Mrs. Vanaja Vimal

I didn’t believe I was capable of drawing or writing particularly neatly as a kid. My handwriting wasn’t bad – but it wasn’t good either.

I met Mrs. Vanaja Vimal – a.k.a “Vanaja miss” – in my 8th grade when she introduced herself as our new science teacher. She shared in that class that she expected neat submissions every time – no exceptions.

She then turned around to write her first set of notes on the white board.

I still remember our reaction when we first saw her writing. It was pristine. Almost like someone had typed it out in a cursive font.

She then drew something on the board. Again, pristine. It was clear she meant business.

That year, our science notebooks were significantly neater than all the others.

In time, that experience made me realize that I could write and draw a whole lot neater than I thought. It changed the game.

Sometimes, all it takes is for us to meet someone who has that combination of high expectations (both in what they say and do) and a belief in our ability to meet them.

“Vanaja miss” was certainly one of them.