When Mondays meant saris…
My first job after graduating was as a teacher at Jain International Residential School.
There were many other firsts:
It was my first time as a teacher. Studying a paper called ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ can in no way prepare you to meet a bunch of raucous 5th graders.
It was the first time I would be away from home. 24 is not the time to realize that you don’t even know how to make Maggi.
It was the first time I had to wear saris for work. Every day.
I had hastily taken one lesson from my adopted sister on the art of wearing a sari before setting off.
It wasn’t enough.
Which is why I would wake up at 5 am to get ready for the dining hall at 7 am. 2 hours. That’s how long it took to figure out the pleats and wraps and all that came with wearing a sari.
I would then stutter along, hoping the sari would stay in place, while trying desperately to look dignified and authoritative to students who knew more swear words than I did.
It was the most idiotic I had ever been in my professional life.
Thankfully, you had to only wear a sari for the morning classes. Come afternoon, I was free to wear “Indian kurtas.” The relief. 💃
I left the school after just 10 months. Was it the saris? Was it the repressive atmosphere in the school, where every action was questioned? Or just a friend urging me to travel with her? I don’t know.
I would teach for another 3 years in China, this time wearing jeans, before I gave up teaching altogether.
Almost 15 years later, in 2016, I went back to the school. (What was I doing with this hairstyle?)
Ironically with a student who is now one of my dearest friends. (𝘖𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘦 & 𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘦)
This time, I wore corduroys and smiled at the flow of memory.
𝗜 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀 – 𝘁𝘂𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆, 𝘄𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗮𝗽𝗵𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀, 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗜 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱, 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗮𝘆…