Editor’s Note: This month, that is August 2020, FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth is Campus Experiences, where we invite various articles to highlight the diverse range of encounters we often confront when we are a part of any educational institution or space for learning be it schools, universities, colleges, tuitions and home. If you’d like to share your article, email us at email@example.com.
Posted by Geetha Murali
Alarm at 5. Alarm at 5:05. Another snooze will ruin the entire day which already is bound to be hectic enough. A woman’s day starts as early as 5 or even before that; irrespective of when her previous day ended. Rushing through the morning chores, cooking for the family, giving the kids a bath, feeding them, packing lunches and snacks and water bottles, dropping them at school, honking and screaming through the sluggish traffic, one reaches the college just to find that the attendance register has already left to have a chat with the head of the institution. “Damn! Missed it by a minute!”
Well, one can only console oneself saying, “The Queen is never late! Everyone else is simply early!” Chuckles!!!
A woman is late because of so many reasons – a failed alarm, spilt milk, piled dishes, wailing child, an adamant scooter that wouldn’t start, and of course traffic. But a man’s reason is simple – traffic. This is unfair. “See! That and all is not my problem. You should manage previously and come on time!,” the Principal’s warning hides discreetly behind his shaky English. One’s inner self is in ROFL mode; but the physical self can only nod, shake and mumble a sorry. Sorry for the delay that day, the next day and all the days to come. One day he would realize ‘that and all’ is not proper English, and one might probably be early to work.
Just as the bell goes to announce the beginning of the day, another rumbling bell goes off deep inside one’s stomach. Just like the alarm, a woman’s hunger always has a snooze button. It can wait; for an hour or two. Two hours of back to back snooze on one’s hunger does funny things to one’s body. How can an empty stomach urge the bowels to be freed! At last, the bell goes, bringing the hour to an end. Now is the time to free the urging bowels before hastily gobbling down the breakfast that might have gone cold, all mixed up, who knows! “Ma’am! I have a doubt!” quips a small voice.
One of the studious ones unknowingly hits the snooze button again. Five minutes of the fifteen minute break is already over. One hurries down the corridor towards the washroom only to hear the housekeeping staff announce, “Thanni illa ma!”(There is no water!) Déjà vu! The college where one previously worked too had water problems quite frequently. Why do colleges always face water problems? A kind colleague suggests using the washroom near the canteen. The bell goes, and so does the break. Luckily the third hour happens to be free; free to grab a brunch. Heaven knows what one packed in the tiffin box. ROFL!!!
The last class of the day is an exciting session not only for the students but also for the staff. No more sermons! The last session is actually the most interactive of all, and one can catch the students totally off guard. They usually bring a lot of information like who is in love with whom, which gang of boys hit their class boy, who the hottest on campus is, which staff is to be watched out for and so on.
Finally when the bell goes, the last piece of information that one gets is, “Ma’am, you know, that Sir from so-and-so department, he always tried to come very close to us when we talk. His eyes wander all over us! Irritating!” Heart skips a beat and the inner voice reproaches, “I’m an idiot! I have always smiled at that fellow not knowing this!” One hurries off to the staff room not wanting to think more on it. YIKES!!!
Finally it is time for the staff to leave. A red “P” sits in the place of the signature that was missed in the morning. One of the two permissions for the month already gone. One kick-starts the scooter and heads home dreaming about lunch that one can relish without having to worry about anything. Home at last! One enquires the in-laws if they finished lunch and gets a comment instead of a reply. “The rasam had nothing in it. That’s the only thing I eat!” A deflated being simply gobbles up lunch with the inner voice commenting, “Something is wrong with my taste palate. Rasam seems fine!” SIGH!!!
The late afternoon and evening is spent bringing the kids back home from school, feeding them, helping with the homework which one wouldn’t have dreamt of doing it again in life ever (Ewwww Math!), taking them to extra activity classes, making tea for the entire family but forgetting to drink a cup for oneself and getting the dinner ready.
“Mom! My colour pencils are missing!” screams a child.
“Can you get my appraisal papers for the previous years from the file?” asks the husband.
“My spectacles are nowhere to be found!” complains the in-law.
“WAHHHHHH” bawls the little one waiting to be put to sleep.
Amidst all the chaos and lost-and-found cases, the clock shows 11pm. With the whole household asleep, the ma’am in one’s self awakens. There were new lessons to be taught the next day. The day finally is brought to a close a few minutes past midnight.
From being a mom to being a ma’am and back to being a mom, the day closes only as a ma’am, for a teacher. No sickness has ever allowed the teacher in one self to rest, nor has a day off kept one’s mind off the set of eagerly waiting students. One is always a Mom, Ma’am and more.
Geetha M is a a happy mother of two extremely naughty kids. She hasworked as an Assistant Professor with a couple of private colleges in Chennai for about 6 years. Having seen different types of young minds, she has always been able to update herself with the ongoing trends. She has a few publications to her credit including a collection of poems, short stories and quite a few research articles. She can be reached on Instagram.
Featured Image Source: Feminism In India