Contest 4: A Tribute to Your Teacher

Note: This contest is CLOSED. The winner will be announced on Friday, 19th September. If you missed this, don’t worry. The next one will be coming along shortly.

 

Contest-Cup

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What is the topic?

Teacher's Birthday - Norman Rockwell - 1956

The theme for this fortnight’s contest is: Teacher

Teacher’s Day has just passed, so I thought it will be fun to do a giveaway based on teachers.

Here are some ideas

1. Autobiographical: You could write a tribute to a teacher from your own life.

2. Fiction: Write a mood piece or a short story featuring the theme of a ‘teacher’ or ‘teaching’.

3. Poetry: Write a poem, a haiku, a limerick, free verse – anything as long as you stick to the theme.

4. Essay: A reflective piece on teachers and teaching.

5. Contrarian: Remember that not all of our teachers were good. You may want to write about a teacher who has stuck in your memory for a ‘bad’ reason. I mention this because it is possible to write dark pieces based on teachers and students.

So give your imagination a little fillip, and get to work. As always, the word limit is 300 words. But that’s only a guideline. You can, of course, break it. In fact, I give away an award for those who do.

How is the winner selected?

Each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

A Quick Note

Even if you’re not confident about the ‘quality’ of your writing, please participate. One of the great joys of running a community-style writing group like this is to behold the variety of ideas that come out. So give voice to your thoughts. Tell us your stories. It doesn’t matter how well or badly you (think you) write.

Form

This is up to you. Do you feel you can put your point across the best way through a poem? Are you more comfortable with an essay? Or do you prefer to write a short story or a narrative piece?

Anything and everything will work, as long as you stay under 300 words and on topic.

Videos and images are not valid entries.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, the 17th of September, 2014. The winner will be announced on Friday, the 19th of September, 2014.

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.

See you in the comments.


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Comments

  1. Falguni srikanth says:

    Teacher has a very important role in my life.When I was a nursery student my teacher made me love the school and education.
    When I was in the middle school and high school my music teacher gave me life long gift of music and the songs and ragas he taught I remember now also after 40 years .
    When I went to All India institute of speech and hearing Mysore I met teachers Dr. N. Rathna and Dr.Vyasamurthy who shaped my future and my life.
    It’s not the subjects but the professional ethics and values that stuck with me.
    It’s very important for a teacher to ignite love for the subjects in a students heart and then after some time leave them to be independent.I was very lucky to have such teachers .
    When my son was growing up I hoped and prayed for him to have similar experience and he got some very nice teachers.
    I keep noticing these days that such teachers r rare and it’s very sad.
    To be a good teacher is a win win situation for a teacher and the pupil both and ultimately when you grow old the satisfaction of teaching someone is more than all the property and gold and money we have.
    Would like to suggest to the younger generation to be good teachers and to respect good teachers.
    One more very important point is that parents are the first teachers a child has.I learnt so much from my parents that I can’t begin to count.
    Hope I didn’t sound like a lecturer but had to share in this forum.
    Thanks.

    Like

    • Hi Aunty,

      Thanks for sharing this. I agree that teachers are not just teachers, but they also become role models. Especially high school teachers, because we’re all in that age when we want to have role models and we’re looking for them. I’m constantly amazed by how vivid my memories are of my high school teachers.

      Why do you think the practice doesn’t exist any more, though? Do you think teachers today are hard-pressed to give attention to children? Or has it become too commercialized?

      And no, you didn’t sound like a lecturer at all. Words of wisdom are always welcome 🙂

      Like

      • Falguni srikanth says:

        I correct my self even now there are so many role model teachers.Sometime I feel education is too commercialized and some treat education as business.😄😄I am biased maybe..

        Like

  2. “What does God look like? Can I see or touch God?” I had asked Sister Anne this question several times, but the answer eluded me. She always smiled beatifically before replying, “God is a pure spirit; even if you can’t see or touch Him, you can always feel Him around you.”

