it, was, when at a market place, my wife told me that the group of girls that had passed by was her students. I thought it awkward that not one had stopped to wish her. It has not been a solitary episode. Has the ill of indifference of the students towards their teachers has infected even this institution? Are its students only acquiring knowledge and not imbibing culture? Have the students forgotten that the relation of the teacher and the student is not impersonal like that between a businessman and a customer but, lively and filled with warmth of that between a guardian and a ward?
I only hope that the present generation of students realizes the glory of their institution and retains it, so that ,they too can feel proud many- many years hence that they are SMCites as their predecessors of the last more than 100 years can.All the best and a very happy new year.