It was instantly obvious that her thirty years in education had not taught the lady how to guide young minds. She was the unworthy principal of the leading girls' school at mt. Abu in Rajasthan India, run by a Catholic order.
Born into an Indian family which lived in Indonesia, I had done my early educaton in a Catholic school and higher education in a Methodist institution, both of which built up a healthy respect for the Christian religion and the nuns who ran schools with so much love, dignity and erudition.
All those healthy feelings were shattered in a single instant when Sister X, virtually jumped up and down in her chair to convince my husband and me that she could not admit my adopted daughter, into her school, because children are cruel !!
My child is blessed with the sunniest of dispositions. but at that stage, approaching age 12 and Std. 7, she was tall for her age and fat and dark wheatish in complexion... a combination which was only lit up by her bright smiles and cheeery replies.
We were seeking admission in std. 7, whichis waybeyond the Std. 1 and 2 stage, when children are cruel to each other and have not yetbeen taught social niceties, at home and outside. All the other nuns had agreed that hers was a fit case for admission into the school.
But Madame would have none of it. she practically jumpedoff her chair crying " how can i have that child in my school? she is so dark, so fat, so tall, so big. She will spoil the atmosphere in my school. other children will poke her about it. and what will i do ?"
I was totally aghast. All my memories of the loving nuns of my childhood stood shattered as i listened to the raving of a school principal who insisted that she could only admit fair and pretty girls into her school... or else she could not handle the situation that would arise ?
I wanted to ask her whether Sophias' was aspiring to produce only Miss Indias ? or whether she want to turn out a uniform bandbox of Indian Barbie dolls of similar height, weight and other characteristics; almost like a later day Huxley's " Brave New World". obviously she was not aiming for any sushmita Sen, given her almost visibly pathological hatred for height in female of the species.
It was painfully apparent that the principal of Mt.Abu's leading residential school had abdicated her responsibility towards molding young minds, when she insisted that she would not be able to do anything when other children poked my daughter about her height or her color or her weight.
Had she never heard of "Puppy Fat" ? and obviously she was not to know that the Bronzed look was going to become the in thing two years down the line .
Sometimes I wonder how much of the Nun's reaction was on account of our revelation that she was our adopted child? Had she herself taken recourse to the nunnery on account of some such incident? memories of which had been revived by the sight of my child ?
I fervently hope that someone who reads this is able to trace the lady and tell her that my daughter is well settled in another baording school, where she has been helped to shed those excess pounds with proper guidance, where her height makes her eligible for the basketball games and where color is not an issue.
Given the attitude of Sophias, Mt. Abu, I should perhaps say thank you for not admitting my child into your school which has so many prejudices. But please god, do not let that nun head any other educational institution where she may do damage to so many young minds.