ORMAKALILE VASANTHAKALAM: B. Hrudayakumari; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 90.

THE AUTHOR, B. Hrudayakumari, a college teacher for 36 years, says every class is a universe. The interaction between the teacher and her students in an institutional framework produces several layers — some deep, some superficial — and she merely touches on some of them in her memoirs. The richness of her long academic career glows in this work. It also radiates the agony of a mind, saddened by the decline in educational standards.

As a student of the Women’s College in Thiruvananthapuram, Hrudayakumari had earned the Principal’s reprimand for watching a protest march that passed by. Decades later, as its Principal, she had to let the students out to join demonstrations.

She wryly characterises it as a transition from Dwapara Yuga to Kali Yuga. She says, more in sorrow than in anger, that there is but a small gap between revolutionary fervour and anti-social behaviour. She identifies the late 1960s as the period that saw the beginning of changes for the worse.

Hrudayakumari’s recollections are peppered with good-humoured accounts of the foibles of teachers and students. The true worth of the work, however, lies in her observations on higher education.