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Just a phone call away (as cliché as it sounds, it is true)

I am an elementary teacher (aka zookeeper) and I love my job to no bounds. My kids are super cute and caring and even though they are mischievous, I can barely scold them. Thinking about my children going to grade two in June, I thought, I should be more prepared for their next year, with all the meticulous planning that I was mentally prepared for and with the available resources, I decided to have my unit plan ready. Post lunch, I decided to make charts and prepare myself to the fullest. Thinking about the objectives I would teach and the props I would take in class, I slowly wandered off into the bubble of benefits of being a teacher.  Drowning in thoughts and memories of my Year 1 fellowship, I could not wait to get into the classroom and be welcomed with warm smiling faces and long hugs with – yaay! didi aagayi, (Didi has arrived) playing in the background.

Being an impulsive person that I am, without any thoughts, I picked up my phone and dialed my favourite kid, Annapurna! ( Yes, I have a favourite, no judgments please). Part of me wanted to cut the call, not knowing what to say, part of me wanted to talk to her for hours. A little nervous, I stood by the window (so nobody in my house would hear me.) I was greeted with a warm kaise ho didi? (how are you didi) by annapurnas mother. We had a long detailed conversation about the weather, the dilemma she has about her children’s future, her nieces wedding, what she made for lunch and about her shopping experience with her family. I was too overwhelmed with her trying to speak to me like a friend. I was happy, maybe because I missed it, or maybe because I wasn’t expecting any of this. It was beautiful talking to her. After a long 45-minute chit chat about almost every other topic, I shyly asked her, Didi Annapurna hain? (Is Annapurna there?). To which she chuckled and said, one minute. A looong 20 seconds pause later, I heard her sweet little voice, even before I could say Hello, how are you?, what are you doing? have you finished your homework? And 45678 more questions, she said “Didiiii (laughing and giggling) aapki yaad ati hain!” (Didi, I miss you) That’s it, there it was, that crippling moment you feel when you are overjoyed with something. I was smiling like a maniac, but being the teacher, I composed my emotions and told her I felt the same way. We had a 20-minute conversation about her homework, her toys, the wedding she went for and what she wore, that she danced in the rain yesterday and how her mother doesn’t give her many chocolates. I listened to her very carefully and tried to memorize every detail of her vacations. I told her school will reopen on 15th June, and I don’t want you missing school at all. To which she agreed and continued talking about her sister, her new new clothes and what she had for lunch.

Flabbergasted with the speed at which she was changing topics, I asked her to finish her homework and not trouble her mother. Her voice mellowed down to say yes, continued with a pause leading to an invitation to come home. I told her, we (me along with my other fellows) will surely come to your house once school started. She laughed again and said, okay didi! After saying ‘bye’ for three times I cut the call.

As soon as I kept the phone, I thought thank god for technology! I can carry my own box of happiness wherever I want and avail it as much as I please. If only I could tell her how much I wanted to be with her right now and how much being her teacher has changed me. Just as cliché as it sounds, my box of happiness is just a phone call away.

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