Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Headmaster's Daughter

I slowly walked into the ninth grade classroom, an awful feeling of apprehension pounding hard in my heart- Would I be able to cope with the new environment? Will my lessons be easy? What if I could not make any friends? I had always been weary of moving to a new school, although I had shifted schools nearly five times before.

My mother coaxed me into adopting an optimistic approach, but a scintilla of skepticism emerged in my mind- the spark grew into a fire and all positivism in my mind was erased…. But, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My classmates were really friendly and I did not feel like an outsider. Then, a teacher came to the class. ”Ma’am, there is a new student in the class!” shrieked my excited classmates.

“Yes” the teacher replied “and she happens to be the new headmaster’s daughter. So unless you want trouble, better keep quiet!” The cat had been let out of the bag! This was the moment I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. I winced inwardly, due to a mixture of emotions- pride for my dad’s position, but also, the agony of being identified by this tag.

The days flew by quickly. By the grace of God Almighty, I began to carve out a niche for myself. My peers and teachers soon recognised me for who I was, not whose daughter I was. Nevertheless, I guess the tag always remained. There have been numerous instances where junior students would come up to me and ask if I really was the Headmaster’s daughter. I would nod, not knowing really what to say. After all, it was just coincidence that my dad was the Headmaster, right? Such questions would leave me annoyed because I felt it was not a big deal.

Whenever there was a problem for us students, some of them would say “Can’t you speak to your dad? He’ll surely listen to you!” These comments would make me indignant- As if each problem could be solved just by me speaking to dad! Once, on the occasion of the Headmaster’s birthday, a group of student leaders presented him a birthday card. Later at home, dad joked that he would be the first person on earth to pay for his own birthday card! Thus, my schooldays passed- I tried to move away from the “Headmaster’s Daughter” title and groaned whenever people referred to me by the same. Before I knew it, my schooldays came to an end –I had to pack my bags and move on….It was the first time I ever saw my dad break down.

Now, I am far away from home, from school, from the cosy familiar world. I think of the good old days- Dad teaching me to ride my bike, comforting me over a bruised knee, cracking jokes to make me laugh. He would say, “Inch-me and Pinch-me went for a walk. Inch-me died, so, who’s left?” “Pinch-me” I would say, and he would promptly pinch me, leaving me only to yell away. Dad is primarily responsible for my avid interest in reading- He gave me my first book when I was three. It was the Ladybird Book for Three-Year-Olds. A string of numerous other books followed. We used to squabble over games of Scrabble. (Mom used to be the referee) - On one rare occasion when I won; he got me an abridged version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” as a reward. I still remember asking dad how wonderful it would be if we all dozed off for twenty years- free from trouble and tension ; an awesome, stress free period. Dad would take us for long walks in the deep green woods of Lovedale and the troika comprising dad, mom and me would spend the evenings that ensued reading contently beside the fireside. Those were serene days of sweets and stuffed toys….

Then, the scenario changed. Simple, innocent pleasures of childhood vanished into thin air. But dad continued to be with me. We would have myriad debates and discussions, ranging from democracy to diplomacy; from Tamil autonomy in Sri Lanka to the trauma of global terrorism; from communism to communalism. He would always leave a powerful impression in my mind, constantly egging me to read and keep myself informed about happenings across the globe. He would tell me, “Read as much as you can and read discerningly so that you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

He supported me all the time- consoling me over lost marks and lost competitions, advising me to ignore petty comments made by peers, encouraging me to put my best foot forward in all my endeavours. There have been times when he would stay up late at night, just to ensure that I had company while I studied. I remember the quiet disappointment on his face when I did not do my best, and the equally quiet triumph when I made him proud….Dad, I love you so much!

As I try to make my way through the new, unfamiliar, at times turbulent environment, I think of the Headmaster and I realise that I have always been proud to be the Headmaster’s Daughter….

2 comments:

  1. Hi KS,

    I was wondering if should comment at the end of this wonderfully sentimental piece. I have decided to throw caution to the winds and comment. Yes,there were petty comments and cynical curling of lips... but you overcame every single detractor with your charm and sincerity. you won hearts, I heard - for I was not around much after you joined - for being you and not as the Headmaster's daughter. I have seen that the Headmaster had great pride in his daughter, a pride well justified. keep soaring higher...

