Before the virus got me and made me its own for a short period, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater where I was an under graduate student in Economics many many moons ago. (This is round about the time I went missing from here). There was a reunion of sorts happening of all batches of the Economics department and I had grabbed the opportunity to visit the dear old college and meet faculty and friends from yore.
Here’s something I have noticed about myself and my memory: I remember every single one of my classmates from post graduation days, but somehow only a few from under graduation days and as for the time before that, it is even less! Well, I actually remember only ONE girl from the last category, a well turned out girl with a shy smile that showed up the dimples on both her cheeks. Whenever attendance was taken, she would call out her number in the sweetest of ways, “Theteeee-six”. I have a feeling, no it is a fact actually, every morning, the whole sixty to seventy odd fifteen year olds of the class waited with bated breath just to hear her say “Theteee-six”. I know I did.
Annnddd I have digressed!
So back to St Teresa’s and the reunion of the Economics batches that I attended, aptly named SEAR 2023. I was setting foot in the alma mater after forty-four long years. Some faces were still fresh in my minds eye, others had disappeared totally. Some names seemed familiar, others found no memories attached. Nervous and excited at the same time, that’s how I felt returning to the old familiar place.
Seeing people face to face, even their forty-four year older selves, miraculously cleared the cobwebs away from my mind. Suddenly I knew who ‘Salimma Ma’am’ was and also ‘Mariagusta Ma’am’. The years stripped away from them and I saw their younger selves on the dais lecturing. Others like ‘Leela Ma’am’ and ‘Sister Emeline’ had never ever left my memory. Alas I noticed that my mug did not spark any memory in them.
That was a disappointment. Especially Sister Emeline, who is now the Director of the institution. Though she has never taught me, I have accepted three different prizes (for three different events) from her capable hands in the three years that she had been warden of the college hostel where I stayed. But can’t blame them really. Forty-four years is a loooooooooong time, they have aged too, and I am but one of the students among the thousands they have taught, (or given out prizes to!).
Besides, not their fault that I don’t look anything like my old self 😉
Shail Mohan 2023
I have taught hundreds of children over the span of forty years. Many stand out in my memory for one reason or another. Years ago I met a young man in the parking lot of our local supermarket. He introduced me to his wife and child and told me how happy he was … my brain buzzed … of course I recognised him … of course I could have told you a lot about him – except his name! Even while I was talking to him I knew his name would be among the bottom four on the list of his particular class. I rummaged around for my old mark books, found the year … and there he was, among the bottom four on the list!
Ken Powell said:
As a teacher, I sympathise with your former teachers. I’m sorry to say that names and faces don’t entirely ‘leave the memory’ but get muddled up and fuzzy. And that happens, these days at least, within months of no longer teaching them. I was never good with names but faces are even worse. And, of course, kids grow up! Decades later…not a hope of remembering them. And considering I live in the area where I taught for eight wonderful years before heading off to Asia an have taught for ten years since being back…it is quite embarrassing how often I have to fake remembrance! 😀