Our lives often move in circles and come back to the point from which a particular pattern started. My preferred choice of profession was the army. But into my fourth year of training I met with an accident, lost a leg and was boarded out. My former commandant, admiral Samson, helped in my rehabilitation and set up an interview for me with a shipping company.
I was selected and given an appointment letter with the proviso that I would join two years later provided I completed my graduation. I joined college in Srinagar. Two months into my studies, I was summoned to the principal's office. With him was a gentleman whom I knew to be a priest because he was wearing a cassock.
"How would you like to earn some extra pocket money?" It turned out that the gentleman was the principal of Tyndale Biscoe School. Their senior English teacher had left abruptly and they were looking for someone to help out till the new teacher. I accepted with some trepidation: the promise of extra pocket money was the deciding factor. From the moment I entered the class, I knew that I had found my calling. I went on to teach English for 47 long years.
Fifty-one years later, as an adviser to Yadavindra Public School Board, I was asked to accompany principals on a visit to a school to study the steps towards upgrading that it had taken. Yes, it was the Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar.
I was born in a sanatorium in a village called Jubbar. I was whisked away by my uncle as soon as I was born and so did not see anything more of Jubbar. But when I was seven, I came to study in a boarding school which was just 4 km away from Jubbar. I did go to the sanatorium, which was now boarded up, a couple of times, but with no definite feelings. Years later, I came back to head my old school and just before I retired, my uncle came up on a visit and together we went to the sanatorium, which was now a watch factory He established at the exact spot where I was born and I was, at last, bonded to the place.
I have always believed that as long as one is useful to others, one is still relevant to the world and to life. For the last three years, I have found my use as the editorial consultant for The Tribune. My assignment ends this month and I will be moving on to my next assignment. There is an ITI about 7km from where I live. It is a a well-equipped Institute with excellent instructors. But in spite of this, the employability of the children, when they graduate, is severely limited because they have no ability at spoken English. This is where I come in; I have been asked to help in this area. I am keenly looking forward to this assignment: the children, most of them, come from the village of Jubbar.