Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Admission Diary

After a long time, we are back to our old routines again. After almost fifteen days of very strenuous admission work, the long stream of anxious parents determined to admit their children in my father’s classes has slackened. We have once more started keeping our phones connected without getting eight calls an hour on average!

The last fifteen days, though really hectic, have also been very interesting. The process of admissions is usually eventful, but this year it has been even more so. This year was a doubly special batch; it was the admission session of my father’s silver jubilee batch, which also happens to be my batch! I found it pretty hard to believe that the classmates, the same ones with whom I had spent my thumb-sucking days were now in class nine, and I was admitting them! My parents said that they were feeling the same way about me; that the kid who used to go about in their laps was now getting admitted in daddy’s class! But the strangest feeling was when I went downstairs on the day for class eight admissions. It took me quite some time to digest the fact that the boys and girls standing in our garden with their parents were actually younger than me! Till now, I had been used to the idea that the students who came to enroll their names here for class nine were older than me. I was supposed to call them ‘dada’ and ‘didi’. Last year, they were my classmates, but this year, they were kids! In fact, watching them, I was reminded of a line from Harry Potter part five, when Ron, watching a stream of fresh-faced juniors at school, had commented with a bemused expression “These kids seem to be getting smaller every year”!

On 23rd, the results of Carmel and St. Xavier’s were declared. I went to school by bus, but came back with a friend in her car. Anushua and Srimoyee had very kindly offered to help us during the admission period. Usually, dad’s older ex-students come to lend us a hand during admissions, but this time none of them could turn up. Instead, two of my friends came over. At first, both my parents and I were not really sure about how much they would be able to help. But very soon, all our fears were proved groundless. Both Anushua and Srimoyee were working deftly and confidently, and enjoying themselves a lot. I myself have been doing admission work for over five years now, so it is not particularly exciting for me any longer, but for my friends it was the first time, and they really made the most of it. In fact, had it not been for their help, we would not have been able to handle the first day’s crowd so smoothly and hassle-freely.

Like always, I had been a bit tense about what my report card would show, but as usual, nothing unexpected came out of it, other than a better-than-expected grade in Computer Applications, maybe! After we had gone through our report cards with mounting relief, both Anushua and I rushed back to her car to get home as soon as we could. Srimoyee was going home with her father. Afterwards, she changed into fresh clothes and came over to our house, got herself admitted, and then came out to help us. All the three of us are in the same batch. We had planned it that way, and that was a good thing too, as we are now in different sections in school, and see each other less often than we would have liked to.

In the beginning, only Carmel girls kept coming in a slow and steady rate. It was fun, and not very hectic, attending to our classmates in ones and twos. The rush started when the St. Xavier’s boys started coming. I have often wandered why these boys like to come in huge groups, and create a mess both for us and themselves, but for some obscure reason they do it every year. But this year the Xaverians outdid themselves. When the first of the lot started coming in, I went and sat under the large bokul tree just next to our gate. We had divided the job between ourselves in such a way that the people who came to get their names enrolled for class nine or those who wanted to get their children admitted in class eight came and spoke to me. The students of class nine were first sent to my mother, who with the help of my friends gave the candidates certain notices and forms, and sent them in to daddy’s room for the final step. Things went on more or less smoothly, and as always we came away with different kinds of experiences.

It is surprising how often adults behave like ten-year-olds. There was a time when almost fifteen pairs of guardians were waiting with their wards in the garden. A great number of them were people who wanted to admit their children in class eight. It was my job to get them to enroll their children’s names for class nine before I told them the date for class eight’s admission. At one point, a group of eight parents surrounded me for enrollment. It was a hot day, with the sun blazing down our necks, and everybody felt irritable. It turned out that all the eight parents were in a hurry, and they seemed convinced that I was intentionally working very slowly to trouble them. As a result, all the parents started telling me their child’s name, their address and other details all at once! When I asked them to come one at a time, they took offence and stood there grumpily. None of them seemed to be able to understand that I was working as fast as I could! Others came and started bargaining over the batch timings, as none of the four batches was convenient for them. This caused a lot of delay.

But there were also some very co-operative parents. A lady waited with her two sons for almost half-an-hour without complaining once. When I offered her my chair, she politely refused and said that I should go on with my work and not worry about her. Another group of parents came prepared with every requirement. They had even decided on the batch that they wanted before-hand, so they hardly took ten minutes to get admitted and leave without any mess.

We had to send almost half of the people to get their report cards photocopied, which made me wonder why I bother to tell the parents about all the requirements when they come to enroll their names in class eight. Most people did not seem to have heard a single thing that had been told to them the previous year. So this year, I did a lot less talking, and simply enrolled the names and told the parents about the probable fees. Since we would have to tell them everything all over again the next year, why do it now?

Along with all the people who came, my mother had to handle a continuous flow of phone calls. So when we came upstairs at twelve thirty, all five of us were dead beat. We took our baths, had some food, and all of us, including my friends fell asleep for two solid hours.

In the evening, my friends remained to help, while I had to go for tuition. When I came back at seven forty-five, they were still there. After I came back, both of them went home to Anushua’s place, from where Srimoyee’s father came and took her back. Back at our place, we attended to people till almost quarter-past-nine. There wasn’t so much of a rush during the evening, and things went on peacefully enough. By nine-thirty, we had packed up and locked up the house, and come upstairs for a long cold shower, a filling dinner and a cool bed. Thus ended the first day of admissions. After that, the days were not as hectic. People kept coming in a steady flow, but we could handle that well enough by ourselves. Then, on 2nd April we had the admissions for class eight. There was going to be only one batch, and too many enthusiasts, so there was some unpleasantness, which we are all trying to forget. But all in all, this year’s admissions were peaceful and satisfying. I only hope that next year’s will be even more so, so that there won’t be any unhappy memories at all.