An article for my school magazine

I wrote a write-up for the school magazine of The Heritage School, Kolkata. I attended the school from classes 4 to 10, and it was fun to relive some of the moments I spent at that school. I am reproducing the article below.

I was a part of the first batch of students to join The Heritage School. I missed my family terribly at my Dehradun boarding school, and my parents decided to keep me back in Kolkata and admit me to the next best thing- a “day-boarding school”. I still have vivid memories of terrible mosquito infestations in the dining hall, snakes and other curious reptiles, the thin capillary of a road that connected Ruby Hospital to the school campus, and the myriad activities and clubs that were supposed to make us well-rounded individuals. I have behaved (and sometimes misbehaved) my way through four principals, seven class teachers, and 75 million “Namaste Ma’am”s and “Sir”s. As I look back to a school that I left thirteen years ago, I am blank and overflowing with memories at the same time.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the school is teachers. The Heritage School has the best teachers of all schools anywhere. Period. This point can perhaps only be appreciated when one leaves the school and steps out into a generally hostile world where you’re just another fly on the wall. I’ve been taught by teachers at fancy boarding schools in India, highly experienced IB teachers in Singapore, and famous researchers at reputable colleges in India and the United States. And I can say without reservation that nowhere else did I feel that the teachers really cared about my personal growth, and that we were all one big family. For this feeling of inclusiveness and belonging, I will always be grateful. All of this despite the fact that I was uninhibitedly stupid in almost everything I did.

I also remember the library being my favorite place in the school. One of my most painful memories is falling sick on library day in class 5 and not being able to go to school. The impossibly expensive and glossy books, the air conditioning, the comfortable seats- all of this made this the best place on campus. From reading Harry Potter secretly during class to the librarian secretly allowing me to borrow the Wheel of Time series from the restricted Teachers’ section, I am grateful to the school for encouraging a reading habit in all of us, that has surely contributed to who we are today.

When I left school in class X, it was one of the highest points in my life. I was the ICSE topper, had a coveted scholarship to complete classes 11 and 12 in Singapore, and anything seemed possible. Since then I have lived through many more academic highs and lows, chosen careers and then completely changed paths, learned more about my limitations, learned that connections with people matter much more than professional success, and have undergone the slow process of “humanization” that any person of my age can relate to. I even have some gray hair to show for it!

I am a completely different person now, of course. I have lived abroad for about one-third of my life, do research in an esoteric branch of Mathematics, and have forgotten most of what I learned in textbooks at school. However, my experiences at the school made me what I am today. Being a mathematician, I am obliged to prove this rigorously. So here goes: If I’d not gone to the Heritage school, I would never have found some of my best friends who I am still in touch with today, never have taken part in a bazillion extra-curricular activities that have now given me life-long hobbies, and never have escaped from the friendless hellhole that adolescence was for me in my apartment complex. Hence, it was only because of The Heritage School that I could have some of the best and formative memories of my life. QED 

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Graduate student

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