One relies on pranayam to keep herself “mentally calm” and the other requires physiotherapy for relief from gout-induced pain.
As they flung chairs, climbed tables and ripped off a wooden partition at Christ Church Girls’ High School in Dum Dum on Thursday, it would have been hard to picture either woman as calm or battling a physical problem.
Metro tracked down the Dum Dum duo at the vanguard of the vandalism at their daughters’ school the day after and found them a tad embarrassed and surprised at the attention their antics have attracted.
Name: Papiya Mazumdar, homemaker
Lives in: Mall Road, Dum Dum
Education: Passed Class X from Dum Dum Girls School in 1997. Was planning to go to college when marriage beckoned.
Daughter: A student of Class VII. Doesn’t blame her mother for what happened on Thursday but is a little embarrassed at the thought of going back to school.
Yesterday: Hair tied in a bun, she had picked up a chair and flung it at nobody in particular before kicking a door open.
Today: Hair let loose over her shoulders and clad in a kurta and leggings, she spoke calmly and smiled often. Just what you would expect of a practitioner of pranayam.
Papiya has been doing an hour of pranayam every day since she started three to four weeks ago but promptly dispels the notion that it was the secret behind her strength to pick up and fling an iron chair.
“Pranayam doesn’t give you physical strength, it gives you mental stability,” she said.
But doesn’t it also teach a person to be calm and poised? The homemaker only smiled.
Papiya admitted to picking up a second chair, this one wooden, to hurl in the heat of the moment but said that someone else had “already broken it”.
“I didn’t start the bhang-choor (vandalism),” she pleaded. “The police was starting a lathicharge and I just joined the rest. We were not even allowed to meet the principal, so that’s why we protested. But I admit I should not have done what I did.”
On being shown a picture of her in attack mode on the front page of Friday’s edition of The Telegraph, Papiya said: “Look, it’s an iron-framed chair, as I had said. It’s not heavy.”
“I thought I was seen only on television channels. I didn’t know I was there on the front page of a newspaper, too.”
So did the presence of TV cameras inspire her to become so aggressive?
“It was important to tell them (the TV crews) what was happening in the school. But later I thought it would have been better had they not been there,” Papiya said.
On whether she would hurl things at home when angry, Papiya said: “I am a quiet, mild-mannered person.”
The homemaker, who loves cricket and idolises Sachin Tendulkar over Sourav Ganguly, is a dancer who has trained in two classical forms. “I learnt Kathak till the fifth year and did Bharatanatyam till the second year,” she said.
Name: Reshmi Dey, homemaker
Lives in: Bapuji Colony, off Jessore Road.
Education: Till Class IX in Christ Church Girls’ High School. Wrote Class X exams as an external candidate.
Daughters: Two, one of them a student of Class VII at Christ Church and another in Class XII at a different school.
Yesterday: In a beige sari, she had hopped from table to table, ripped open a wooden partition and picked up a computer monitor and some files to fling away.
Today: Reshmi came down the stairs of her home in a night dress, at first reluctant to face a reporter. After a while, she showed some bruises and said they were from Thursday’s incident. “I also got hit on my forehead.”
When she returned home after the vandalism at Christ Church, Reshmi’s mother-in-law had asked her: “How could you rip open the wooden partition despite your gout pain?”
Reshmi, whom her mother-in-law had seen in action live on TV, admitted she was speechless. “I don’t know where I got the strength from? I am undergoing physiotherapy because of gout pain in my left hand.”
The homemaker said she climbed a table to reach out and unbolt the door of the partition to accost the principal, who was on the other side.
“Some men had already ripped open a part of the door and so I quickly picked up those pieces of wood to try and pierce through the partition. I didn’t know that I had so much strength in my arms,” she smiled.
Did TV cameras have anything to do with her aggression? “Perhaps. I just couldn’t control myself. But it was all in the heat of the moment. My younger daughter had taken ill in school about a week back and nobody cared for her. But I should not have damaged school property. I repent doing that.”
So has she ever failed to control herself while being angry with her daughters over something?
“I don’t ever beat them. You can ask them. I used to scold my elder daughter but I don’t even do that with my younger one,” Reshmi said.