Today is teacher’s day and when I think of teachers, what springs to mind is mom holding me with this big book on her lap reading out poems to me. I used to listen, fascinated as I looked at the page, dark blue sky, silver moon, birds flying home, a pony kicking up his heels and the words flowed like magic making that picture come alive. A year or two later, but still before I entered school, she gave me my first Enid Blyton book and told me to read it. I was fascinated and lost in the stories and magic about golliwogs and sniggly snoggly snoooks and toys that walk and talk and fairies and elves and gnomes.
Night times meant walks with dad to Talaopali. The lake was much bigger in those days, quieter too as Thane was not so populated. There were no buildings around the lake then, just narrow lanes with shady trees. No autos or cars polluted the place. A stray tonga passed by or someone cycling past waved a hand in greeting. I must have been around three or four at that time. Dad took the time to get some quiet time and steal a smoke. Mom took the opportunity to get me out of her hair while she dealt with winding down the house for the night without my constant questions.
Dad and I sat by the lake, sometimes alone, sometimes joined by some of dad’s friends. My questions were always nonstop. “Why was there light under the water?” “It was the reflection of the lamps around the lake” “But why did the light in the water wobble when the light on land didn’t?” “Because of the ripples” “What causes ripples?” “Do you think fairies live in the water and cause the ripples when they play?”
I really don’t know how they never stopped answering my questions. (They still haven’t. Maybe because I haven’t stopped asking!)
Back home it was Grandpa’s turn. He had this huge wooden chair out in the verandah. He would sit in it, fold one leg and put me on his lap and rock me to sleep singing the most ridiculous songs. Sometimes I would lie on his lap and look at the stars and ask him to tell me stories about them and he would sing me songs about people who had died and become stars. In the midst of all of that I would fall asleep and dream of fairies who caused ripples and then flew upto the moon to sit and swing there for a while and chat with the star people.
These are the lessons that stand me in good stead today,when things go wrong, when there are ripples.My parents and grandparents,they taught me to question, to look for answers and to expect them in the most unexpected places, like fairies under the water. They taught me to look both down and up and never stop wondering. They taught me that life is truly awesome! Full of magic! They are my true teachers!