    Sister Anne was a celebrity of sorts for us school children. A small cane was her constant companion, though it belied the kindness with which she treated us all. I attribute my foundation in Mathematics, to her style of teaching, which made the subject interesting and fun. Besides Mathematics, she was also assigned “take-up” classes when the subject teachers were on leave. She was equally versatile in teaching English, Science and Social Sciences. She made the class interactive and lively with her witticisms. We secretly wished the subject teachers to be absent more often, so that Sister Anne took up those classes. Her energy levels always inspired me.

    I remember when some of us were creating ruckus in the class during an interlude, she walked in. She summoned me and a few others, who were involved in breaching discipline. She ordered us to extend our palm, and for the first time, we realized that the cane would finally come of use. The impact of her cane striking our palm was no more than that of a languorous grasshopper lashing us with a twig. Sister Anne called it punishment.

    It was a Sports Day. I had taken a nasty fall, and had bruises on both my knees and forearms. Sister Anne lifted me all by herself to the Infirmary, a good distance from the playground. She cleaned my wound with antiseptic and applied first aid. I felt reassured on seeing her do a “Florence Nightingale” and by her gentle touch.

    My question was answered that day!

    Like

    • Very nice, Jayant! I went to a missionary school myself, and my most enduring memory is that of our principal, Father Augustine, who used to do the rounds with a cane tucked behind him. Noisy, unruly classes used to die down into silence when the shadow appeared at the window. I think we developed a bit of a sixth sense when he would appear, almost like a doe or a zebra would perk up when a lion is approaching. We used to piss in our pants.

      I was a back-bencher, and I was quite talkative when I was young. (Some would say that hasn’t changed.) I had quite a few run-ins with Father Augustine. Unfortunately, unlike your Sister Anne, this guy had not one witty bone in his body, and he rarely smiled. He was bearded, and he had the eyes of a cat.

      Thanks for awakening those memories and making me shudder, Jayant 😛

      Like

  3. When we all growing up, we gather knowledge from different people. While Parents stand as first/immediate access for all the guidance , Teachers play a vital role in shaping up the individual.
    And especially people coming from rural places and their parents being uneducated, we give or take it as it is whatever our teachers say is right and Yes We for sure come across few teachers stands as best guide for you and surely would have impacted you to get motivated in life. I had one teacher who has full confidence in my brilliance although I myself never believed I can be a topper in the class, used to beat me on the occasions when I score less than 95 percent and I used to him that time and never understood why this man is beating me although I was better than many others in the class. I used to hate him or curse him inside me just because he beats for scoring less. But later when I got through from college and was PG, I realized that he has paved a very good foundation that I can build whatever I want on that ,in my life. In short, Parents and Teachers never work against our good. Its only our incapacity to understand or stupidity or immaturity make it look like the other way.
    Thanks,
    Manie.
    “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

    Like

    • Haha, I can relate to this completely. Throughout my school life, I only heard one thing from my teachers: he can come first. Once a teacher even caned me for getting ‘only 70%’ in a Mathematics exam. There was a girl called Neelima who used to come first always, and I used to be right behind her, missing out by a few marks here and there.

      In my tenth standard, Neelima left school, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. They thought that finally, this guy (meaning me) will come first. But another girl called Anupama, who had always come third until that year, decided to leapfrog me and take first rank. I came second that year too.

      If only I had a hundred-rupee-note for every time I was told off for not coming first…

      Thanks for sharing, Manie 🙂

      Like

  4. Anisha Mohata says:

    ‘Hey! You okay?’ Dr. Kruti’s colleague asked her.

    ‘Yeah! I think.’

    ‘Want to talk about it?’ He asked.

    ‘Her condition has worsened. Today her child misbehaved with him. And he is upset about it.’

    ‘You do know we shouldn’t be so attached to our patients.’ He said pulling her in a side hug.

    ‘You remember my teacher Anu Sharma I once told you about?’

    ‘Anu Sharma. The one who became your backbone during school days?’

    ‘Yup!! She is the patient.’

