When I was asked to write an article for our own batch memoir, I thought to myself, “that’s simple, should be easy” – but when I actually got down to putting pen to paper, I found it to be tougher than drafting a petition in a complex and challenging case or even structuring a complex corporate deal! My first memories of The Mothers International School (MIS) were those associated with my mother teaching in MIS, while my sister and I were students of DPS-Mathura Road — this was when I was in Class IV. After our return to India 2 years later, our parents decided that we needed to be in MIS, where my mother rejoined MIS as a teacher in the primary section. And what a decision it was and turned out to be. Little did we know that our association with the school would span over 3 decades and as many generations, with my mother teaching, my sister and I passing out, my sister coming back to teach at MIS and then her children also coming back to study in the same school albeit briefly!
The school in those times was surrounded by very quaint locales – with heavy green covers, well spread out campus, mysterious gullys leading in and out of nowhere or connected with the Ashram, red bajri laid pathways and tin roof sheds, which would interestingly leak during the monsoons -providing much comic relief for some of us, who would be looking for an excuse not to concentrate in class!
Non-conformist, I always was…even at home, I was the black sheep of the family. Mom was well regarded and an experienced teacher and my sister was competing in academics for top honours in her batch, as opposed to me, who was least bothered about such trivia! For me, athletics and sports, meeting friends, music, bulletin board display competitions, participating in plays and excelling in all kinds of extra¬curricular activities were far more important and sacrosanct. Again, not difficult to notice the conspicuous absence of any connection with books!
Believe it or not, my passion for sports and in particular basketball is what carried me through and even helped me getting admission in a decent college in Delhi University! But that’s another story.
Eventually, books and creative intellectual thinking caught up with me in a big way and I landed up being perpetually surrounded by books and papers, when I (of all the people!) became a lawyer (of all the professions!), where reading and serious thinking was a prerequisite! To top it all, after practicing law for 8 years in India and abroad, I took a sabbatical to study further and procure my dual qualifications as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales. In recent years, I always remember Mrs. Pillay looking at me with sheer amazement, muttering to herself, ‘wonders never cease’!
If I had to make a collage of all of these memories associated with the school, which are crystal clear and vivid even now – it shall certainly feature all the fun times spent with the evergreen, suave and smooth operator Mr. Bhalla, the artistic Mr. Bose, the strangely athletic Mr. Ghai, the classy Ms. Kiran Seth and Ms. Kiran Mahindroo, the one and only Ms. Poonam Jubbal, the helpful and ever smiling Rawat Sir (lab assistant then), the ever patient Ms. Anima Chandra, and the list goes on. Thank you all for all your patience and guidance through the years!
The athletics meet with Ms. Surender Sharma giving a running commentary on the public address system on who was leading the 5000 meters race and who was trailing and trying to overtake the leader (that too in her trademark chaste Hindi!) is clearly etched in my memory, not to mention Karim Sir with his gentle style of coaching TT.
It would not be out of place to thank all the teachers who taught us through the years. A special mention of Mrs. Mukherjee who taught me the fine nuances of the English language (why, while referring to the weather, not to say ‘its so hot’ instead say ‘its so warm’ or that we don’t ‘eat lunch’ but ‘have lunch’!). I would also like to especially call out and thank Gulshan Sir for all the affection, guidance and support during the last and crucial years of school when basketball was nothing short of my whole life itself then! Thank you Mrs. Pillay for being the perfect Principal and to Mr. Shekhar for instilling the much needed sense of discipline in me!
Last but not the least, I never can thank my parents enough for their decision to shift us to MIS – the school that gave us perfect grounding, value systems, education and training required to stand independently in life and society.
Needless to say, the school was and remains very close to my heart – very special and dear. The most impressionable years of my schooling were here and I have cherished every moment of it. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of this esteemed organization.
Undoubtedly, our school is un-paralleled for its unique value system platform it provides and the sense of calm that it instils even today makes it truly a class apart. Being exposed to the philosophy of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo added an entirely new dimension in our lives and in our overall development. It is certainly not without a reason that the school is where it is today and has held the highest position for so many years now. It has been rated the best school in surveys conducted by various organizations. Go MIS!