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Nishi and I went to school together at the turn of the 90s. It was a convent run by Sister Andrea. I used to be terrified of Sister Andrea because she was known for being strict. Whenever I saw her from my classroom, I would notice her little finger sticking out as she spoke. She had some gray curls that would peek out of her habit. I was already a timid child, not very confident or social. The thought of flunking in Math or Science at school was a constant worry because I had just shifted from a CBSE school to an ICSE one. I found the standard of both Math and Science high in the convent when compared to my school back in Chennai. I don’t recall ever failing in any subject other than Bengali, but the fear of failure made me work hard as a child. I associated flunking a subject with shame and tears. I thought it meant one was stupid.

I did not want to be stupid. So, I studied every spare moment I had. We had a Bengali tutor Protima di who would come home and teach us Bengali. The late Bhola Nath Pande ji taught us kids Hindi. And we also had a math tutor. I needed these tutors since my mother tongue is Tamil and I had studied in a CBSE school. I had not been very studious in that school. I used to take it easy.

When I lived in Sahaganj, I felt alienated since I missed Chennai a lot. Those days, not many people made trunk calls. I never called my BFF back then in Chennai. I could have but I didn’t. I was trying to cope with all the changes in my life. And that took up all the time. Sometimes, I would burst into tears for no reason. I wouldn’t know why. Before my physics and chemistry exams, I would feel anxious and study hard. I was used to studying at the last minute, just the day before the exam until I arrived at SJC. Due to my tutors, I used to learn math, Bengali and Hindi whenever we had class. Until then, I had this notion in my head that tuition was for “weak students”. I don’t know where that came from. Today, I believe in hard work. Nothing just drops into one’s lap. It’s a lifelong process of learning that will hold you in good stead. Also, what does one do to fill the hours? Learning fills the gap beautifully. The motto of my high school was ‘Knowledge is Power.’ I’m happy that I embody that now. 

Nishi and I

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Aishwariya Laxmi

I’m Aishwariya. I’m passionate about writing, reading, marketing communications, books, blogging, poetry and editing. I’ve donned several hats, such as freelance journalist, copywriter, blogger and editor.


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