Sitting in a room full of haters was high-school. I’ve kept myself away from class rooms that made me overthink or hate myself, so probably why I bunked a lot of my classes in Jain. I also loved Jain College, probably because the 35-45% of attendance I missed was spent in the Science staff room in front of SSR madam’s table or across the balcony in the Commerce & Language staff room in front of NP madam’s table. Both their tables seemed to be located in mirror placement of the identical staffrooms that were in two different wings. SSR sat on the eighth table and I remember sharing idlis with PK (the new Physics lecturer who tried his best to help me learn Physics) on that table.
SSR is a super fascinating botany teacher. She’s the bench mark in my head to measure the teachers I’ve met after her.
She’s a Maharashtrian woman brought up in Bangalore. Her trademark smile resembles an excited child on the first day of whatever. She’s around 5’3 and has hair so curly, it can send you on a psychedelic trip. SSR loves to dress up, with dedication and passion that could only be competed with her passion to teach. She wore sarees that were from an extensive collection, each picked up for their exquisite nature or appeal. She’d wear fancy chiffon sarees, light and bright cotton sarees, crushed material sarees, fancy sarees, the Malayali onam saree, and on special occasions or when she’s feeling it, the silk saree is brought out. These sarees would be meticulously paired with ear rings that matched an intricately patterned neck piece, from a collection that she’s clearly been working on from years, just like the sarees. I know she owns a pair of Kolhapuri chapple because she lent it to me, but they never fit me.
Fifty five sarees, I’ve seen 55 black sarees that look exactly like SSRs black saree in Bangalore in the last four years. The saree was plain black halfway and the rest of it was an intricate mango and vines pattern that can make anything ethnic or pretty in my head. She wore this saree only once because another teacher in the same College had the same saree in blue. I’ve kept count of the saree for reasons I still can’t figure and it’s reached a point where the saree is bigger than story or SSR.
Her orange saree was the same shade as a Nagpur orange is during the summer. “Hey SSR, what is that saree you are wearing? You look like a villager at a Halli jathray (village fair)” shouted AR at SSR who was across the room, during the lunch break, when it was stuffed with both students and teachers staring at this scene.
SSR laughed it off (I think, because I’m not sure if she laughed) before she walked out of the staff room and nobody said anything. She never spoke about it, I never asked her. She never wore the orange saree again and it was painful till today that I haven’t been able to ask her about what went through her head or why she didn’t say anything.
It’s been five years since this happened and I can’t get it out of my mind and even now when I run into AR at Jain, I talk to her politely and curtly. Hate her face, there is so much hate bubbling inside of me for her because of all the mean things she’s ever said to people, I know or in front of me. She’s one of those bourgeoisie who also taught economics.
SSR is a super fascinating botany teacher, teacher. She’s the bench mark in my head to measure the teachers I’ve met after her.