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‘My school still lives in me’

Pragya Jain, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park alumnus says even after so many years, her school teachers remember her well

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Pragya Jain is an Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park alias Apeejay Sheikh Sarai alumnus (as it was known then). She is a proud and content homemaker, who also supports her husband Mr. Sandeep Jain in his packaging business, Vipin Packaging Pvt Ltd. 

In a nostalgic interview, the batch of 1991 alumnus goes down the memory lane and shares pearls of wisdom with our readers and also highlights how the student-teacher bonding has gone downhill over the years. Read edited excerpts:

Let us begin by asking you about the Apeejay days? 

I was an average student at school. I did not get the highest grades, but I was the cultural head at school. I was totally into dance and music. I was very active culturally. A few years ago, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our school. I was a part of the events there. We felicitated all the teachers and staff across all the classes as a part of the celebrations. Our teachers were such good mentors. Only a fortnight ago, I came to know of the passing away of my music teacher Ms. Promila Sood. I was very sad. The school has always been a family to me. 

All my batchmates are doing great in life. I am in touch with them. Apeejay Sheikh Sarai lives in me even now. 

One life mantra for current students?

Old friends are the best. You will realise it with the years! After 25 years, I have re-united with my entire batch. We are a group of 100 alumni from the same batch and we all meet in regular intervals, have parties. We are a family. I am so attached to them. They are all a part of my life.

When did you last visit the school?

Two years back I was passing by the school and I stopped by. I looked at the building and noticed some changes. It revived so many memories. I met some of my teachers as well. 

How has life fared after school?

It has been very good. I have 2 sons. My elder son recently got married and hence, I took a break from the office. But I will start working very soon. I am planning on that. I am managing the household affairs at present and that actually keeps me busy the entire day. 

But my school has always played a huge role in my life.  I wanted to continue the association, so I had even enrolled my son to Apeejay School, Pitampura.

One big change you notice in schools now?

The bonding between the teachers and students has changed. Students now see the teacher as someone who is only supposed to lecture them for an hour on a subject. During our time, we had a bonding with our teachers, which the current students don’t have so much. 

So, when I recently went to my school, I met an old teacher. She came and greeted me asking how I was. She had taught me in class 3. I was so surprised that she remembered me but she even complimented me on my handwriting. It felt so special.  So, before the teacher could speak any further, I stopped her saying, “Ma’am, please let me call my son, I would like him to see this and learn.” (laughs)

We had that guru-shishya relationship in our time. Unfortunately, it’s fast dwindling.

I remember another anecdote. I spoke to my music teacher after a gap of 20 years. And to my utter surprise , she said that she still had my picture where I was practicing music hung in the music room wall at school. I felt absolutely blessed to have had such wonderful teachers.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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