    The days went by. Anu recognized her student while Kruti tried her best to cure her. Her family cut off from her, as all she did was nag and annoy them. She hated being pitied and that’s what her family failed to understand.

    ‘How are you feeling today?’ Kruti asked, sitting next to her bed on a stool.

    ‘Just like every day.’

    There was a small silence and then she whispered the words she has been dreading to ask kruti.

    ‘How long do I have?’

    Kruti didn’t want her to lose hope just yet.

    Taking her hands in hers rubs soft circles on them, she replies ‘ We are trying our best. Don’t lose hope.’

    ‘Do you love me my child?’ She asked.

    Kruti hated that she doubts her feeling.

    ‘What kind of questions is this? ‘ She sighed and stood up.

    The look in her eyes was clear that she was hurt more by her not answering.

    She tried to say, but her words failed her. No voice came out from her mouth.

    Later in the evening she was taking a walk in the corridor when she saw some nurses running in her room. Worry was written in everyone’s face.

    She sat numb near the door when she heard someone speak before she could enter in the room ‘Note the time of death.’

    Her eyes full of sadness keep flashing in front of her eyes. She remembers the time spent with her.

    The days when even her parents give her, she was next to her like a guardian angel to guide her.

    She wished to apologize to her. Hug her. Tell her she loves her. Her lifeless body lay in front of her.

    All she did was holding her hand, hoping she would squeeze it back.And now she is drowning in the guilt which was tearing her into shreds.

    She was her role model and will always be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poignant piece, Anisha. Often the things that we remember the most are the times when something was left unsaid. This is true, I think, especially if the person leaves us for good.

      I did not understand clearly why Kruti did not tell her teacher how much she loved her when she was alive. Was there something holding her back? Or was she just shy? Maybe an incident that made Kruti think that Anu disapproved of her?

      Either way, thanks for your piece.

      Like

  5. Rohit Bhasy says:

    I wrote this on Teacher’s Day…its not 500 words…i needed to do justice to each one of them…500 words couldn’t do it. So here is a list of all my favourite ‘Teachers’

    Vijayshree teacher – back in school as a first standard student she left an impression on my young mind…though i dont remember exactly why i liked her…i remember her today…

    Prarthana Kadam teacher – Was in my 5th standard…it was her first year as a teacher at CPV…I liked her.. She was innocent..taught well…by the end she complained to my mom that i was extremely mischievious. Nice..

    Vijaya teacher – i was never a remarkable student in school…but Vijaya teacher still remembers me…which is remarkable…she taught us histrory…dont know why..she reminded me of my mother.

    Patil Sir – Just two alphabets…P T.

    Prashant Padhye Sir – My saviour…had it not been for Sir, i would have reached where i am today..a year late….to help someone who was a disaster in maths, score more than 80% in his final exams is no small feat… I’ll always remember his polite demeanour…they dont make it like him often…

    Swati Pramod Padhye Mam – Meticulous. That one word would summarize her clinical approach to teaching. A woman with a big heart and a loud voice.. Thanks mam for my scores in 10th…

    Kiran Pratheep – Standard 11 and 12. If there is one teacher…who believed in me and my writing skills even when i didn’t its Kiran mam…That was the first time i felt like being the teacher’s pet. Her encouragement and belief in me is something i’ll never forget…extremely fond of her.

    Sabiha Ghazali – Graduation – She took up the reins from Kiran mam…her sessions on public speaking helped me in developing my confidence…was a proud part of the college magazine edItorial team…all thanks to her…

    Anthony Paul Sir – Graduation(food production). He had immense knowledge and inimitable style. Was wonderful in the kitchen practicals…sad that he left the institute later but lucky that i could learn from him

    Rukhshana Bilimoria- Graduation – She was the sweetest teacher i had…innocent. Enjoyed the kitchen practicals. It was always fun filled and full of learning…one big lesson i learnt is this..’ never pull out the whistle of a pressure cooker that has been taken straight off the flame’. Thank you mam for screaming at me that day…i’ve been most careful with the cooker since…

    Sanjay sir – Bakery – one word…Master

    Ujjwala Sawant – first job
    Learnt a lot from her…she was my guardian at work…saved my ass from an angry guest….her smile assured me that everythings alright

    Daniel Chatterton – My first boss. Learnt a lot from him…thanks for believing in me.

