I always used to say life is uncertain. Today I experienced it.
Mrs. Bindra was my mother's colleague and a comrade. We lived just one block away from her place, so during those inconvenient times where the school bus drivers refuse to pick you up, my mother and she went together on a three wheeler to school.
I was very young when I came to know who Mrs. Bindra was. I was young and juvenile, so said hello and went away. Later, when I was in 5th grade, auditions for a school play were going on. I was scribbling something on a piece of paper when she and another teacher called me. During those days, I had a very arrogant image in front of everyone. ( Though I fail to know why, I don't care anymore. ) S-o, they asked me if I was comfortable on stage. I was not. I had a horrible stage fear. But then, Mrs. Bindra without asking me declared that I could play the role of an arrogant princess very well. And I did. That stage show earned me 3 awards in different categories - including the best female lead performer. Somehow, when I reminisce now, She managed to reduce my stage fear quite a bit.
And then, when was in class 7th, a competition called spin a yarn took place, on occasion of our school's 25th anniversary. On stage, we had a fabricate a story out a line. The topic was not among what I like, it was on trekking. I was dumb stuck. My stage fear overpowering me again. There were all eyes on me. I couldn't utter a word. I mustered some courage, blabbered a few words and well, passed the baton to my next partner. Then and there, I saw disappointment in Mrs.Bindra's eyes but she didn't say anything. The next I heard of her, she had retired from the school. She had cancer, so had an early retirement. Her body was fragile and pale.
Not everyone is kind to you. When we went to her place to meet her, I thought she would make fun of me in front of her family. But she didn't. I realized soon that that the incident of my stage fear was nicely an firmly shut in a drawer, never to be opened again. I smiled and she kissed me.
A few meetings had me completely in awe of her.
The last time I talked to her, ever in my life, she told me, " We have high hopes on you, Beta." I went to her place today, to show I had lived upto her trust. How like her, I too had chosen my love for literature than anything else. I too, like her, was going to teach English someday. But then, like a horrible nightmare, we saw people in front of her house. When asked, they told us " She died. " My hands and feet responded so quickly that I don't know what happened. Next moment, I was standing besides her lifeless body, numb. I never had the chance to say anything to her. Never had time enough to thank her for her silent encouragement always. Though she never taught me English, She taught some basic stuff in my life. Benevolence, Silent love and being there, always.
A very close relative told me that it is not the physical body you love, it is the soul. Soul is still around us. It is energy, not going anywhere. So If I wanted to say anything to her, she would listen.
So here's to you Mrs. Bindra, I always wanted to say I love you for what you are. You are one courageous woman I have seen, battling cancer three times, winning the battles ( not just the last time) Your love and affection shall always be cherished, You will be missed. I am going to teach my students just like the way I heard you did, so that they remember me too, long after I am gone. I know you are hearing me write this, because here, believe it or not, I see tears in your eyes and smile on your lips, calling me your bachcha. I will never EVER let you down, whenever from now on, I would ever be sad, I would remember your words, " We have high hopes on you, beta. " Farewell, Have a good new life. Fulfilling like this one with less sufferings. I love you. Good bye.