Archive for September, 2010

My Principal

Now¬† I’m out of school and though I’m relishing the independence that college life brings with it, I can’t help missing everyone and everything that made my school life so special. And the person who heads the list is my Principal.

When I remember someone, I have a picture of him/her firmly embedded in my mind’s eyes. My picture of him is as he stood in class teaching, with spectacles that made him look sterner than he was; cracking jokes that he found funny, and yet being a person all students looked up to.

He was a very affectionate Principal to have;that he liked and enjoyed teaching was obvious to any on-looker. But any student who misbehaved was scared of him and was sure to be chastised.

Perhaps I can best introduce him to you through two incidents that took place when I was in my last year of school .

My principal used to teach us Physics and Mathematics. And very well too. Now on a particular day, my friend (who was my bench-mate too) had a bad cold. We both, who were always considered very silent, seemed unable to resist conversing in class. Even in Principal’s class! Now, he kept glancing at us often, but not one comment did he make about our incessant chatter. We were surprised but made the best of his silence. He left the class as usual. In the lunch break, he called my bench-mate aside. She went trembling, for she was sure that she would be apprehended for talking continuously in class. Instead, you know what he asked her? He said, “I saw in class that you had tears in your eyes. Are you alright? If there’s anything wrong, you can confide in me.”He had mistaken the tears in her eyes for tears of sorrow!

Now which other Principal would be so considerate or sensitive to notice a girl student’s tears, not embarrass her in class, and instead call her aside later and ask if anyone had upset her?

The other incident, then. This happened when my classmates and I were exhausted by tests and exams.We had to write one after the other,until we never wanted to study again in our lives! The Principal announced in the assembly that, to enable us to study well for the next test, we would have half-holiday after each test. We were relieved.

However a dispute then took place. The next day, we had to write our last test. Was the next day a half-day or full day? Principal had announced that we had holidays on each day of the test. But he had clearly said that the half-day was given so that we might study for the next test.

Some classmates came up with what we all thought was a great idea. If we asked Principal, he was sure to say that we would have to attend full-day class. “So”,”they said, ” let us all not bring our lunch boxes to school. If a hundred students have brought no lunch to eat, there is no way he can conduct classes even if he has planned to.” And so, not a single one of us brought lunch to school. But we then found that we had underestimated Principal.

He was angered because we had dared to come without lunch to school, without so much as asking him about the half-day!He immediately said that there would certainly be no half-day and that those of us who had been foolish enough to not bring lunch would have to go without lunch for a day! This statement instantly brought forth anger and irritation. And since Principal was not exactly lean, it inspired a lot of jokes like the one about stealing his lunch-box that would surely suffice for all of us!

We went through an hour of hunger and torture, and then he called us outside. He had actually ordered for puffs for each of us, and he personally served them with a twinkling smile on his face! He taught us that he could not be played around with, and at the same time made sure that we didn’t go hungry. And we all attended all the classes that day. That was my Principal- affectionate, yet stern. He was always concerned more about the students than he was about the teachers. None of us was scared to approach him when we were right, and yet he inspired fear in those who were wrong.

He was a great teacher. He was one who commanded respect, not demanded it. He laughed with us and gave us pleasant memories that we all will treasure for a life-time. I still remember him, his nose pressed to the glass, as he waved to us with as smile on his face, from the airport as we left to Delhi (excursion from school).

He was my Principal, and I’m so glad I studied under him.


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