This is the story of a Gandhi Fellow Saanjuli Gupta who works with Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) schools in Mumbai. Saanjuli is about to complete his fellowship Journey and visiting schools for the last time as a fellow these days.
She wrote a very heart touching story after her last school visit. Now read the whole story in her own words.
Last school visit and surprise Party
I reached one of my school on 1st March 2017 at 12:00 am. Senior Teacher was surprised to see me because on call I have mentioned that I will come school on 2nd March. As they know it would be my last visit, so they have organized a surprise lunch party for me and staff on 2nd March. Anjali Mam asked me to come to school next day also, I agreed.
We had conversation about next year planning regarding class allotment to teachers and areas to be worked upon. After having conversation with her I went to my favorite classes 3rd and 4th. I love these kids more than anyone else in Gandhi fellowship journey. Gauri, Bhagyashree, Aanchal, Shweta Pawar, Shweta Upadhyay, Chaya, Onkar, Madan, Pawan, Yogesh, Ali, Ishwar and Tamata.
Children wanted to know “Why are you going?”
I told them that tomorrow would be my last day at school, so please inform other students to come to school so that we can meet last time. All kids shouted don’t go Didi. why are you going? when will you come again? where are you going? when we will meet again etc etc. kids always have many questions.
I asked them what you want to be in future and till which class you all will study. Some replied 10th whether some said 12th. I said to all of them to continue their studies till 12th class and then go for graduation.
Saanjuli said , “I will miss you all. You all were the apple to my eyes.”
I said, “I will call mam to ask whether you are continuing your studies or not, promise me you will continue studies at least till 12th.”All replied, “promise Didi.”
I told them story of a boy who always torn his pages and said that this is a real story. Most of them promised Didi we will not torn pages from today promise and we will stop others also.
At that point I was feeling bad because I somewhere I know that after some days we would not be in regular contact. I will miss them a lot. I left class with promise of coming on next day. I gifted one pen to Senior Teacher and asked for her permission to leave school. I left school with heavy feelings and emotions. I pray for their good future.
Children said, “Have Lunch with us”
Next day I reached school at 1pm. Teachers were arranging lunch, kids were shouting didi, didi. I brought toffees for kids and chocolate for teachers. Distributed them to kids and teachers. When I reached class 3rd and 4th, all kids came at the door and hold my hand to take me to the class.
After few dialogues I said, “I will come after lunch”. Aanchal called me, “didi please have lunch with us today for the last time”. I sat with them and had few bites. This was the only school in which I used to eat with kids.
After having lunch I said that I have to eat with teachers also, Shweta said, “ab didi teacher’s ke lunch me se bhi thoda-thoda khayengi”. Teachers had arranged tasty Marathi food for me. We all eat with love and fun.
‘I am proud of myself’
Anjali Mam said, “tu bhale hi choti hai, lekin tujhse maine bahut kuch seekha hai. Tune kal jo class ka suggestion diya tha usse mera kaam aasan ho gaya. So, thank you for the suggestion ab mai aise hi karungi. Ek aur baat, tum jesi aai thi aur ab jaiss ja rahi ho usme bahut positive change aaya hai”.
She took my help in learning online and excel work also. she is very active and always ready to learn something new. She was very happy that day after completing her excel sheet and said, “I am really proud of myself that I did my work by my own”.
‘It was Really Hard to to say good bye’
Padma mam said, “tujhme logo ki parakh hai, tu ab insan ko dekh kar samajh sakti hai who kaisa hai and you are one of the cute person I have ever met”.
These words made me reflect and I cried. I don’t know whether I have created any change or not but yes I have made best relations here.
After spending some time with kids, they gave me hand written letters also. I said good bye to them. Anjali Mam gave me one pen set and purse from her side. Shinde Mam gave one perfume and I also received one bag from school side.
Few moments- when I was distributing toffees some kids asked,” didi aaj aapka Birthday hai kya”, while Aditya Jha said, “didi retire ho rahi hain”.
Krishna 5th class said, “didi mahine me ek baar to school aana please”.
Pawan 4th class, “mai aapko kabhi pareshan nahin karunga, please mat jaao”. Pawan is one of my favorite kid.
We clicked photos and promised to come back one day before going from Mumbai. IT WAS REALLY HARD TO SAY GOOD BYE TO THEM. I will miss you all. You all were the apple to my eyes.
(Introduction of the Writer: Saanjuli Gupta is a Gandhi Fellow in Gandhi Fellowship Program of Piramal School of Leadership. Here she works as a leadership consultant to the headmasters. As an undergraduate, she started an initiative called, “Each one can Teach one”. At present, 35 regular students are part of it.)