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3rd May 2002 - Page 2
‘Half a teaspoon
of butter everyday, Mrs Katyal’

Dear Mr Kapur,

During my B. Ed course it was drummed into my head not to have favourites among kids but the truth is that Puja’s batch was my favourite, and I’m sure that Rajyashree, Malvika and Sashi will feel the same way about them. 

We ( the "new" teachers) had made a complete hash of our classroom boards and you were furious. Puja and Shonan overheard you ticking Mohit off about his board and came to tell us that we should quickly head back to our respective classes and that they would help us rearrange our boards. That’s how we escaped your wrath.
I think there were no half measures in whatever Puja did. And that included building and developing a persona that would have made her a star. Once when she was blasted by Ranu for streaking her hair, she came to Charu and me and said, "have I become a bad influence simply because I have coloured my 
Puja was special. I first met her when Malvika and I were sent to sit in Peilu's class. Puja was a skinny little girl with big glasses, her crinkly hair tightly braided. But she made sure that she would stand out in the group. Every time Peilu asked her something she would answer and then turn back to gauge whether MV and I had noticed her. If she thought our attention was straying she would directly address us.
She was in my class in Class 6. I remember noticing that during class act (this was in Usha's heyday when every section had to perform a Bharatnatyam item ever so often) she was perhaps the only kid who took it as seriously as Usha did. Maybe because she enjoyed the dressing up part. But later when I thought about it I realised it must have been tough to have made her preference so obvious. It would have been so much easier to have given in to the general chorus of groans and moans that greeted whatever Usha did! 
Do you remember our first Founder's Day?

hair?" Although I supported Ranu then, I often wonder how silly we are to yell at kids for things which are fairly minor. 
I remember the day when she came along to "help" Sukkhad and Nikhil compose a speech for a competition. I knew the “help” bit was an excuse to be with him, but i played along. As it turned out she wasn't allowed to go with them and she and I ended up spending a very enlightening morning. Enlightening for me because she told me -- very politely, of course -- on how I was letting myself go and that I should really start taking care of my skin (“half a teaspoon of butter everyday, Mrs Katyal”), hair, weight, etc. I was amused, but I heard her out and thanked her for her advice.
I know I am babbling but I want to talk about her, about our days at the school. Basically I guess what I am trying to say is, it’s all such a bloody waste. 

Kokila Katyal

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