Most school going children idolize someone. If you ask them for a role model they’ll have a prompt answer. Some idolize beauty, some brains, some persona, some kindness…. But if you happen to meet any girl of St Ann’s Jamnagar who has been in school in the period from 1999 to 2003 the uncontested answer to that question would be Sister Anita. When I heard that she has left this world, I felt a deep void within, as if something inside me just vanished. But then the fact that she was no more did not sink in. How much ever I tried, I couldn’t cry. And slowly over these days I realized that the reason I couldn’t feel her absence was that she was still there… deep within… and she will always be there. Because like a thread woven into a cloth, her teachings, her thoughts, her ideas have become such an integral part of myself that the life I am living today is driven majorly by what I have imbibed from her. It may sound fanciful, it may even sound unreal but I know it to be the truth. There hasn’t been a person in my life, not even a family member who has had a greater hand in moulding my life.
Sister Anita, to me was a symbol of greatness. A greatness that is achieved not by exertion of power or authority but a greatness achieved by being true, being human, being good. She lived a life that was exemplary in all ways. She was a great teacher, a great academician, a great administrator. Her mere presence could bring silence in a crowd of more than a thousand parents, in the annual function. Her one look would be sufficient to identify guilt. Her one word of appreciation would be more than any trophy. Her smile in the times of trouble could lighten any amount of load. Her every word of advice became morally unbreakable laws. She was a person who had such an impact on not only mature elders but even unruly teenagers.
She used to make the morning assemblies very interesting by narrating anecdotes from lives of great men, or by reading excerpts from the bible. She was a strict disciplinarian, an awesome speaker. She used to introduce some new event or competition every year. She used to create an atmosphere where every individual tried, not to achieve success but excellence. She practically knew all 2000 children’s names. She brought to our small city of Jamnagar, a culture of schooling that concentrated on all round development of an individual. She dared to be different when necessary. Creativity actually flowed under her leadership. Under her guidance, St ann’s Jamnagar saw two major events.. 50th independence day of India and the golden jubilee of the school. Both these events were landmark achievements of her administration. She reintroduced sports which had become difficult because of the scarcity of space in school. She brought changes in the teaching methods. She collected a staff which was a reason of envy for most other institutes. Under her guidance, our school won awards in the field of singing, music, dance, drama, speaking, sports at both district and state levels.
What she did for our school cannot be counted or documented. What she did for the students there is visible in the unusually successful lives that they are leading today. Whenever I happen to meet anyone, senior , junior or teacher, staff member, our conversations ultimately end up in talking about sister. The tiny things that she did, like actually participating in a drama in children’s day, or holding prayer service for a sick parent, or just her way of appreciating goodness of the smallest scale. I still sometimes imagine myself standing in her office, with that great painting behind her desk and tiny memoirs, paper weights, porcelain caricatures, on her table and the trophies surrounding the walls and her notice board. And I remember her sitting there poised, fresh and smiling as ever, signing the hundredth report and calling bahadur bhai and answering the phone all at a time and even in all that confusion, she always took time to look at me, with those glinting sharp eyes through the specks slanting down, and answer my query in that calm, loving voice….like a great mountain standing tall in a turbulent sea. And when this scene passes through my mind.. the toughest question gets answered. So I say sister is not gone.. only today she is in a place where she can look upon more people, solve their problems, help them, love them, cure them. For today she is truly an angel. I am always going to be very very proud of the fact that I was her student. That I knew her. That I had the chance to work under her. She will remain the guiding light, the unshakeable beacon, the temple of knowledge, the source of inspiration, the reason for doing good…..for me and for many others like me. I love you sister. And I hope, that in my life i do atleast one such thing that will bring that sunshine smile up there in the heavens. Cause that will be the ultimate achievement i can ever hope for.