It will be difficult to think of a Rishi Valley without Sathibai Akka. Children were her life, as much as much as she was an inseparable part of the school's life. As House Mother of Red House and effective head of the Children's School, since the late '50s she must has been a most caring and devoted surrogate mother to generation after generation of RVites. She inculcated her meticulous care in personal care and good home values, keeping a very strict discipline. Yet it was impossible to resist, leave alone resent this, as she was equally warm, affectionate and genuinely caring.
Sathibai Akka was aways involved in some part of our lives at Rishi Valley. She supervised so many activities in the Junior School that her presence was felt everywhere. To the extent that walking past her was never a cursory exchange of wishes. She would always notice something and show her concern in a most spontaneous way, be it a nice shirt, untidy hair do, or wherever she had known, sickness or injury. So sharp was her observation, that she could even make some of our junior House Masters a trifle uncomfortable with a question on a ward's being shabbily dressed, moving about with an undressed wound or being seen trying to jump off a tree!
Meeting her in late '99 was an experience in itself, at RVS with few batch mates. We barged right into her class, having reached the Childrens' Section just after the morning Interval. Seeing us all, she just stood silently, glowing with an emotion that is difficult to describe. Gathering herself in a few seconds, patting a shoulder of each of us one by one, introduced us to each to the children of the class by name, batch year, home-town, brothers and sisters. Then, much to the kids' amusement, she made us sit down in the class until she finished!
Such people will always stay on through the lives they touch and the world they change.