“You can always spot a Carmelite in a crowd” a phrase not so uncommon to my ears during my stint as a student of Carmel Higher Secondary School primarily in reference to our striking and prominent yellow and black uniform. At times the phrase came as a relief to parents and teachers in case their children wandered away while at other times the phrase was nothing more than a warning akin to ‘I see you’ or ‘I got my eyes on you’. Albeit the wide implications of the phrase, it is true that a Carmelite indeed always stands out in a crowd.
Having passed out from a single sex school, my ‘college’ life began in a most desolate and friendless manner to say the least, not because I hated the ‘college’ I was joining or the stream I chose to pursue but solely for the reason that my school friends chose to part ways with me to embark on a fun filled journey to various co-ed or popularly codified as ‘happening’ colleges whereas I on the other hand chose the ‘studious’ mostly known as boring path to Carmel Higher Secondary. But with age comes wisdom and with years gone by, I realized it’s not the destination that counts, it’s the journey and I cannot even once, ever regret my decision of joining the warm and convivial family of Carmelites.
So what is it that lets my Alma Mater carve out a niche for herself? Is it just the uncompromising attention and motivational drive to let the students excel in academics and sports or is it just a little something more? My years at Carmel’s made me realize that the answer is that Carmel’s has an almost magical way of encouraging students to be fearless, curious, to be enthusiastic – in short, to just be themselves. We as students could think out of the box, not fearing others would judge us…more importantly we were assured that no one would. Exploring our talents, our thoughts, and values was what Carmel’s was all about! Our confidence was nurtured not only by the teaching staff but the non teaching staff as well. It was as if they were oblivious to the words ‘IMPOSSIBLE’, ‘NO’, ‘UNATTAINABLE’ and many other words with negative connotations. I clearly recollect how the staff used to raise our spirits during Annual Day rehearsals, various other events that were organized during class hours, most importantly even during exams when things were going rough. We were never allowed to give up! We were made to believe and it was literally drilled into our young impressionable minds that we could do and could get done anything so long as we put our minds to it. And the learning dispensed with prime importance was that as girls growing to be women we mattered, our opinion mattered and we were independent, intelligent and we could take on the world.
Its no wonder thus, that passing out from Carmel’s I am pursuing a career that I have dreamed of since I was a teen – a career in law. The disguised praises sung to lawyers are not unknown to most, however, I had made a choice and I knew I would achieve it… Carmel’s taught me that I could. The reason I chose to pursue a career in law is indeed a simple one since as opposed to various other professions, law provided me a platform to fight for justice. More significantly in the process of imparting justice, I had the opportunity to inculcate in the minds of my clients principles and virtues that my Alma Mater had so generously instilled in me.
In my daily routine at work I am constantly faced with women and children who are victims of difficult and arduous situations most often leaving them lost, lonely, dejected and worst of all vulnerable. It is the tragedy of life that most people today find life unbearable and unworthy but opposed to the abyssal misconception and erroneous perception, I truly believe that through my profession I am able to save lives of people, restore faith in humanity and allow people to see life in a different spectrum, a spectrum that gives them hope, belief and a desire to give back to the very world that took so much away from them.
So as it is told “when someone does you a big favor, don’t pay it back… Pay It Forward”. I would like to believe that Carmel’s taught me and thousands of girls that lesson and it is not because of some uniform that we are known or for our excellence in academics or sports. You see the real reason why Carmelites are SPOTTED ANYWHERE IN A CROWD is because in the spirit of their Alma Mater they always ‘PAY IT FORWARD’.