On Wednesday, a few of Jayalalithaa’s classmates took part in a special meeting at the school to condole her death.

Love from Bengaluru Ammas classmates remember the studious Jayalalithaa
news Jayalalithaa Wednesday, December 07, 2016 - 21:59

The ‘determined and studious Jayalalithaa Jayaram’ is how her classmates from a Bengaluru school remember the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. 

At a special meeting convened by the Old Girls Association of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School in Bengaluru on Wednesday, Jayalalithaa was remembered as the smart Cottonian who departed well before her time. 

Jayalalithaa studied at the school from 1955 to 1958, before moving to Chennai. But the brief time she spent at the school had been enough for Jayalalithaa to leave her distinct mark. 

"We still remember her as the same little girl who would run around the school with a smile on her face," one of her ex-classmates said. 

Girija Shankar, who studied with Jayalalithaa, fondly remembered an episode that eventually led to the entire class having to pledge that they would never speak in class again.

“At the time, we used to have a teacher who was not an Indian. She had difficulty in pronouncing many of the Indian names, and resorted to calling us ‘you, woman’ in class. One day while the teacher was not facing the class, Jayalalithaa imitated the teacher’s very same mannerism. ‘You, woman,’ she whispered. All of us broke into peals of laughter at this. Eventually, we had to write a hundred times that we would never speak in the class,” Girija chuckles. 

Girija added, "Not many of you would know that Jayalalithaa had returned to the school for a term in Class 8. I was her classmate then."  

Another classmate Fatima Jaffer, who later went on to work at the school, recounted her excitement at finding out that she was also part of a batch in which Jayalalithaa had studied, all those years ago. 

Dr Stella Samuel, who had been the Principal in the year 2000, had spent much effort in digging out old records of Jayalalithaa and her batchmates. She was pleasantly surprised to find the name of Fatima Jaffer in the list, who then worked at the school. 

“I was really excited to know that she used to be my classmate. Over the years, many would ask me why I hadn’t met her in person. Somehow, I was never able to meet her, but I was fortunate enough to distribute the sweets she used to send to the students every year on her birthday. Words fail me now,” Fatima said. 

Fatima Jaffer 

For the past 16 years, Jayalalithaa had regularly re-connected with the school and never forgot to send sweets to the students of the school on February 24, her birthday.

Read: Bishop Cotton School in Bengaluru fondly remembers “Old Girl” Jayalalithaa

Dorothy Sampath, another classmate, remembered Jayalalithaa as the orator who was able to get straight As in academics and make it appear so effortless. 

“When we got the grades, we would go and ask her how much she got. And then she would shyly say that she scored an A,” Dorothy said. 

Though they had known her intimately only as a child, everyone at the meeting agreed that Jayalalithaa was appropriately named Amma, the mother of all, who did not forget her children. 

As her alma mater remembered a studious student who went on to achieve great heights, a screen on stage flashed Jayalalithaa's photographs in her many avatars. Jayalalithaa as a child, a student of Bishop Cottons, a dancer, an actor, a budding politician and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The memory of her recent passing was not included in the presentation. 

As Sarayu Perumal, President of Old Girls Association of the school said, "Though she is no more, the school will continue to celebrate February 24, Amma's birthday." 




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