Mrs. Dave stood in front of the school gate and a wave of warmth swept through her body. Oh, how she missed this hustle and bustle; kids sprinting to their buses for the best seats, hassled teachers trying to mind them, helpers hurriedly recceing the area for anything left behind, and parents anxiously attempting to spot their wards from the school gate. While she, the Principal Ma’am, stood tall at the balcony on the first floor, her vantage point and favourite spot to quietly monitor her turf.
It had been four years since Mrs. Dave had retired but this school in her neighbourhood never let her feel away from that life. The school bell was audible loud and clear in her bedroom and she often found herself matching its time with her wall clock, silently tut-tutting if it was off by even a few seconds. Old habits die hard, don’t they? She liked having her lunch while listening to the commotion of kids out on the playground during their break. Approvingly for her, the school gate was locked to keep them inside.
Mrs. Dave’s son and daughter-in-law left for work early every morning and returned home late at night. Mumbai traffic claimed both life and time, after all. They had arranged a live-in help to ensure that she was cared for, much against her fraught refusal. Anita, the help, was a vivacious twenty-year-old, with an appetite for movies, gossip, and nail paints. Mrs. Dave admonished her repeatedly for her celebrity obsession, nosing around and inelegant choice of shades; slutty red, garish black, eyesore yellow, and dirty green. This led to Anita flouncing off, for a couple of hours at times. She always returned on time for Mrs. Dave’s meds though.
A loud horn brought Mrs. Dave out of her reverie. She had no recollection of how and when she left her home and came and stood in the middle of the road. Disgusted with herself for stepping out in a maxi, she was further confounded to see heavy shopping bags in her hands. What was she doing there? Wasn’t Anita responsible for buying stuff for the house? Where was she? Had she taken off again? Also, why wouldn’t people stop screaming and asking her to move!
Suddenly Anita appeared in front of her, huffing and puffing and visibly distraught. She sweepingly checked if Mrs. Dave was hurt and gently took her aside, relieving her from the weight of the bags. While a perspiring Mrs. Dave sat on a bench and haltingly sipped from the water bottle Anita got for her from a store, she looked around quickly, to see if anything had been taken. Once relieved, she sat next to her and reassuringly held Mrs. Dave’s hand. Tired but comforted, she smiled back gratefully.
Widowed at a young age, Mrs. Dave started showing signs of Alzheimer’s soon after her retirement. Due to her authoritative and independent nature, she had declined to move in with her son for the longest time. However, a couple of serious health and safety scares later it wasn’t her choice. Anita knew her condition and dedicatedly looked after her but wasn’t without her vices either. She had been creating inflated bills with the help of the grocer and Mrs. Dave had heard her talk with him on phone today.
She had left angrily to return his things, locking Anita in while she was visiting the washroom, when the school gate distracted her and she forgot where she was headed. Incidentally, it was dispersal time and she got caught in the restless moving crowd. Looking at Mrs. Dave’s lost eyes now, Anita felt a pang of guilt. She had to confess to her employers and ask for their forgiveness. They might get upset and ask her to leave but it was a small price to pay for the risk Mrs. Dave had been in due to her. True, the old lady gave her grief but she was a teacher, and even in her disoriented state she had taught her a life lesson today. Honesty.
This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Make a Wish Box.
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27 thoughts on “The School Gate #BlogchatterBlogHop”
You have brought out the human emotion of identity so well. We can forget everything but what defines our soul. Anita learned her lesson on time, before she could do more damage. That was a positive end.
This was so well written and very interesting. Your words truly painted a picture in my head.
Beautiful story and love the way you penned it. The whole story was in front of my eyes. I can imagine Mrs. Dev and her emotions. Too good.
I simply loved the post and your writing. In what a nuanced manner a topic as grave as Alzheimer’s and dishonesty was treated against the backdrop of a school and its memories? Old habits do die hard and subconsciously always takes us to where our heart belongs.
Beautiful story. I loved how you incorporated her Alzheimer’s with the realities of life. People tend to take advantage of people at their worst.
Your story literally gave me goosebumps. Memories and habits are something that we can’t let go off. We want to have them till our death. here, too I feel the teacher portrayed you mentioned she kept alive the school memories through a different school which kept her so lively.
There are few stories which are short yet so meaningful and touchy. This story from your pen is one among them which deserves a round of applause. I can understand what trauma a person need to go through when become a victim of Alzheimer. I really feel sad to say that yes by father is at present in this stage and realizing what he is doing and who are people surrounding him turns difficult for him to realize. Thank you dear Vandana for gifting us this chance to read a brilliant penned piece of work from you.
This a beautiful story. Loved the way you have written this. Great positive ending.
Lovely story, Varsha. Soon to be a reality for most of us.I pray we escape from this scourge of old age.
Loved it Varsha… the story line, the style of writing, the choice of words and how the paragraphs flow seamlessly… beautiful❤Looking forward to more.
I always enjoy reading your fiction pieces, Varsha. You tell it like it is. The different threads were combined together really well.
A teacher is believed to teach at all time and this one has taught a lifes lesson. Good story it was more like a movie in my mind
Goosebumps!! I like the way the story ends, “True, the old lady gave her grief but she was a teacher, and even in her disoriented state she had taught her a life lesson today. Honesty.” this is so true for all teachers, isn’t it?
Wow, your story had me hooked from beginning to end! I loved the plot twists and unexpected turns. Your writing style is so engaging – I felt like I was right there in the story with the characters.
Misted my eyes reading this one! Especially loved the ending. And you write so beautiful, Varsha 🙂 Looking forward to reading more content from you
Such a beautiful short story and the emotions are so well captured! It is rare to find people who truly care for elders. Iam sure Anita’s honest confession and genuine care will see her through.
So well written, loved the narrative and felt I could visualise the story while reading it. Great Varsha!
What a wonderful way to learn honesty. Beautiful read. Deep down, Anita too had some conscience and thankfully she realised before Mrs Dave got harmed.
Even after retirement the memories and thoughts always remain with the person who experience it. Memory loss being a part of the story well written.
Varsha, this is such a well written, poignant tale. You clearly have a way with words. I absolutely loved the plot, the character builtup and the ending was so emotional too. Honesty is one virtue that we must never compromise and Mrs. Dave in her state had taught young Anita.
I liked how you developed Mrs. Dave’s characters. The symptoms, the human nature—how beautifully you portayed the story. Amazing.
I am touched by your story. Beautifully penned with a nice backdrop of school and old habits. Loved the ending and lesson in morality.
Thanks for bringing awareness around Alzheimers and vulnerability. Loved the ending and lesson in morality.
This story really reminds me of my aunts who’s been a teacher all their life. You have made this story really interesting and relatable. Having someone with Alzheimer’s isn’t an easy. I guess there’s much more awareness that we could spread about this matter for more people to be more knowledgable about it.
Loved the portrayal! I was actually imagining Mrs. Dave standing near gate. Very vivid picture was printed in my mind of how a Alzheimer patient still connects with the deepest memory and in this case it was the school gate.
Wonderful! Very much enjoyed this 🙂
It is a different kind of love, care and understanding between Mrs. Dave and Anita for sure. well portrayed such unique love.
Beautifully written. I could see the visuals when reading. Sometimes some memories wont let them off our head