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Fairy Rose And The Three Wishes

While there was no dearth of dispiriting news floating around these days, this was one unexpected blow! How deeply I was mourning the passing of my former school headmistress, even as I put one more chapter to rest in the confines of my treasured memories.

I was fortunate to have ‘Sister’ as my headmistress in primary school. Although I feared her greatly, I was also one of those lucky few who got to see her nurturing side.

She had made it a point to give me company every evening while I waited for my father to pick me up from school, which would inevitably be long after dismissal time due to his work constraints.

We’re talking of the ’80s here when there were no after-school facilities in my beloved hometown.

I would constantly be the lone student in the portico and it meant a lot to have an authoritarian figure looking out for my safety and well-being.

I was one those painfully shy nerds who by default went into the good books of the teachers and was in the limelight for all the ‘right’ reasons.

She kept me engaged in small talk during my wait and brought me out of my shell. These episodes compounded my respect for her in an admirable way.

Only when she saw me off in safe hands, would she be reassured, and only then lock up her office and wind up her day. This went on resolutely for 2-3 years without a frown on her face !

They don’t make them like they used to—people who go above and beyond their call of duty.

***

Bits and pieces of memories of my days at my primary school have been flashing randomly since yesterday.

One fine evening while I was waiting for my father, I was in an unusually talkative mood with Sister.

In all familiarity, I blurted out, “Sister, I dearly wish I could participate in a drama on stage. Not as a prop as I usually land a role for, but with real dialogues or even…dancing.”

She listened to me in all seriousness as I continued, “But I’m very scared to face the audience. I wish I was as bold as the rest and not wonder what anyone will think if I make mistakes.”

***

One October morning, Sister was at the doorway of our class and she called out my name! There was a hushed silence and looks of disbelief that the headmistress had asked for me— the epitome of all things good and nice, the ‘statue’ of the class as I was nicknamed.

I stood up, with my knees wobbling and the blood draining from my face. She asked me to come along. A pin-drop silence ensued in the classroom, but there was a shrill buzzing in my ears as I felt my face getting hot with fright and embarrassment. All eyes were on me!

As she led me away, she looked at me with her piercing bespectacled eyes and asked,

“So what do think of being part of a dance in the Annual Day programme?”

I was dumbstruck! Was she giving me a chance on stage?

I could merely stammer and fumble.

“Yes, Sister, I want to…”

“Come here, this is a group of 5 and you’re the sixth. Now we have an even number of dancers.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening around me.

The theme was Arabian Nights Tales!

A dream role for a child of twelve who idealized the exotic land with the flying carpets, the domed castles and shimmery flowing dresses.

***

Sister oversaw all the rehearsals for the dance right from Day 1.

A few days into the dance rehearsals, talks were going on for the drama which was the major part of the musical.

I got my second wish granted as well when Sister selected me to deliver a couple of dialogues, one which I clearly remember to this day— “Perhaps, it’s a Fairy Rose?”

I got a role as the companion for the main lead. But I was over the moon, nevertheless. I was doing something out of my comfort zone and Sister was investing that effort, time and trust in me!

My third wish was the ultimate surprise for me. The costumes had arrived two weeks before the main event.

Shiny, glittery, eye popping!

She picked the magenta coloured flowing chiffon Arabian dress and handed it to me with a knowing and kind smile. I must have told her that it’s my favourite colour at one point of time, in all innocence. And she remembered!

With all the dress and costume rehearsals headway, the big day finally arrived.

I was a bundle of nerves but Sister gathered all the girls and gave a fine motivational talk.

That pep talk worked wonders for me and I felt a surge of confidence like none other. Come what may, I was going to make Sister proud of me.

When the curtains rose, there were murmurs of excitement from the audience when they saw us in our costumes and still pose for the opening dance sequence.

And I knew in an instant that our show was going to be a hit!

Our performance in the open air auditorium was a breeze.

With this, I made my grand exit in my graduating primary school year with the most idealized Arabian Nights role!

Dance+ Drama+ the whole works.

She was the ‘Fairy with the wand’ who granted me my three wishes and brought out the best in me. I’m so glad that I didn’t let her down…

For me, it’s the end of an era.

The world seems so much duller without a bright beautiful soul in it.

Thank you, Sister, you really gave me more than I wished for and a cache full of good memories. It makes me misty-eyed.

Perhaps, it really was a Fairy Rose!

***

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Narayani

    A heartwarming tale. Loved the positivity.
    I just wish there had been a more emphatic emphasis on the anniversary part.
    Nevertheless thanks for sharing this tale. Wish we had such teachers in our days.
    I give a rating of 7/10

  2. Avatar
    PSU

    A heart warming story indeed. I guess all of us born in the 80s-90s have such warm memories of school dances and christmas celebs, makin these a nostalgic road. Well articulated plot, but my issue is the prompt. The opening lines state that passing away of the sister is a recent news. Where does the 2nd anniversary feature then? I read the story thrice, but still missed the 2nd anniversary ref. If its just me, please clarify. I hope i can modify the rating post my doubt clears. Current rating stands at 6 (for a fantastic stand alone story).

  3. Avatar
    Sudha Viswanath

    The story touched my heart. But the story has no reference to the prompt. A tight round of editing is required. Glad you attenpted dear writer, but the story has nothing to do with second anniversary celebration.6/10

  4. Avatar
    Shalini Rao

    Thank you for the heartfelt read 🙂 A feel good piece which made me nostalgic of my own school days and performances on stage. Although the background to his reminiscence is serious, the memories are full of positivity. I was not clear on the prompt reference in the story and interpreted it as the second instance of something/someone feeling like “A fairy rose” to the character, then as a child and now as an adult. But as they say, know when to keep your reader guessing. Hehe! Other than that a very sweet tale. All the best! My rating is 7/10.

