I was quite surprised today when I found out that my daughter’s school was closed for the Teachers Day, to day. We never had a holiday on Teachers Day and in fact it used to be a festive day in our special school. We always used to throw a surprise party for our teachers (although I’m pretty sure it was never a surprise for them due to all the conspiratorial hustle and bustle that persisted for a few days before the Teachers Day).
We also used to perform a skit for the teachers. So the second half of the school (after lunch break) was plain fun constituting of sweet and salty snacks, cold drinks (mostly ingeniously made cold drinks) and drama skit.
In our first building (it was just a “kothi” in Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi) didn’t have an auditorium or an assembly hall. There was this big front room that otherwise had three classes running simultaneously (with curtain screens acting as partitions) and whenever there was a big assembly or another occasion, we used to empty one corner class and turn it into a tiny stage and the remaining two classes were turned into the audience area. So whatever we wanted to perform, it had to be done in that limited space (with one of the bathrooms becoming the green room).
After the drama skit the main organizing party would rush to the school kitchen and prepare the snack plates placing sweets and namkeens as meticulously as possible. The school helpers (the maids and other attendants) used to provide us copious help as it was also a treat time for them. After all whatever was left went to them.
Preparation used to be the greater fun. We had a very relaxed study environment in our special school. On certain days, if we wanted to spend an extra hour on an extra activity, the teachers wouldn’t bother us. Not that it happened all the time, but during certain occasions, it was permitted. So for 4 to 5 days prior to the Teachers Day, we used to spend lots of time collecting money, deciding what to purchase and rehearsing the drama skit in the backyard. Different responsibilities would be assigned to different kids and notes were made. There was hectic running to and fro (or crawling) and avoiding of questions with uncontrollable giggles when asked, “Hey what are you guys up to?”
Some of our parents pitched in too. My mother would get some eatables on the previous day and pack them in such a manner that we would be able to open them in the school without spoiling them. Similarly, my friends’ mothers would do some shopping and packing and together we were able to organize charming Teachers Days.
After our school grew bigger and bigger (fortunately, for us, we had left by that time) these activities ceased to happen due to various logistical problems. From the Safdarjang Development Area kothi the school was shifted to a big building in Hauz Khas adjacent to Gulmohar Park, and then within a few years, from a school it turned into a rehabilitation center and then a research institute. Not a fragment of the old life exists there, but then this is the price we often have to pay for growth and greater good.