Some time back my mother, Rekha Karmakar, wrote about the start of her teaching career in Delhi. This is the link to that post. This is the second part of the series which looks at the start of her second stint in teaching, this time at Kolkata
The second phase of my career started in a college of Calcutta University, where I worked for twenty five long years. It saw me through many ups and downs in my life and provided me not only sustenance but also the mental stability to face the adversities of my life. While writing about the college, quite often, many personal stories will come up as I cannot separate one from another.
During the ten years gap between my two colleges, I travelled quite a bit of the world, completed my family and also became more mature as a person – never thinking that I would ever work again. The desire to pursue my career, though, still flickered in my mind, for which reason , I wished to add to my qualifications by doing B.Ed so that I could get a job somewhere even after a gap of ten years.
The opportunity to do B.Ed came to me in a strange way. My elder son K was only five years old when we came back from abroad. Wishing to give him nothing but the best education, we admitted him to Calcutta International School at Lee Road, which meant travelling for more than one hour by local train and bus as we had been staying in a suburban place due to family reasons.
After dropping K at school, I used to loiter around, with other moms, from 8.30 a.m to 1 p.m as it was no use going and coming back again. I felt very frustrated because of the wastage of time.
One day I crossed the main road before the school and went to a college on the other side, where they taught B.Ed. I grabbed the opportunity and got admitted to the college for B.Ed course.
I used to attend classes in the college when K was at school. I would pick him up at 1 p.m, giving him a tiffin cake or some tit bit and again go back to the class-room with K, of course, taking the teacher’s permission while K would be drawing. His dad used to come at 2 p.m and take us mostly to ‘Jimmy’s Kitchen’, a Chinese restaurant at A.J.C Bose Road for lunch. After lunch, he would drop us at Ballygaunge station so that we could take a train for home while he stayed back at Calcutta for his medical practice and surgery. Those were the days !
B.Ed Course in the college was over shortly but there was no sign of examination anywhere since it was delayed for almost two years as was wont those days.
I utilized the intervening period by appearing in interviews for college jobs through college service Commission which had been formed just a few years ago.
Finally, when the dates of the B.Ed examination were announced, I found to my dismay that the date of my examination and the date for the delivery of my second child almost coincided with each other. The doctor said that I might not be able to complete all the papers in case of delivery. I took the risk and appeared for my B.Ed examination much to the chagrin of my doctor. By the way, my baby was born just four days after my examination.
This much of the story was for needed for the post since I got an appointment as a full time lecturer in the B.Ed Deptt of a college after a few months and to qualify for the post, a B.Ed degree was absolutely necessary.
At that time, K was eight and a half years whereas Sid was only nine months old. But I decided to take up the job as I was about to complete thirty five years and according to the rules of College Service Commission, one cannot apply for a regular job after the age of thirty five. By joining the college, I entered into a new phase of my career, the story of which will feature in the next two parts.