    Ruchika mam – mba – During the early days as her student…i created a false impression that i was Studious….Ruchika mam realized her mistake with the results of the mid term exams….she managed to push me off to safety with great difficulty. I could sense her disappointment. But i hope her disappointments were laid to rest with the end result. Thank you mam.

    Omanakuttan Sir – The little bit of singing that i do, i owe it to him. He put a leash on my Sur and Taal. I thank him for that.

    Ravi Ponkshe SIr – Sir introduced me to the ‘Stage’ at a young age (wow! that rhymes). I thank him for instilling in me, the confidence to perform in front of an audience.

    Swapnil Sir – I was always fascinated by the Guitar. Swapnil Sir brought the fantasy to life. Have been making music ever since.

    Monish Maitra – He is just two years elder to me and is my office colleague. But he gave an additional dimension to the ‘Creative’ me. I never knew MS word could do such things. Have learnt a lot from him and have begun enjoying designing.

    As my journey continues…..as i keep learning each day….i look back today at the great teachers i’ve had…and feel humbled….i’ve been lucky and blessed indeed….waiting to learn from many more great teachers….

    Like

    • Hi Rohit,

      I LOVED this! Each image of your teachers reminded me of some teacher from my own past. ‘Just two letters: P.T.’ Isn’t that the truth? Whenever I meet my school friends, we still make jokes about our P.T. student.

      Also loved the short write-up about Ruchika Mam, whom you conned into thinking that you were studious. Usually with me it was the other way around. Until the first-term exams, almost every new teacher would be convinced that I was an idiot. Then they would realize that I was an idiot who got good marks. Didn’t stop them from punishing me, but they always did so with a smile 🙂

      I’m going to read your post again and again. It made me laugh, it made me wistful, it made me happy. Thank you so much.

      Like

  6. Gurubhrama guruvishnu gurudevo maheshwara
    Gurusakshath parabhrama tasmai shree guruve namaha .. bowing to this sanskrit saying I take this opportunity to describe my favourite sir Mr. Panduranga Rao . A man whose is another example for simplicity .. I was attending his maths coaching class in my SSLC, as I always felt maths was a hurdle which blocks my every path of success.
    The first day of his class he gave us an initial confidence which every student needs . He said maths is not a difficult subject change the way you think. This line of inspiration boosted all my hopes and I used to attend his class without any excuse .. But the best part of this man was his tution classes were free of cost and he taught knowledge should be shared and not sold .. In this 21st century where do we get such a person . His teaching with love and enthusiasm towards subject made mw score 92 in maths . Thank you sir . May god shower all his blessings on you and your family

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing, Ashritha. I used to be a bad Math student when I was in eighth. I remember my dad, after yet another failed attempt at teaching me algebraic equations, telling my mother that I will never learn mathematics. I barely passed a couple of exams during this time, I remember.

      Then in ninth standard, along came Stanislaus Sir (we used to call him ‘stainless steel’). More than anything, he focused more on industry than on talent. He told us that if we practiced all the problems in the book, we can’t go wrong because the question paper will be set out of the book. There weren’t going to be any ‘new’ problems.

      What this did was get me out of the ‘I am not cut out for Maths’ trap, and I focused on diligently working through each problem by itself. What I lacked in aptitude, I (suppose I) made up for it by just being thorough. And after a few terms of that, I realized that maths was not very hard at all. Now I have a degree in applied mathematics.

      Amazing how much difference a little confidence can make.

      Like

  7. It is a great idea…To write about teachers. I personally feel all teachers, bad or good leave behind some lessons. I would love to apply to this contest. Please do let me know how do I send in my entry.

    P.S. – Awesome ideas…Keep inspiring!

