Since this year Teachers’ Day was on a Sunday, we had the celebrations on Saturday, 4th September. The class 10 students officiated as teachers for the day. The day started early in the morning with knocking on my door by a couple of 10th std boys, who were officiating as the house parents of Indrayani dorm, where I live. I opened the door cautiously, expecting to get drenched or some other prank to be played on me, but was pleasantly surprised to see that they had brought me a cup of morning tea!

There was a long morning assembly, where the 10thies recited poems/songs(guldasta) about each teacher, and when the audience guessed the teacher, she or he would go to the stage and receive flowers and chocolates. I was given the honour of being the first teacher on the list!

After the assembly we teachers were divided into three groups, and we were to sit in two periods as students. One class was on poisons, and the other on Hollywood. We did all sorts of pranks which the children normally play on us, but we were reasonably good students overall! Each group had also been given a topic and asked to prepare a theatre improvisation for the evening’s cultural programme.

After the classes, we started working on our improvisation and the rest of the morning was spent in this manner. After lunch, some of us had to rehearse another skit based on a poem “The Hare and the Tortoise” from Beastly Tales by Vikram Seth. It’s a hilarious poem based on the good old parable, but with several layers of complexity, satire and humour added. (I played one of the tortoise’s three grandsons.)

Then at 3 pm there was a folk dance session with the teachers and the 10th std students. I had never done any dancing before and it was real fun to try and dance with the kids. It was extremely difficult and exhausting but we all had a great time!

Then we had tea and assembled again for the cultural eve. Most of the performances were by the teachers. Again I was given the honour to begin the programme with my flute recital. I attempted to play the Hamsadhwani varnam, but couldn’t do justice to it- I was really out of breath towards the end. But then I played decently and everyone liked it. Then we had other music performances by students and teachers, and then the plays. The improvisations were all full of humour, and the children really enjoyed seeing us teachers on stage! If I hadn’t been part of it, I couldn’t have imagined a group of adults being so light hearted!

As the last performance of the night, we had a sitar and tabla jugalbandhi, by Girish sir, the sitar teacher and Lakshman sir, the Hindi teacher who also teaches the tabla here. They played the rag Bhairavi- it was in a different class of its own, and many children were deeply touched by the performance.

At the end of the programme, many of the 10th std children were in tears as the realization began to set in that this was their last year here. When I went back to my dorm, I was surprised to see that the 4th and 5th boys were also crying. When I asked them, I realized that they thought the 10thies were about to leave school! They needed a lot of reassurance and comforting before they were convinced that the 10thies weren’t going to leave the next day. (I wonder what the farewell is going to be like…)

Despite the melancholy end to the day, it was a truly eventful and memorable day for me- my first Teachers’ Day as a teacher! In fact, when I got into bed and reflected on the day I had had, I couldn’t believe that I had woken up to receive a cup of tea from my students only that morning. It seemed so long long ago. So much had happened since then…