How I Became The Director At Hari Sri School Founded By My Mother And Late Father!

Suddenly, a whole new world opened before me, and before I knew it, there I was, ensconced as her assistant at Hari Sri school, sitting by her, learning the ropes all over again.

“Life does not come with a manual; it comes with a mother.” ~~ Author Unknown. This is the story of how I joined my mother in running Hari Sri School, founded by her with my father in 1978.

It was my mother who first showed me, and the world, how to rally on and face adversity, and how to lift oneself from a position of abject despair to one of strength. She did not do so in words. When, at the young age of 39, she lost her husband, a Colonel in the Indian Army and was suddenly set adrift in a cold world, she mourned. She then set her sights on her three young daughters, and transformed her anguish into bringing up the school that had been started by her with the help of her doting husband. Kintsugi at its best!

The story of Hari Sri school

This school was in its fledgling stage with six students in 1978. It was my father who named the school Hari Sri, the first two words written by children on Vidyarambham, the start of their education.

However, it was also the Hari Sri of our lives without the pillar of our family, my father, for he passed away the very next year.

After four decades of blood, sweat and tears, where my mother stood up and, with the help of a Trust of close-knit parents, created a microcosm of dedicated teachers and enthusiastic children, today, the school thrives in the town of Thrissur, Kerala, as one of the noteworthy ICSE/ ISC institutions in the country with almost 1800 students.

We, her three daughters, drew from her legacy of strength, each of us having inherited bits and pieces of her personality. One thing we did derive from her was her sense of humour and her quirkiness, both of which acted as oil to her progress in life, and ours.

And then I joined my mother in her work, training under her

After a hectic life in the Indian Army, both as an Army brat, and later as an Army wife, a teacher and a freelance journalist to boot, it was time to change horses. My husband and I took the momentous decision to get back to our roots. Both our mothers were getting on in life and we needed to be around for them.

It was then that my mother, who had never ever broached the subject earlier, asked me if I would like to take her place in school. That was a revelation to me. I had been a teacher all my life, the Principal of the Army School in Tenga, Arunachal Pradesh, and I had my writing career that was what I had always felt was my core profession.

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However, the same blood that ran through my mother’s veins ran through mine, as did her never-say-die attitude. Suddenly, a whole new world opened before me, and before I knew it, there I was, ensconced as her assistant, sitting by her, learning the ropes all over again. It was a truly memorable learning experience, as I watched her go through myriad emotions while dealing with people… the nava rasas in all their glory, an experience which further equipped me with the skills I needed to thrive in this environment.

At that moment, I decided that I would not try and step into her giant-sized shoes. Instead, I would create my own pair of shoes and do the best I could, for she would want me to be my own person and not her clone.

Last year, I took over from her as the Director of the school

After almost four years of training under my mother, I took over from her as the Director of the school last year. It was she who had given me life six decades ago; once again, she offered me a different life on a platter… the reins of her beloved school of which she still is the reigning spirit at the grand old age of 85.

Today, she sits back at home and watches, keeping an eye open like a mother hen as I sit on her chair. Compliments do not come easy from her, but there are moments when I do discern a gleam of pride, unspoken, moments that I treasure even more because they are so rare. She respects my decisions even when, at times, she does not agree with them, because she considers herself a mentor and the mother figure of the school she so lovingly crafted, a school which has run on her principles over four decades.

Not surprisingly, one of her favourite quotes is from Lord Tennyson’s’ ‘Morte d’Arthur’.
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”

Editor’s Note:  Join us this Mother’s Day by using the hashtag #LegacyOfStrength and sharing your story, of how your mother (or mother in law!) has influenced your career in a similar field or how you have made an impact as a woman in business, inspired by her strength and resilience. Perhaps your mother started a business inspired by you or vice versa? Whatever your story is, we want to celebrate the powerful bond between mothers and daughters and the legacy of strength that you share.. Let’s inspire and uplift each other as we honour the incredible women who have shaped our lives.

Read all the #LegacyOfStrength stories here.

Images source: Facebook and school website

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About the Author

Deepti Menon

Words have always played a vital role in my life. Short stories, poetry, humorous pieces or full-length novels... I love them all! Having been an Army brat and later wife, as well as a read more...

17 Posts | 51,855 Views

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