Jun 3, 2011

Little Jammy went to school

My life did not have a perfect start. In fact, had it not been for my mom's observative eyes and ears, I would not have been ended up here in IIT Madras, working on one of the most challenging problems of my time.

It was in the winter of '84 when my mom took me to the nearby church school for admission. I was two years and one month old then!

"We don't have a separate classroom for Pre.K.G students, ma'am. But your son is too young to be put in with the L.K.G students", said the sister, a nun, who is also the headmistress of the school.

She knows I do not have many kids to play around near my home, and so I had to be put up in school so that I get to play and socialize with new friends of my age. But that just did not happen! Dejected, my mom held my hand and took me back home.

Back at home, I was left to play on my own, while my mom went on to mind her cooking and housekeeping business. Sitting in the room's corner where I was allowed to play under watchful eyes from my mom, I mumbled something which I think was A, B, C, D...

"You recited all the alphabets, numbers from 1 to 100 and most of the Tamil and English nursery rhymes in the next 6 months", recalled my mom, when I met her recently and was discussing my brother's two-year-old daughter's education. "However, you were not given an admission even in the following April of '85!"

"Your son did not write any alphabet today and does not seem to know any numbers at all ma'am" complained the sister to my mom. "Maybe", she continued, "it's too early for him. I would suggest you wait for one more year before you can put him in school. He is just two and a half years old now!"

"We do not have a choice but to turn down your application once again. We are sorry for your kid, but we will surely admit him next year", the sister said that in an assured voice.

There were about 25 to 30 parents then, waiting to get their kids admitted to the school on that day, recalled my mom. And she did not like the idea of asking me to wait for one more year.

"Why should you be asked to wait for one more year, when you are able to recite all the alphabets and numbers and most of the rhymes which even the L.K.G kids are not capable of?" My mom must have asked me that question then.

I do not exactly remember what happened then, but my mom recalled the following:
"I know you would not let me down. I know you will write all the alphabets and numbers to me. Son, will you do it now? In front of all these people who think that you do not know anything?"
Asking me thus, my mom took a slate and a chalk, made me sit on her lap and told me to write. Like a magic, I started writing A, B, C till Z, and then 1,2,3 till 20 and recited some rhymes in English, enough to impress everyone out there.

And that's how I was taken into L.K.G, while I was only two and a half year old!