    Like

  8. What words can do…

    I am assuming that this is what the future generations will call “free prose”…Which is something that I truly believe in. Mostly when I start writing in a particular style the words just twist themselves into a mix of everything, hence I am a champion supporter of “Free prose” (Which means write the way you want basically and let people decide which category it fits into. Not my headache)

    So here goes..

    Every year during Teacher’s Day, there would be flower vendors sitting outside our school gates. And all the girls would buy red roses which were mostly ragged and almost dying for the exorbitant price of 5 Rupees. (This is 1995 I am talking about)
    I never bought anything frankly because I always wondered what the teacher/s would do with so many flowers. And 5 rupees seemed like a waste to spend on one rose when I could buy stuff from the canteen instead.
    But roses were just the start of the gift wave, so to speak. They were the common man’s gift option. The rich kids would give handmade files, crockery sets, sarees and even personal dinner invites, while the rest of us would sit and watch the teachers accept or refuse the gifts (Yes that too happened)

    And in the midst of all these gifts and Happy Teacher’s Day songs and boring lectures…The one person who stood out was our English Miss (Miss being an Indian term for teacher). Her name was Agnes, but on account of her husband calling her “Agnela” as an endearment, the term stuck and she was known throughout as Agnela miss. An epitome of “Englishness”, she made us into little ladies at least for the duration of her class. Any spelling mistakes, pronunciation errors and grammar slips were like pests, to be eradicated at once.
    Every day, she would wear a simple chiffon saree with a matching blouse and carry a matching handkerchief which she would dab gently at her face and neck while the class settled. Then we would be treated to an update of the latest happenings in her hometown of Belgaum. Post which lessons would start…usually she would read out the start of a chapter and pick one of us to complete the rest of it.
    I hated being picked up for anything, but English was the only subject where I wanted to be called to read, so I could enunciate the chapter in my clear voice and hear praises on my diction from Agnela miss. It was the only class where I knew the chapters beforehand and where I didn’t slouch in my seat, trying to be invisible.
    I never had any aspirations in school, I just wanted the day to get over and the next day to start and get over…So and so forth till we hit vacation time. I had simple dreams. But all that changed when she read out a piece of my essay during my 9th Standard for the entire class to know. I don’t recall much of what I wrote, except that I had put in something about TV shows and Full House being my favorite. She said that I had talent and if I only work on my handwriting, I could easily top.
    That was the start of my writing fever. I started out with a random poem, which I wrote in class…to horrible love and hate songs, save the world songs, heartbreak poems and random diary entries.
    I started collecting quotes, reading with more awareness, using big words which I didn’t understand.
    And now, a great many poems and lots of random essays later…I am still at it. Her words gave me the impetus to create more words. And they have been my refuge ever since.

    I know where I am with words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An endearing tribute. Thank you, Rucha. Now that you mention it, I also remember David Sir reading out my English essay (ninth, I think, it was) to everyone in the class. The topic was about movies: good or bad. We’d been given ‘essay writing’ classes before, and we’d been told that we should do an introduction, a section of ‘advantages’ and a section of ‘disadvantages’ for any topic. I went one better and wrote an opinion piece at the end, where in spite of the pros and cons of movies and television, each of us has a choice on which movies to watch. I ended with a message of: Choose well.

      He read that last op-ed piece to everyone and said some nice things. Like you, I always looked forward to English class, because all the lessons I had read at least twice over the holidays. I knew more than the rest of the class, I know I did. So I could bask in all the glory.

      A few years after we passed out of school, I got news that David Sir had taken his own life. I had not heard of him for years. I had not made the effort to go and meet him. But it brought tears to my eyes. How nice it would be to have one last conversation with him?

      Like

  9. santhosh kumar konda says:

    well in my journey so far I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have come across large no of well meaning friends and teachers but the one person who left an
    indelible stamp on my psyche, on my
    thought, and who has taught me more than
    I could have ever imagined is Dr.DWARAKNATH sir
    what ever gratitude I express towards him
    would always fall short…
    and also want to thank
    Dr.Sudheer sir who made me surgeon….
    Dr.Kareemullah sir to make things simpler…
    Dr.Ananda achraya sir made me realized
    learning is continuous process..
    and to my father….
    today what ever I am is just because
    him….thank u Dad…being my first teacher….

