I am sharing a small, yet the most important part of my life, with you. You may think “What the dickens have we got to do with her life?” After all, even I used to think the same way when I was a child but sometimes other’s lives can be interesting depending on how you see it.

I can’t forget the date. It was January 25th, 1987. The temperature was around 5 degree Celsius in Moradabad, my hometown, in India. I was wrapped up in my quilt, feeling warm and cozy when somebody pulled me out of my warm cocoon. This heartless creature was the one and the only person who dared do this – MOM!

” Get up, its time to get ready for school.”

Oh! How I hated that moment. Every morning I would beg her to give me two minutes of extra sleep but in vain. It would be easier to extract money from a miser! One had to get up THEN and not two minutes later. This was a routine exercise. School was as usual – sometimes boring, sometimes happening, but there was something that I looked forward to as soon as I got back from school.

Letters! The postman was a real important person in my life. Everyday I would wait for him patiently. All of us knew what I was expecting.

My father’s clinic was on the ground floor. In order to conserve his energy, the postman used to give all the letters, personal and official to my father downstairs including mine. As usual one day after returning from school, I inquired about the post from the compounders (male nurses) downstairs in the clinic.

One new chap, whom dad had employed recently, told me that he had slid all the letters into my father’s cabin from beneath the door.

“Where are the keys to papa’s room?” I inquired.

Going to School
Going to School [Illustration by Shiju George]
“Doctor Saheb has the keys and he is out for a while,” he said.

I could not wait till dad got back. I just had to see the post after all there was something very very important that I was expecting. So, I used my brains! My father’s cabin was eight feet high with a two feet gap between the wall and the ceiling. With the help of a chair and a stool I managed to look into his cabin.

There were a few letters lying on the floor. Some were from pharmaceutical companies; others were insurance policies that I had just heard about. As my eyes scanned through each letter, my heartbeat grew faster. If only my cardiologist father listened to my heart then! And then Ah-ha! I saw something that made my heart skip a beat.

It was a brown envelope partially hidden under the pile. I could not read anything from that distance but something on the envelope caught my eye. There was an image of a bird on the envelope and I knew without a second thought what it was.

My wait had ended. It was a letter from WELHAMS, the residential boarding school at Dehradun.

Now, my heart was skipping two to three beats at a time. I climbed the wall of the cabin, jumped on to the examination table and then on the floor. Quickly I picked up the letter, examined it carefully. With a little prayer to God I opened the envelope. As I opened the letter my heart went THUMP-THUMP loudly and a mini swarm of butterflies fluttered about in my tummy. I felt goose pimples on my arms and tears in my eyes.

I had been selected!!! I let out a war whoop!

I made my way back the same way and ran upstairs screaming. Before my mother could react, she saw the letter in my hand and stretched out her arms.

“Congratulations,” she exulted hugging me tightly.

The excitement of going to Welhams was so high that I even forgot that the trauma of getting up in the mornings would be worse. There one had to get up at 5.30 a.m for exercises.

Within the hour everyone knew that I had been selected for Welhams. Except my father.

I waited for him desperately. At about 5 p.m I heard a car horn. I could recognize the sound of his horn even at a distance. At once I ran downstairs. I did not even give him a chance to park his car.

“Papaaaaaaaaa..aa.!” I came like a toofan mail, shouting. He was puzzled and immediately got out of the car. Before he knew it I was hugging him tightly and crying.

“What happened bacche (kiddo)?” he asked me worriedly.

“I made it papa, I made it.”

My father pulled me away from him, gave me the warmest look and hugged me again.

Soon both of us were in tears!