As I sit to write, with my notebook today, I remember the time when I had enrolled myself in the BTTC (Bombay Teacher’s Training College) in Colaba. This was a long time ago. It was a part time 2-year course for working teachers so that they would not lose out on a year in the regular B.ED- a full time course to be attended on a daily basis. Attending the classes held thrice a week was a daunting task for me, I realised soon enough. My lectures in the college were as usual and after engaging them I would board a local train for Churchgate to go to BTTC. Classes were held in the evening hours for the benefit of the teachers. Being a working person I thought I should avail this opportunity by joining the course.
At the time that the lectures began in the month of June, there was a big news in our family. I was expecting for the second time. Over that I had already planned to go ahead with my Ph.D in English, under Vidyasagar University in Midnapore. Baba was keen that I should do it and I too was all prepared to go for it. I couldn’t disappoint him what with him growing older by the day.
When back at home they all got the news, my elder sister, commented that it was like the “trishul of Mahadev”. I would never complete the three projects that I had taken up all at the same time. My second baby, B.Ed and Ph.D made up the three sharp edges of the “trishul”, that would defeat me, in her opinion. She made fun of me that I would be prevented from reaching my goals.
But “There’s not to reason why, there’s but to do and die.”
Nevertheless, we dealt with the situation calmly. My days became hectic from being busy with Shiv, who was in Senior KG at that time. The days I went to attend my classes, I would return home at 8:30pm. Attending to young Shiv and household chores were all in a day’s routine, along with my college work. A day consists of 24hours, I got to know with every hour being accounted for now. The year passed and the next year we both passed our respective exams. Shiv went to Class 1 and I, to the 2nd year of the B.Ed college.
There was a hurdle however. I could submit all my certificates except one- the migration certificate from Ranchi University. This was mandatory for a student like me coming from another university, but not Bombay, as most of my other classmates were. Right from the first month the college office would remind me of that missing document, which I needed to submit as soon as possible.
Knowing very well the lackadaisical manner in which Ranchi University worked, this was next to impossible. I was helpless. All I could do was write a letter to the university to kindly send me the certificate at my present address. To no avail. My brother Siddhartha was there in Ranchi doing his level best to help me out, but that happened much later. For now letters were being sent to them at regular intervals that went without them responding to any.
This 2nd year of the course was even more formidable. My second baby was born and now she was four months old. The time had come once again for me to join work and resume studies. It broke my heart to leave the little one to a neighbour, our baby-sitter, when college reopened after summer vacation break. Attending both the BTTC and my workplace college along with caring for the children and doing the household chores took away most of my waking hours. If life is a challenge, God in heaven, did I accept it!
Luckily, “time and tide wait for no man”, and the year passed. Buchu’s first birthday came and I celebrated it in my college with games, eats and fun. Eventually, the academic year also ended. The final exams of university came up and I wrote the exam as well as I could, in spite of all my constraints. I even scored better than my colleague, who too had appeared for the same exam along with me. As the days passed by, we got the news that our marksheets were in college where we had to go and collect them.
Even now my migration certificate had not reached me. With great uncertainty I went to the college to ask for my marksheet. There some argument ensued with the college staff. They insisted on the certificate without which they could not hand me my marksheet, they said. After some hot exchanges with them, I declared that I will go without the marksheet. I was getting my present college salary anyway, I argued. Just as I was leaving, the office-head called me, and in a soft gentle voice explained that, without it I would never be able to do my M.Ed. “I’ll never do it!”, I almost screamed. “Am I mad to my M.Ed?”, I said. They finally gave me my marksheet and sometime later my brother sent me my migration certificate which he had received by then. I duly submitted it to the BTTC, thus ending the 2-year long issue.