Mrs Krishna Budhiraja had just come back from London when her sister-in-law, Mrs. Indira Budhiraja, asked her if she wanted to teach in a school? The year was 1963 and Mrs. Budhiraja was 28 years old.
It was a lengthy selection process – from filling up the form, sitting for a test, going through an observation lesson and was finally an interview with Chachaji. I was told to be scared of him but when I finally met him, he was so nice. He put me at ease from the very start. He asked me why I had chosen to make teaching my career. “Well! It runs in my blood”, I said. My brother and my husband were lecturers. I had to teach. So, he asked me what I could do for the school? I told him I would do whatever it takes. “I love this profession.” I got my appointment letter after a week.
School in those days…
“I have seen a lot of Principals change over the years. I joined in 1963 under Mr. Bhagowalia. In 1968 I left school to have my second son, Sandeep. After a year when I joined back Mr. Madan was the Principal and then finally I worked under Mrs. Pillai. “When I joined MIS it was in its infancy. The classrooms were small and roofs would leak. I remember the day it rained it used to be declared a holiday. Once it rained so hard that my slippers were swept away in the water while crossing the road. I reached home barefooted. Of course, the children enjoyed every moment of it,” she added.
What impressed her the most
Talking about the most impressive thing in school, Mrs Budhiraja’s prompt reply was – the morning Assembly. “Believe me, after sitting through that half hour I never felt the need to do any other ‘Puja Path’. I have seen so many other schools but that atmosphere is missing. I guess that is what makes MIS so special and the best. They keep you connected to your roots, to the Indian culture. I used to sing all the songs with full enthusiasm and at the top of my voice. I loved that.”
Journey Through School
Tracing her career graph she remembered, “Throughout my teaching career I spent maximum time teaching class III. I think that class is really critical as children are not put under any burden till Class II and then in Class III suddenly they have to follow a time¬table. There are different teachers for different subjects. It is serious work from then on. I have taught all subjects except science as I come from an Arts background.”
There was just one thing that bothered her at that time. Competitions would lead to discouragement among the ones who did not make it. Teachers did try their best but parents would come and complain. “I like how the system has changed now. Now every child gets to participate and gets a fair chance at winning. Now the competition is healthy. It is not just about studies anymore. And I strongly believe in the philosophy of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo that every child is different and a teacher’s work is to discover the hidden talents of the child and give him opportunities to develop them and excel in them.
Chachaji The Guide
Another thing she loved about Chachaji was the monthly ‘Long Meeting’ he held for all the teachers. “The meeting would start with his speech and then he would tell us how to keep the school clean. He would then take us for a round of the school and physically pick up bits of paper and show us dirt. He taught us to teach by example. Make duty charts for children and ensure they follow it, he said.”
Dedication for work
I loved my work and did it with full dedication. Once a colleague’s daughter was told to participate in a recitation competition at a short notice. Both mother and daughter were convinced that it was not possible but I took it up as a challenge. I took the girl home with me after school and made sure she knew the recitation by heart by next morning. She won the third prize.
Her dedication for her profession shows when she lovingly recalls how she used to tell the children that reading books was equivalent to remembering God. They would sleep with their book under their pillows. Their parents used to be extremely happy when their children would show good results. “There were also some children who would not eat their tiffin and I would take a small bite from their food and act like I loved it. That would do the trick,” she adds with a smile.
“As I grew old I started needing a cushion to put behind my back whenever I would sit down. Now in an effort to please me the students would fight for carrying the cushion from class to class. I kept telling them I did not need assistance but that fell on deaf ears. They even used to call me ‘gaddi wali ma’am.’ It was quite embarrassing.”
The things she loves about the school now the reduction of pressure on the children now. “Apart from that – the building is so impressive especially with this new auditorium coming up” She loves the new uniform that has been introduced for the girls. She feels it was required.
Life after MIS
Mrs. Budhiraja retired in 1995 and is remembered by most of her colleagues as a completely positive and dedicated person. So dedicated that on the day of her farewell party she had to be asked to leave teaching and attend the function.
Mrs. Budhiraja’s younger son, Sandeep Budhiraja, and her eldest grandson are MIS Alumni while Sandeep’s two children are still in school. “This is a family school,” she said. “Ek apnapan lagta hai“. I feel delighted when I hear people talking about MIS as the best school in Delhi because I know it is.
After retirement Mrs. Budhiraja has taken on full responsibility of her home which she shares with her two sons and their families. “I taught with my heart and I left school contented and fully satisfied. I don’t have lust for money. I would rather spend time with my grandchildren than take coaching classes.”
Remembering Mrs. Indira Budhiraja
She was a very lively person. In fact she was heavy and I was thin so teachers would teasingly tell us that they would use us for teaching opposites. She was a great dancer too. She would dance to popular Hindi numbers whenever we went out on picnics and had to be asked to stop. Mrs. I Budhiraia retired from MIS in 1996
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