When I think of Oak Grove School, my mind invariably fills with beautiful and nostalgic memories of my childhood spent in the Oak Woods and the Valleys.
My connection becomes special as I was born there since my mother Mrs. Joshi was teaching in the Oak Grove School. She taught there for three grand decades without a break. She joined as a teacher in the senior girls’ school in 1961, then a young girl of 17 years with ‘Adhikari’ as her maiden name and left in 1990.
She initially joined as a Music teacher and subsequently went on to teach Hindi and Sanskrit too.
As a teacher, she was an all-rounder not just in the academics but also in extracurricular activities, directing the play of excellent dramas, dances, music programs for all the events of the school. She was active in writing debates and declamations for inter-school competitions both in Hindi & English languages and her students won laurels on these written declamations by bringing in whole lot of trophies to the school’s glory. There are so many of her students now who owe their becoming of people of character to her. She was instrumental in sculpting their life with finesse and moral values.
Students, staff and colleagues have always loved and respected her to the extent that she is fondly remembered to this day by so many of her students. She would gladly cook ‘Ghar ka Khana’ from her small kitchen in her cottage and colleagues would gather and savour the dishes prepared by her during evenings around the fire in winter times. While some students were privileged to receive their share of food hand delivered by her, I along with friends would discreetly sneak into her cottage to relish the same.
She was equally cared for and loved by her class-IV staff in whose care and love me and my brother were brought up. I remember taking rides on their shoulders as ‘pitthoo’ and carried to ‘Chuna Khala’ often sighting a leopard on the way. Tuna Singh ji, Mubarak ji, Kalhan (head chef) and Choti Aaya ji are the few names that I remember.
She took VRS in 1990 as the promotion rightfully due to her was given away to someone very junior to her. She however graciously accepted the politically motivated decision and chose to move out rather than become a part of the infighting with the school authorities.
Her journey in the school was thus truly fascinating. She gave a lot to the school and vice versa. May God bless her and her beloved school Oak Grove.
– Surabhi Goel
This article was sent in by Surabhi Goel (1983 batch), Mrs. Joshi’s daughter, upon request on September 23, 2017.Tags: Surabhi Goel Teacher Tribute Vinodini Joshi