Friday, October 3, 2014

A Charming Monte-Story

A true story!

My great aunt, who had been widowed during the second World War, moved to Patiala, to live alone and set up a school (which later became one of the best known in the state).  Needless to say, this was quite unheard of in those days.  She was a fiercely independent and determined character, a combination of the two Wodehousian aunts: "Aunt Dahlia, my good and kindly aunt and Aunt Agatha, the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth".  She came to Simla when Maria Montessori visited India, to attend her classes.  In the morning she would attend the classes held in English and in the afternoon she functioned as interpreter, and translated the same lectures into Hindi.

Along with her, came an aunt of mine, a soft, delicate lady; a nervous and timid soul.  She was taking the classes as well.  For some reason she was ill during the examination.  However, she managed to take the exam and afterwards, began nervously pacing the corridor, trying to find out if she had cleared the papers or not.  She was not really paying attention as to where she walked, and in this process she bumped into Montessori's son, Mario (who had accompanied his mother to Simla).

"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, " my aunt muttered, looking terribly confused and embarrassed.  Mario was unperturbed.  "You are sorry," he said, with a smile, "And I am Montessori." 

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