Sam was 6 years old when he was sent off to Boarding school.
Sam’s Dad Rev NS Mathew was a minister of the Methodist church in the Medak Diocese. Sam’s mum Alice was a teacher. Together they worked in remote villages in Andhra Pradesh. As they were often transferred from one village to another with rhythmic periodicity , they had to make the painful decision of putting their three sons Sam, John and Prem in The Wesley Boys School and boarding in Secunderabad.
When Sam’s Dad used to drop him off at school, father and son used to cry. Sam used to clutch the front of his Dad’s cassock and cry
Daddy don’t go, Daddy please don’t go…Sam made a promise to himself that he would never send his kids to school. A promise he could not keep.
Years later when we were in Nepal, we had to make the painful decision of sending our kids to boarding school. Sam used to go with our kids to The Mount Hermon Boarding School in Darjeeling to leave them. Rekha’s little chin used to quiver and she would wipe her tears and Sam’s tears with her little hand and say, Daddy don’t cry, please don’t cry.
Anish, fifteen months younger than his sister, used to cling to Sam’s shirt, bury his crumpled little face in Sam’s tummy and sob, Daddy, don’t go. Daddy, please don’t go.
It used to break Sam’s heart .The kids I am told would be fine within the hour as they would have been taken out to play and distracted by the teachers and wardens. Sam on the other hand stricken by remorse and perhaps reminded of his own days in boarding school, would cry all the way home.
Sam the parent hurt more than Sam the child, Sam always said.