I can’t forget Azra Miss. The day she held me and started howling. I didn’t know how to react. I remember asking her repeatedly what happened. She was inconsolable. Raghu and Ashok came along, and asked her again, she was still inconsolable. Then she looked up at us and asked, “Why can’t you all put in more effort and study well?” We were so stunned. We stared at her, then at each other. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but we reassured her we would study well…that calmed her. All of us had a mixed feeling that day. Azra Miss was very progressive – at a time when Muslim women were not allowed to study, leave alone stepping out for work, she started a school in Chikmagalur. As the founder and principal of Mountain View it was important to her that we studied well. Her crying probably made a bigger impact than if she had simply yelled at us. It made us take classes seriously at least for a few days – or may be a few hours. But the lesson that stayed with me was – pouring your heart out is better than screaming your lungs out.
Being home is great when you are away for a long time – that’s the one advantage of studying in a boarding school. School days were fun, but the time I used to visit home was even better. When I came home for the holidays, Amma used to shower all her affection on to my plate. How I loved that attention. I would play cricket all day with friends, come home dripping in sweat, notwithstanding the breezy weather, and mother would tell us a dozen times to wash our hands and feet before laying the mat on the floor and serving curd rice and pickle.
I was very depressed when I didn’t clear the NDA entrance. After NCC, I was so sure that I wanted to be in the army. I didn’t know what life had in store but that day it felt like nothing in life would make me as happy as being in the army. I wanted to fight for the country.
Instead, here I was, studying economics at S