“I Remember, I Remember…” Dina DeSilva
‘Memory lives on
Long after experiences have gone’
‘Unforgettable’ is the word I would use to describe the 33 years I spent as a lecturer in at Carmel College, Nuvem. There are sceptics who had asserted that we, young lecturers as we were then, would not last there more than two years. Well, did we prove them wrong!
The most remarkable memory I have of Carmel was its being like a family because the students and consequently the Staff were small in number – the former no more than 500 when I first joined. Though the number has grown steadily through the years, the college has not lost that special family-like quality.
The credit for that goes to those who have been at the helm of affairs – the Principals – who endeared themselves to Staff and students with their informal demeanour and an absence of the ‘high and mighty’ attitude which often characterises those who occupy the position.
The rapport between Staff and students was also truly amazing. Friendliness did not, however, degenerate into familiarity. Most of the Staff, as I remember, were approachable and understanding, supporting and helping one another as well as those in their charge.
Carmel College has always emphasised the all-round development of young women. Towards this end, participation in activities and events including sports was actively encouraged. Elocution, quizzes, conferences, seminars and the like got participation, with little need for prodding. The orator contest was a hotly-contested annual affair with newcomers competing with old hands to win the attractive trophy and enviable title instituted by Dr. Jerry Rodricks who was an actor and public speaker in his own right.
The inter-class one-act play competition was another event which generated much enthusiasm and bustling activity. Being often held to coincide with Teachers’ Day, the contest – a whole day affair – was a pleasant surprise for the Staff who were kept totally in the dark concerning the items.
The basketball game between Staff and students as one of the events of Teachers’ Day generated amicable rivalry and was applauded with great gusto.
Those who think that nuns are stiff and starchy not-so-human beings have not had the good fortune of rubbing shoulders with Apostolic Carmel nuns of Carmel College. When they let their hair down on Staff picnics they had us in splits especially with their mimicry and playlets done in mime. We never felt they were older or aloof; in fact, they were the most ready to participate in the crazy games the younger Staff members would think up to liven our spirits.
The office Staff and non-teaching Staff were and are the backbone of the institution – loyal, hardworking and cooperative. With quiet efficiency they took care of the technicalities and finance, enabling the institution to run like a well-oiled machine. Most of us were grateful for the thankless tasks which they performed – in fact, often thanklessly.
Faculty development workshops, retreats and other programmes built us up on the inside, opened our eyes to the needs of others and gave us deep insights into human nature in general and students in particular. Few are fortunate enough to get the opportunities we were given by the college. I for one am immensely grateful to the Managers of Carmel College who cooperated wholeheartedly in these ventures.
We also had our share of tragedies, losing persons who were close to us as a result of accidents – a laboratory attender, a lecturer, a watchman and more than one student. Though lost to us physically, they live on in our collective memory.
I could go on ad nauseam reminiscing about my life at Carmel College. George Foreman, the world heavyweight boxing champion, says, ‘It’s great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today!’ I could not have expressed it better. I pray that God bless each person whom with whom I came in contact and because of whom I have beautiful memories of my life in Carmel College.
Ms. Martha Pereira – Office Superintendent of Carmel College, Nuvem, a lady with immense beauty, powerful beyond measure, talented, hospitable and a magnetic personality. A successful lady who believed that success is about creating benefits for all and enjoying the process.
As we celebrate the golden jubilee of Carmel College, we cannot forget the one and only person who was instrumental in developing the college office from infancy to the pinnacle of perfection. Her tireless efforts, commitment, advance vision and the long hours spent in the college administration has made Carmel College office, what it is today with a difference. Having been gifted with a golden memory she was an archive of circulars, rules and documents pertaining to the college, right from the time of its inception.
To all of us in the office she was our Miss. Martha, fondly called as “Miss.”
For me she was a lighthouse of comfort and guidance. My dearest Miss… I really do miss you. You could read me through whenever I was lost, confused or in trouble. You taught me to face challenges with an optimistic mind, and gave me the strength to walk through life’s difficult situations. Your precious advice for me which I treasure the most: Pause, pray, think and go ahead “No matter what, always keep smiling” You were my inspiration and were always there when I needed you. You were a great motivator and always gave me the go-ahead signal whenever I required the push, so that I learnt to stand up on my own. You were a best teacher, friend, mentor and guide. All I can say is Thank you Miss… for making me the person I am today.
Miss. Martha was a caring and able administrator, a kind, just and understanding person, who spurs us on to give of our best by the example she sets.
A perfectionist to the core she has executed her duties with perfection. 42 years of her life in Carmel College, she has dedicated herself to leading this institution and all of us down a successful path with integrity, drive and compassion.
By nurturing her passion for gardening and sewing after her retirement, she has taught us that Life is a beautiful journey; one can never retire from life. Life goes on and you must continue doing what you love and what is dear to your heart.
Oh! Miss… My beautiful princess! you have left behind sweet golden memories which I shall cherish always.
On behalf of all of us in the Office who were very close to your heart, thank you Miss for the golden legacy of good principles and high values, you have left for us. May God bless you for all you have taught us, for all that you have meant to us and for all you have done to make this place a comfort zone. May the Lord Almighty bless you in all your ventures and undertaking.
Adeus e beijinos