  5. Avatar
    Natasha Sequeira

    A lovely story that stirs up warm memories of school days. I see no adherence to the prompt, so I shall rate it a 6 on 10.

  6. Avatar
    Moonmoon Chowdhury

    A very heartwarming story, told beautifully. Teachers such as the sister in the story are such a blessing. I would have to agree with a sigh that “they don’t make them like they used to.” I only wish the prompt featured somewhere in the story.
    My rating 7/10

  7. Avatar
    Neepomanjaree

    Loved you story! We long for such fairies in our lives these days. Your emotions have surfaced vividly through your pen. I was actually able to feel the story. Kudos to you… there is no mention of anniversaries but I would consider it must be some anniversary of your sweet memories and give you a rating 8/10

  8. Avatar
    Lakshmi Menon

    I loved this story. Teachers can bring out the best in children. I wish the prompt had featured somewhere in this story. My rating 6/10.

  9. Avatar
    Jaya Pillai

    A sweet, endearing and a very believable tale. Some sentences could be rephrased. Apart from that, the story touched a chord – since I too have been a part of a convent school, I could identify a lot with this story.

  10. Avatar

    A simple, heartwarming tale. I am guessing this is based on a personal experience – what better way to pay a tribute to a teacher, than immortalise her in a story! You deserve extra marks for that. The sequence of events, the butterflies in the stomach as a result of stage fear… we have all experienced that at some point, so this was very relatable. I am guessing it is the paucity of space, or else you would have treated us with more show than tell, and a peek into the 12-year old’s mind as she whirled on stage and the audience clapped in admiration. A little bit of edit-polish will make this simple and warm tale sparkle brighter.
    I rate this at 5/10.

  11. Avatar
    Urmi Chakravorty

    It only takes that one educator to tap into an introvert child’s psyche and bring out the best in him/her. And your story just proves that right!
    A lovely recounting of happy childhood moments that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy all over!
    The prompt adherence left me in doubt.
    My rating would be a 7 on 10.

  12. Avatar
    Amrita Sarkar

    Hi,
    That was a very heartwarming tale about wish fulfilment and it seemed like an eulogy for a specific person. While I enjoyed up and lows of the story, and the Sister makes for a very memorable character. My only issue with the story is that it sounds more like memoir. It has a very straightforward narration. Also, like the other readers, I failed to see the connection between the title and the story. Perhaps, I am missing something. But it did revive some of our own childhood memories…I think that’s a triumph in itself.

  13. Avatar
    Luvv A Sanwal

    Loved the teacher role. Teacher are often under-rated but society forgets that teacher are one who builds kids into greater good. I missed the anniversary theme here but overall I loved the story and teacher part.

    rating 7/10

  14. Avatar
    Lalitha

    Such a beautiful tale of nostalgia and emotional bonding. Teachers are blessings indeed! This story reminded me of my school days and drama rehearsals . It was a wonderful walk down memory lane. This seems to be a treasured and personal memory from the writers childhood , a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul.
    The question I had was on prompt adherence – couldn’t find second anniversary there. Or perhaps the writer remembers on the second anniversary ? A wonderful story, but not clear on prompt.
    6/10

  15. Avatar
    Priya

    The author has taken a fresh interpretation of the second anniversary. I enjoyed the tale and could resonate. It had special moments where I felt nostalgic. I would have loved to see a more stronger and coherant connect between the theme and the story. My rating 7/10.

  16. Avatar
    Vaijayanti Panchal

    The narrative was heart-warming and sweet. It made me nostalgic about my own school days. Sister’s character was etched out very well. One drawback though is the absence of any relation of the story to the prompt. But overall a good attempt. My rating would be 6/10

  17. Avatar
    Dakshata Kudanekar

    Have read such a positive story in a long while. Gives feel good factor. wont comment on prompt adherence as it was clearly mentioned by the Hive that though the prompt is the anniversary, writers should not limit their imagination restricted to anniversary celebrations. So, overall considering the rephrasing of certain sentences, I would give it 7/10.

  18. Avatar
    Alipi

    Wonderful memories relived with a tale of convent school and sisters. As a stand-alone story, it is a lovely read, but in the context of the theme second anniversary, I was unable to correlate.

  19. Avatar
    Ramya Srinivasan

    Loved the title and the story. The kind of influence teachers and mentors have on students is often underrated and this one brought it out with a very relatable story. I couldn’t see the connection to the prompt. One feedback I’ve is that it reads like a personal essay not like a story/fiction. I think this story could easily be converted into a short story format. My rating: 7/10

  20. Avatar
    Lavanya

    Teachers! Such a difference they make to our lives. I used to really love some and also hate some. but then, only lessons learnt either way.
    A heartwarming tale.
    I couldn’t find this story around the prompt. And only for that reason, rating 6

  21. Avatar
    Amrita Sarkar

    I forgot to rate earlier. Sorry. My rating is 6/10.

  22. Avatar
    Sangeetha Kamath

    Dear reviewers, thank you so much for taking time to read my story/memoir and appreciating it♥️. Glad it resonated with most of you and in turn revived your own childhood memories.
    As for the pointers on prompt adherence, the second section of the story is where I remember Sister on her second death anniversary which is in October( this didn’t come out as clearly as it should have) + it was around October itself when we would start practicing for Annual Day.
    Thank you once again dear reviewers

  23. Avatar
    Ashvani Sachdev

    The story is self evidently biographical in nature albeit some of the details may have been altered in the interest of smooth narration. However, the connection to the second anniversary prompt is incidental and the anniversary could well have been the first or the umpteenth without the story being affected. A very readable story all the same. 7.5/10

  24. Avatar
    Alipi

    6

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