10th September 2016
Being the younger one, my birthdays have always been a big deal at my place. Every year since I can remember, we use to start planning party games, make custom made invitations, have return gifts wrapped and decide on the menu from a month in advance. As I grew older there was always a surprise cake cutting at 12 from one group or another, followed by a series of pre and post parties from a week in advance. There used to be at least 30 invitees, and my 21st birthday had about 40! The past few years it’s been a little mellow, though; maybe, because I am getting older.
I woke up this morning to a continuous chain of students knocking on my door to wish me happy birthday. And as I entered the dining hall for breakfast, the entire room sang happy birthday! We had an E-base origami session at 8 AM which was a freestyle-make-anything-you-want-spree. The idea was to see how many they can make on their own with instructions. Only a few of them managed to finish it with no help. Most of them got stuck at difficult folds. But most of them finished 3 in time for the assembly.
I had 3 substitution classes with class 6th so we all finished the mini Biogas Plant! It was a lot of fun. One group “M-sealed” the joints, the other painted it black and the last mixed the cow dung and water. It was great to see how the girls didn’t cringe even once while mixing it; even though the boys did and kept teasing them about it. But all in all we are very excited to see whether the experiment is successful after a week or not. Fingers crossed. Class 7th did a crash course in what they had been learning the past few days and I had a very serious chat with them how they are the only class who is not doing a project!
Class 5th was not at all in the mood to study today and they pleaded quite strongly that they wanted to watch videos today with a happy birthday song, which was hard to say no to. Class 2nd made an origami turtle, learnt about its self-defense mechanism with the moral Slow and steady wins the race! Just about very class sang happy birthday and I received a lot of handmade birthday cards.
Now for the best part of my day: Dolma Ma’am met me three times during the day; once during the assembly, once she called me to her office to assign a task and once in the evening in the main office, and she didn’t wish me even once. I found it a little odd because we had had a conversation about this a few weeks ago, and all the kids in the school seemed to remember, but I just assumed she forgot. But right when I got back to the hostel for dinner around 7:30, I got a call from Gurmet asking me to be at the hostel gate in 5 mins and refused to answer any more questions even though he left me with some clues to think about. I thought something was fishy but still obliged. Within a few mins I got picked up by a car and was taken to Sambhodhi.
You guessed it! There was a big surprise birthday planed for me by Dolma Ma’am with 12 people, a cake with candles, a table full of snacks, finger food, salami and sausages, a wreath of flowers that I was made to wear on my head, gifts, song singing, cake smearing, party games, a formal dinner with a spread of delicacies and abundant love. It was the sweetest gesture from the MIMC team and they really made me feel a part of the family.
Dolma ma’am is the coolest principal in the world. She later told me; not wishing me all day was the hardest thing she had to do while planning all this on the side. It’s amazing how she manages to effectively lead an organization, fulfil her professional duties, beautifully bring up an 8 month old baby, spearhead teacher meetings, entertain international delegates and plan a surprise birthday party for a volunteer intern all in a day’s work! Most of all her humility about the responsibility that has been bestowed upon her, along with her kindness and tact towards people and everyday situations, makes her the most awesome principal ever!
All in all a wonderful birthday, even though it was spent away from family, it was like being with a larger family who made you feel as loved.