I was a student of VMWC when it was simply called ‘Modern College’, or, as my sister and I refer to fondly to this day, ‘Modern’.
Its inception year was the year I was born, so it feels like another close tie. I cannot thank Mr Rakesh Kapoor enough for his vision for this school that has always been way ahead of its times. And I can’t thank my parents enough for enrolling me in this school that went on to play such a magnificent role in shaping my life.
I have always been a good student so I could have excelled in academics anywhere. The curriculum for all schools is almost the same (unfortunately, Modern was not an IB school during my time). What made Modern stand apart was its holistic approach towards its students. And for this, I would give credit to the entire staff of the school.
To prove my point I would like to share a few anecdotes:
Any student could walk into the principal’s office anytime with a question. Now, most were unduly scared, but not me. Mr Rakesh Kapoor was the principal during my time. I remember walking into his cabin to question him about higher percentage set for scholarship, for a curriculum change, for break timings, against bullying, to show off something I made, and I was never sent away. I was treated like a young adult. I was listened to, explained things and only then sent back, reassured. I had no clue then, but he must have been a busy man, running a school as he did. But he took time out to address the concerns of one student. I was never ridiculed, or told that the principal was busy or scolded for wasting his precious time. I was always important! I also remember the times he played football with the 11th and 12th standard boys, when it rained, and got his clothes dirty. I’ve not seen many principals bond that way with his students.
Modern was particular about getting the basics right, like languages. Back then, we neglected English in favour of Hindi for our daily conversation. Our teachers knew that the only way to master a language that is not your first, is to converse in it. So, we were rated on the basis of how much English we used during our daily conversation, and the beauty of it was that we had to rate ourselves!!! It went much beyond than just trying to make us experts in English. This was actually an exercise in integrity, and honesty. Nobody judged us, or questioned us. I have seen how every one of us honestly graded ourselves. We rated ourselves low if we didn’t really speak in English, even if it meant losing the golden star at the end of the week. We might not have emerged better English speakers, but we emerged honest human beings. This exercise taught us honesty, and yes, healthy competition.
The school has always been strict about timings. This one morning I got late, and the school gates were closed. I have never been fond of missing school (yes, we exist!) There was a bunch of other kids out there who were late too, and wanted to get in. I took an initiative and wrote an application to the principal, stating why I was late, promising this will never be repeated. The watchman took the letter to the principal, who could have easily ignored it and told me to get lost. But I was actually summoned to his room. I was probably in my 7th or 8th standard. He said that he was impressed by my letter and gave me a choice. He said if I wished, I could attend, but none of the others will be allowed. I had to make a decision. I told him that either all of us went in, or all went back. I went back home. I didn’t know then, but this taught me a very important lesson in leadership that day. I don’t remember much of the rest of the day, but I do remember the choice I made and it makes me happy.
Modern was never about only studies, or cramming up to get good grades. We were developed as individuals. Never mind if someone scores 60%, he will still be applauded if he is a good artist.
We had science fairs, dance, drama, salad-making, music, rangoli, you name it. Everything was taken equally seriously. We were encouraged to discover ourselves. It was instilled into us to respect our seniors and look after our juniors, and our seniors always led by example. Teachers didn’t just teach and go home. They were always involved in our lives with a patient ear and helpful advice. I was a very good student but not an easy one. Must have been very difficult because I was naughty, and arrogant because I still always secured the 1st or the 2nd position. I’m sure I gave everyone a tough time, but looking back, I see that Modern helped me develop into myself as much as my parents did.
I am now a clinical embryologist and I have my Master’s degree in the same from University of Oxford, UK. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities of the world. So I would say my academic journey began and ended with the best in business. I am as proud to be an alumnus of Oxford as I am of Modern. I visited the school a couple of years ago, after about 10 years. It was unbelievable to see that Meena ma’am and Rakesh sir didn’t only recognize me, they remembered every little thing about me. It was incredible. It was like I’m still important. It was like coming home!
I have seen above average success by the grace of Almighty. But I do believe my alma mater has a lot to do with how my life has turned out to be. Basically, how Modern shaped me from the soft clay that I was into the confident woman that I am today. I wish VMWC all the best for all the future endeavors! Keep up the excellent work of inspiring young individuals to be the best they can be!