    ReplyDelete

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Headmaster's Daughter

I slowly walked into the ninth grade classroom, an awful feeling of apprehension pounding hard in my heart- Would I be able to cope with the new environment? Will my lessons be easy? What if I could not make any friends? I had always been weary of moving to a new school, although I had shifted schools nearly five times before.

My mother coaxed me into adopting an optimistic approach, but a scintilla of skepticism emerged in my mind- the spark grew into a fire and all positivism in my mind was erased…. But, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My classmates were really friendly and I did not feel like an outsider. Then, a teacher came to the class. ”Ma’am, there is a new student in the class!” shrieked my excited classmates.

“Yes” the teacher replied “and she happens to be the new headmaster’s daughter. So unless you want trouble, better keep quiet!” The cat had been let out of the bag! This was the moment I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. I winced inwardly, due to a mixture of emotions- pride for my dad’s position, but also, the agony of being identified by this tag.

The days flew by quickly. By the grace of God Almighty, I began to carve out a niche for myself. My peers and teachers soon recognised me for who I was, not whose daughter I was. Nevertheless, I guess the tag always remained. There have been numerous instances where junior students would come up to me and ask if I really was the Headmaster’s daughter. I would nod, not knowing really what to say. After all, it was just coincidence that my dad was the Headmaster, right? Such questions would leave me annoyed because I felt it was not a big deal.

Whenever there was a problem for us students, some of them would say “Can’t you speak to your dad? He’ll surely listen to you!” These comments would make me indignant- As if each problem could be solved just by me speaking to dad! Once, on the occasion of the Headmaster’s birthday, a group of student leaders presented him a birthday card. Later at home, dad joked that he would be the first person on earth to pay for his own birthday card! Thus, my schooldays passed- I tried to move away from the “Headmaster’s Daughter” title and groaned whenever people referred to me by the same. Before I knew it, my schooldays came to an end –I had to pack my bags and move on….It was the first time I ever saw my dad break down.

Now, I am far away from home, from school, from the cosy familiar world. I think of the good old days- Dad teaching me to ride my bike, comforting me over a bruised knee, cracking jokes to make me laugh. He would say, “Inch-me and Pinch-me went for a walk. Inch-me died, so, who’s left?” “Pinch-me” I would say, and he would promptly pinch me, leaving me only to yell away. Dad is primarily responsible for my avid interest in reading- He gave me my first book when I was three. It was the Ladybird Book for Three-Year-Olds. A string of numerous other books followed. We used to squabble over games of Scrabble. (Mom used to be the referee) - On one rare occasion when I won; he got me an abridged version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” as a reward. I still remember asking dad how wonderful it would be if we all dozed off for twenty years- free from trouble and tension ; an awesome, stress free period. Dad would take us for long walks in the deep green woods of Lovedale and the troika comprising dad, mom and me would spend the evenings that ensued reading contently beside the fireside. Those were serene days of sweets and stuffed toys….

Then, the scenario changed. Simple, innocent pleasures of childhood vanished into thin air. But dad continued to be with me. We would have myriad debates and discussions, ranging from democracy to diplomacy; from Tamil autonomy in Sri Lanka to the trauma of global terrorism; from communism to communalism. He would always leave a powerful impression in my mind, constantly egging me to read and keep myself informed about happenings across the globe. He would tell me, “Read as much as you can and read discerningly so that you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

He supported me all the time- consoling me over lost marks and lost competitions, advising me to ignore petty comments made by peers, encouraging me to put my best foot forward in all my endeavours. There have been times when he would stay up late at night, just to ensure that I had company while I studied. I remember the quiet disappointment on his face when I did not do my best, and the equally quiet triumph when I made him proud….Dad, I love you so much!

As I try to make my way through the new, unfamiliar, at times turbulent environment, I think of the Headmaster and I realise that I have always been proud to be the Headmaster’s Daughter….

2 comments:

  1. Hi KS,

    I was wondering if should comment at the end of this wonderfully sentimental piece. I have decided to throw caution to the winds and comment. Yes,there were petty comments and cynical curling of lips... but you overcame every single detractor with your charm and sincerity. you won hearts, I heard - for I was not around much after you joined - for being you and not as the Headmaster's daughter. I have seen that the Headmaster had great pride in his daughter, a pride well justified. keep soaring higher...

    ReplyDelete