I am one person who respects the sense of time deeply.
When I was at Naini, a small industrial town near Allahabad in UP, we had only one school. Bethany Convent School was the only school in that entire township. We had students from all walk of the life, including kids of army officers, agricultural institute, farmers, doctors, factory worker, sweet shops, hand rickshaw, hi flying managers to anyone you can think of.
My sibling and I were amongst a large group of kids going to the school from the ITI colony a public sector factory unit at Naini. We had two buses that would drop us all to the school.
Since there was only one bus for our colony we all had to gather at one of the two bus stops. My home was a bit far as compared to the others. So we had to start a few minutes earlier than others. At home, since we were four siblings, my mother would turn into a real Durga with several hands! Cooking breakfast, bathing my younger brothers, running around to feed them, packing lunch boxes to many odd chores that one cannot imagine how she managed every day. One of the last tasks of hers was to braid our long hair. After we shifted from Calcutta to Naini, I came into the influence of my mausies and with their help, shortened my hair to shoulder length when they saw my mom struggle with her morning affairs. But still, she continued to braid my sister’s long hair when everything was done. By then my job was to rush to the bus stop along with my brothers and keep the bus waiting for her till she arrived. I can vividly recall the angry faces and the not so faint murmurs of the other children, who were getting bugged of this daily wait! It was always a stressful moment for me, standing on the last step on the bus and hanging out to see if my sister was visible or not.
Then one day the bus driver decided to end the entire routine and drove off! I was in tears, fearing my poor sister had to walk or rather run till the next stop, fearing her anger and the ridiculed reactions on the faces of the driver and the other children on board. But the good thing was, that after that day my sister started to reach on time as she started to braid her hair herself or made sure mom did it sooner.
So unfortunately, my tryst with school gates being shut down, if we arrived late to the school, never occurred in my school days. Also, even if our bus was late, they never returned the entire bus of 40 kids back. Yet, there were many kids who were dropped off by their parents and had to bear the brunt of coming late by not being let into the school. Poor parents would request the watchmen or try making their words heard to the vice principal who was a terror.
It was a very common scene at the gates of almost all schools in India where the late comers would not be allowed to enter the school. The whole idea of this act was to discipline the kids and more so their parents value the importance of TIME.
Even though after more than 100 years of drilling the sense of TIME into the heads of the students and their parents, we Indians are well known for the poor value of time. We are never on TIME anywhere. We assume that the other person will have nothing important or better to do than wait for us.
I never hide my feelings when parents come to my workshop or seminar late! I have back to back workshops lined up and have no time buffer to entertain their late lateef act.
Yet, I hear parents wanting schools that will instill the value of Time in their kids! Why do we want a school or any other institution to force us to come on time? After going to the schools that were started by the Britishers since 1820, we Indians are still not able to reach any venue or meeting on time, then maybe we have to question this to ourselves. Why do we expect and hope to get the sense of time from a school? Why should we expect to be on time only when there is a punishment attached to not coming on time? Why is it that we seem to be disciplined only when there is a fine or a danda?
Schools can only force this sense into our daily routine as long as we are in the school.
Yet, without getting into the concept of time, the sense of time will come, only, when we value the worth of our time and others’ time. It is not the responsibility of the schools, but our own selves.
Do read the links below to value how much time I have spent on reading these articles. And trust me they are more valuable than mine, and more patient than me.
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