By the time I finished 12 years of formal schooling, I had studied in 8 schools spread over 6 towns/cities of India. I did not attend nursery or kindergarten having been home-schooled by my mother, father, and older brothers till I joined Uttari Bharat Sabha’s (UBS) English High School in Bhandup, Mumbai. UBS was my first school and also the school that I studied for the maximum number of years in.
I was 5-and-a-half when joined UBS in the middle of first term after a painless admission process where neither I nor my parents were interviewed. I was asked for my name, date of birth, and home address, and once satisfied that I could communicate verbally, I was deemed admitted to the school and escorted to my class by the school principal. My parents were asked to take care of mundane formalities like paying the fees, getting my uniform, books, etc., etc.
An English class was in progress when we arrived. I must have been introduced to the class, the teacher, and shown to my seat, but I don’t remember any of this. All I remember now is the teacher’s warm welcoming smile. The teacher was Rachel Kurien. Even after all these years, when I think of Rachel Kurien or Rachel teacher as we kids called her, it is her smile that instantly comes to my mind.