I don’t know how to address you. It’s been ages since we last spoke or saw each other. I am not sure if you remember me or not. Our paths never crossed after those couple of beautiful years spent in the class together. But today, after 17 years, I realize that I still cherish the little moments spent with you. You were possibly the best that could have happened to the 13-year-old me. The teens just kicked in and I had got into a new school because of dad’s transfer.
One look at you got my heart racing. For reasons unknown, I still remember all about the first day in the class. When Principal ma’am was introducing me to the new class, the first thing I noticed were those two strands of hair slipping over your forehead trying to get into your eyes, and you immediately pushed them to the right with fingers brushing into the hair. My heart paced faster when Principal ma’am suggested a seat close to yours.
Since then, every morning, my eyes kept looking for you. If I caught you standing at the corner of a corridor, my fingers quickly brushed the hair. My right leg instantly lifted up and slid behind the left one to wipe the toes of the shoes clean. And the left leg would follow the same, too, while my hands hastily adjusted the skirt.
When in class, my eyes fixated on you even while talking to my friends. But the moment our eyes met, I would nervously look here and there or straight onto the blackboard, if nothing else. In fact, the nervous me always avoided eye contact or any kind of confrontation with you.
But how long could I escape? A week later, I remember, it was Monday, the day of confrontation. Immediately after the math test, while everyone was busy discussing the answers and the class was noisy enough to be called a fish market, a boy approached me with your message. You wanted to meet me at break time. But why didn’t you tell me directly? Why was a messenger sent? With a hundred questions bombarding my mind, the loud discussions turned into murmurs and slowed down into a buzz. With my heart in my mouth, I waited for the lunch break. Taking baby steps towards you, I was still wondering if it was necessary to talk. If only our eyes could speak for us.
Knocking the door I said, “Ma’am please may I come in?”
“Come in, Supriti.” Still frozen to the core, entering the teacher’s room was no more than a nightmare for me!
Gathering courage I continued, “You wanted to meet me, ma’am??!”
“Yes. I see a major problem in your answer sheet. You have correctly solved all the difficult problems. But the easier ones? You have committed such silly mistakes. You need to practice more and not be overconfident.”
Since then, you kept hammering me to practice more and more. Principal ma’am had suggested a seat closer to yours because I was the weakest in math till then. Everybody believed that Math wasn’t my cup of tea, but you made sure that I start loving math. It is you who made me score a 100 in math. But alas! You weren’t around to celebrate that victory. Dad had been transferred again.
But you weaved magic in my life in just a couple of years. I owe my success in all the competitive exams to you. 17 years back I was always scared of evn talking to you, but today, I am trying to reach out to you. Just to say thank you. Thank you for all the scoldings, all the motivations and all the extra efforts you put in to transform the math hater in me to a math loving person. Today, when I sit back, I am not sure if I should address you as Ma’am, counselor, guru, idol or mentor. You have been all of that and much more. Thank you for being a constant support and I repent never having realized it while being with you. Back then, all I had was fear of you, but today, I just have gratitude and love packed in my heart waiting to find its way to you.