Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I stood at the doorway of a transparent door, staring at floor.It wasn't the normal tiled floors you see, It was made of a well polished brown wood, the type of brown you'd want a cowboy hat to be. 'Don't just stand there, come on in babes', said a voice that belonged to an elderly woman who looked to be in her early seventies. She wore a black a black scooped neck top which was tastefully highlighted with a beautiful layered necklace and a vibrant orange and red skirt which she later told me she had bought in Bombay for a sum of 90 rs and has had it for the past eight years. She wore a couple of silver intricately detailed bangles, a black cord hung around her neck which was attached to the glasses that sat on the bed of her gray hair and the most stylish black sandals that did a little criss cross around her ankle that she had designed herself and got them made by a local mochi(cobbler) who sat by the pavement of the Panjim ferry.

She stretched out her arm towards me.'Jean Kalgutkar' she said with a warm smile on her face. Before I could respond we were interrupted by a tall lanky boy. "Hi Ma'am" he said, 'babes! you know I hate the sound of that, sounds like some fancy bleating. TEA-CHERR', she said firmly, holding up her index finger 'teacher' she repeated. 'Why you late babes?, and where are the rest of the tenors?' She looked at me 'these tenors are never on time'. she said with a slight bit of annoyance in her voice. 'I'm not a tenor' interrupted the boy 'I'm a bass'. 'Sorry babes, I'm 81 and can't remember every little thing' she said with a silly yet charming grin across her face. She turned to me again, 'welcome to the college choir babes'. 'Now where are those tenors?' she said grinding her teeth.

Miss Jean trained the College choir at Kala Academy, Panjim. At 81 any anyone would be more than content to lay in their bed surrounded by the comfort of the four walls surrounding them. But not miss Jean, She was a busy-body, a reader, a workaholic, a lover of music and the arts, she believed that there was always something to learn no matter how old you were, she was a feminist, and a perfectionist and would not put up with mediocrity.She didn't stand in judgment of anyone or anything, I can't say the same for politics and current affairs. She expressed her strong opinion over them and never failed to share all her knowledge with us. 

I had the privilege of training under miss Jean and being a part of her college choir and singing A capella. And to have gotten the opportunity of being trained by a woman as inspiring as Miss Jean. Oops, I meant Teacher.