This is Ms Parke. Ms Parke was my elementary school principal. This is her giving me my first award in kindergarten. Ms Parke was the most elegant woman I had ever met. Everything about her, from her hair, to her sari to her words were sophisticated, measured and never out of place.
She was the kind of person in whose presence problems resolved themselves because she was so calm and wise. If she didn’t have a solution, she had a prayer and a cup of tea with a slice of cake. She was stern, generous and loving like elders should be.
Ms Parke was the Delhi I grew up in. Where we didn’t talk about religion in ways that divided us, where one friends’ problems was for everyone to share and find compassion for, where means were modest but we fed like we were feeding royalty.
Ms Parke was eternally young. She has left the world after over 9 decades of touching thousands of lives, each with a special story about her. She was an umbrella above our heads and we never outgrew it. She stayed close to home but her prayers traveled with me to my hospital when I had my high risk pregnancy and to my fathers hospital when he had his stroke.
We are the sum of the lives that touched us. Somewhere all her students carry a bit of her. Like artists, teachers are immortal, if they’ve been anything like Ms Parke, you know they are waiting for you in the sky reminding you to eat well, drink plenty of water and keep you head high, no matter what happens.
Thank you Ms Parke. Always be the umbrella on our heads. It rains far too often.