• Pallavi Rao

The See Through Room

Day16 of #21days21sarees

A mustard gamcha saree from the South.

Today’s post is coming in late because I had almost given up for today-to wear the 16th saree in the series or sitting at the computer to pen my words.

You see there are good days and there are bad days for Myasthenics. The day began beautifully with my meditation and breathing exercises with the rising sun, followed by watering the greens on my terrace, plucking the Hibiscus flowers for my tea, catching up with a friend, exchanging notes on gardening and recipes.

And then the weakness started to set in. There is no clear-cut reason why it happens. One day it could be stress, another day, heat or like today, just a teeny-weeny bit of gardening.

The weakness can be noticed in the eyes and smile in the pics today.

I listen to my body. I generally do. Decided to take a break from the 21days21sarees series. Gave the body the rest it pined for.

Yet, there are days when I do not listen to it.😝 There is this constant fight between the mind and the body. Today the former won. A gap today might mean, giving up the series. Naah... I wouldn’t like to do that.

Here I am keeping my promise to self.


I apologized to her. And her father.

I continue to do so even after 25 years.

I was young. Full of energy and exuberance. Cherished my job at St. Mary’s school where I taught Geography and Dramatics. Each day was an experience, a new learning. I loved interacting with the kids and they liked me. The feeling was mutual. You know how it is, when you are the youngest teacher in school with barely a 4-year age difference with the senior most class!

I felt I was back in school; except this time, I was having a ball. My favourite subject to teach, drama back in my life, and surrounded by the best possible co-teachers who also were my mentors!

The 7th grader was feeling out of sorts. I touched Shweta’s forehead. She was running a slight temperature and complained of body ache. As was the norm, I took her to the medical room, made her comfortable. Basic medicines in place, I informed the parents and let her sleep in the room.

The medical room doubled as a First-Aid room, SUPW and the counselors room. Fully made of glass, this transparent room was the most colourful of all the on the 1st floor.

As a teacher, I was responsible for this blazer kid.

In between classes, I kept going to the room to check on her. Her curly hair was now a little damn as I stroked her head with utter love and affection.

How are you feeling?

She nodded to say fine.

Thankfully, the fever was in control. I ensured she ate her packed lunch and then let her sleep again. The next few times, I kept peeping through the glass door, till the lady in charge of the medical room, handed me the keys as she was leaving early. I gladly took them and went back to finish the last class.

It was indeed a tiring day. I was taking back a lot of Home-Work, nearly 30 to 40 notebooks to be corrected. The cloth bag was bulging with the brown paper covered Geography notebooks. Notebooks in one hand, the huge obnoxious black handbag on the other shoulder, an empty water flask tucked underneath the arm, I barely managed to reach my car without dropping anything.

Home was just 6 or 7 minutes away. Ravenously hungry, the aroma of pepper rasam and Andhra style mint pachchadi (chutney) welcomed me home.

As I sat at the dining table, the landline placed at its other end jumped. I smiled. I liked it when the phone rang. Must be a voice-over assignment for the day.

Hello....yes...Pallavi this side...aahhaan...huh...oh...achcha...no...am coming...give me 10 min...I’ll be there.

I did not even give time to Amma to crib or complain why I must leave lunch to rush for an assignment. I picked up the car keys from the rack, my humongous black handbag and dashed out.

Did I hear it right? How could this happen?

If I could have driven at 110km/hour that day, I would have. However, the narrow lanes of the colony allowed me not more than 45km/hour.

I was there in 7 minutes and don’t even recollect if I locked the car. I simply ran. From the main gate to the porch and foyer. The mam at the reception shrugged her shoulders, rolled up her eyes and gave me the worst possible look with those huge kohled eyes.

I sprinted towards the stairs; took them on the double. Huffing and puffing, I stood in front of the see-through medical room.

There she was. Shweta! She sat on her knees on the white bed with her hands and nose stuck to the glass wall with the most innocent and sweetest smile ever, waiting for Pallavi mam to take her out!

Damn. Damn. Damn. I forgot a child in school? I left her to sleep in a room that I locked and took the keys home. What was I thinking?

God be kind, the office boy spotted her on his routine after-school-check round. Luckily, he saw her through the glass window.

I opened the door hastily and in true filmy style, hugged and kissed her, more so in relief.

I apologized. She smiled to say, it is OK mam. I am fine. In fact, she was generous enough to laugh over it.

I called the father and told him melodramatically, ‘Sir, I want to atone for my sins! I forgot your daughter in school!!!!’ The gracious man, chuckled and said it was OK.

I often wonder- What if such an incident took place today? Would the parents have left the teacher saying, ‘arre ho jata hai...waise bhi she was safe in school, let it be’?

But I shudder to think-

What if, it was not...a transparent glass window room...

Till tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Home.

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