    Like

    • Hi Santhosh,

      Thanks for sharing your tribute with us. If you can, you should tell all the people you mentioned in your post what you feel about them. Sometimes we only realize after the time is past how much we’ve left unsaid. Maybe this is a good time to say it. Just a thought 🙂

      Like

  10. As I grow old, the uncountable memories of school faded away to some brisk ones. But there are a few incidents that still stand afresh in my mind, like they were happening right now, in front of me. The ones that had made me laugh till I ached, the ones that made me have a rush of nostalgia and that one teacher who stood beside me when I needed the most.

    Looking at me now, no one would believe that I was an introvert twenty years ago. Bullying had taken a heavy toll on my emotions, considering how my values had started to build at the same age. There were days when I wouldn’t utter a word with the fear that I might stammer to something stupid enough to be the laughing stock of the class. It would be baffling to know for my social circle now, to know that I was once absolutely friendless.

    I resorted to poems and writing, penning down the pyramids of self-destruction and diffidence that have built in me. And that’s when my angel came along. The English Teacher. Elegantly dressed and a pleasant smile on her face, she noticed me scribbling something as the student beside me read aloud. She moved over to my desk before I could notice, snatched the book and read it aloud. To my surprise, the class who’d otherwise laugh at me, cheered me when she said, “We have a poet here, children!”. From that day forward, she gave me what I most needed, “Confidence”! And that’s what got me here, today.

    I sometimes ponder on the thought that I’d meet her again and thank her. But since the greys in my hair, rule out the possibility, I’m here penning down a tribute. Thank you, ma’am for teaching me life!

    Like

    • Thanks for the entry, Sravanthi. English Teachers are getting a lot of mentions here, perhaps not surprising on a writing blog. What I loved about your piece was the air of nostalgia and pleasant wistfulness. And also the hint that an introvert had had to suppress his natural character and ‘become’ more extroverted, because that’s the world wants us to be. I’m sure many introverts (and I include myself in that) can relate to the feeling: wanting to spend time by oneself but needing to force yourself to become more social, more open, more ‘outgoing’.

      The stigma against introverted people is quite heavy, and most of us cope with it by just being what ‘they’ say we should be. I liked that angle about your story too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Falguni srikanth says:

    A boy and a girl were chatting animatedly in a college canteen.They were sharing a joke and the girl was laughing with a twinkle in her eye.They were in love and everything around was also full of happiness and love.
    Unknown to them a lecturer looked on…he was envious of their happiness and wanted it to end.
    Come exams and both the students worked hard and postponed their meetings till the exams.
    It was a cruel shock for both of them when the results came.The lecturer penalised the boy in the final exams.Both of them were upset and had to really face so many setbacks.They didn’t give up.They had each other for support and they moved on.
    Years went by .The boy and his girlfriend got married and the happiness and the laughter was always with them.In the coming years they did well in all spheres of life and hardly thought of the lecturer.
    After years they heard that the lecturer was not well.They both were surprised that all the bitterness they felt when young had gone and only thing left was compassion.They wrote to him spoke to him and heard the regret in his voice..
    The boy and the girl had clear souls and their true Guru was within them.The lecturer invoked his true Guru his soul after years.
    The Jagadguru….true guru is always with us and guides us and protects us …That’s our Antaratma…

    Like

  12. Chintan Girish Mdoi says:

    Thank you, dear teacher

    Thanks for not knowing a few things
    and being brave enough to say so

    I love what you’re making of me

    letting me talk
    and question
    and argue

    treating me as equal.

    Like

    • Good that you’re getting such teachers, Chintan. In my day (ha, that makes me feel so old) all we had were cane-wielding people who got us to learn ‘syllabus’ from rote. There was very little discussion or debate in the schools I went to. As a result, I grew up with a fear of conflicting ideas, eager to conform. