Following Directions: Finding a School

Last night I wrote to a friend in the US about how my life today just seems like an unfolding of thoughts, dreams, and visions I’ve had over the last 10 years or so, maybe over my lifetime.  I joked that it’s really pretty simple, I just listen to the voices in my head and do what I’m supposed to.

Today I visited four schools.  We want to start Kalpana in nursery school, even though she may be much older, but she is very short, and is just learning to make circles, lines — has mastered A, B, 1, and 2.  She colors inside the lines, mostly.  I’m also looking for a school that will take Ganga.   My offer to any school is that I will send her to a regular class and will also send a teacher to be her assistant and a massi to carry her and take her to the bathroom.   Last week Gibi and a teacher visited a local school and purchased the admission form.   I decided to walk over there this morning,  see the place, and turn in the form.    Today at this school though, I learned that the school has been through some terrible time and hundreds left so there are very few students now and they may have to close.  They did not call me back this afternoon so I could speak with the owner.

Next the teacher with me suggested we try Mother’s Mission, also nearby.  We took a rickshaw there, and sat in the office while admissions went on.  I find these places interesting even without knowing the language.  You know, years ago when we were in India, Cici was learning Bengali.  One day she said to me, “You know mom, it was much more interesting when I didn’t know what they were saying.”  Well, I don’t know Bengali so it’s interesting to me.  The women at the desk were formal, polite, but said they would not consider a child with a physical deformity.  They say this sitting under a huge portrait of Mother Teresa, and another of Jesus on the Cross.  Disconnect.  Well they said they would take Kalpana for nursery but I had to pay and get the forms in by tomorrow morning or it would be full.  But at least we had a yes.

I came home, spent time on other work, moped and muddled about, and fell asleep in my chair (a routine of mine since I’m up late and get up early.)   Seema came this evening and she mentioned a nursery school where children (now in mid 20’s) had gone there.  I needed to figure out what to do about the Mother’s Mission admission fees tomorrow, so she suggested we go there immediately — 7 pm by now.  Off we went, taking a walk through the busy road filled with carts of vegetables, people shopping, talking, just evening busy.  We  met with the head and her husband.  They were worried about how much Kalpana knew and whether it would be a strain on the teaching curriculum if she was very behind.  But they did say to bring her Friday and they would meet her and talk to us.  We left with mixed feelings.

Our neighborhood (except for our little cul-de-sac) is rapidly improving.  A pond has been cleaned up and a walkway put around it, ducks in the pond, boats… but I haven’t been able to figure out if it is open, and when.  So I suggested a detour to go past the pond and walkway and see what was happening.  As we were walking, we both saw a big green lighted sign for an Academy, and then a smaller sign about a school nursery to XII.  It was down a short lane and I saw people outside.  We walked over to see a woman getting into her car, and asked about the school and whether it was English medium.  She immediately asked us to come into the school, and called her husband to join us and talk.

Yes, they would take Kalpana.  As for Ganga, the man said, “You have come from America to take care of our children.  We Bengalis MUST help you do this.”  He and his wife, Principal and Vice-principal are involved in Human Rights, and both talked about meaning beyond money.  I wanted to hug them both!  I made the same offer as I had before regarding Ganga.  I believe it will work out.  I will bring Ganga, the teacher, Kalpana, to meet them in two weeks when exams are over.  I’m also thinking maybe this would even be better for the big girls.  There is much still to be talked about.

But today is just a demo of what I wrote last night… it’s one of those times we replay… what if I hadn’t suggested we walk to the new walking area and pond?  What if they had gone home earlier?   I think we all do this… and maybe it is about greater meaning, or maybe we are comfortable with coincidence.  But I sure feel indebted to whoever is arranging the coincidences in my life.

Ganga and Kalpana

This being Kolkata, I also have to understand none of this may play out.  It’s just how it is here.  You just don’t know.  But I’m a hopeless optimist and  can’t stop believing.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Danae
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 05:35:04

    This is wonderful! I’m so glad your evening ended on that note. And I hope that everything falls in place and is meant to be. Take care, my friend. Your girls need you. The WORLD needs you! You are truly amazing 🙂


  2. Sue Gambill-Read
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 06:43:11

    Yes, they would take Kalpana. As for Ganga, the man said, “You have come from America to take care of our children. We Bengalis MUST help you do this.” LOVE IT. A message you do not get often enough, must have been like a breath of fresh air!


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February 2012
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