We drove out to Nandi Hills yesterday. We were craving the winds and the road, just something out of the regular. Somewhere on this beautiful afternoon as we drove past open lands and rose gardens, I was given a white marigold. As we drove back, I slid the flower into my hair, closed my eyes, my arms holding Zach tight as we both fell asleep.
I woke up suddenly to the memory of my mom and her long braided hair. Snuck into the braids were flowers – roses – pink, white, yellow, red; and so many other flowers I never cared to learn the names of. I wish I knew what they were.
The names don’t matter, though, the emotions are unforgettable. Her favourites were Jasmine back then. Few knew that.
They were a reminder of a time, when a teacher would walk into school, into her class, waiting to be greeted by excited kids, flowers in their tiny hands. You could separate a teacher from other professionals by the flowers in their hair, the notebooks in their arms and the candy in their hand bag. Oh and the red pens.
Or maybe that’s simply how I remember mom and her colleagues.
In the mornings, children would crawl into gardens and temple rooms, theirs and others, in the hope of a flower. A flower that would tell Miss how important she was, how much they loved her and that they thought of her through breakfast and before they reached the school gates. A flower would tell their friends their affection was the strongest, and if mam selected theirs for her hair, well, that just proved it!
That’s probably why mom would wear so many. Not to break any hearts.
On this beautiful evening, the white marigold, took me back to a time when my mom was loved immensely, when she was not just ours, but she belonged to so many of her children, some of whom I will never know.
Those days are long gone…for all the teachers across the world for whom classes no longer start with hugs and flowers, but hidden behind a screen. The love, the adoration, the devotion, Corona doesn’t however get to take that away, does it?
Happy Teacher’s Day!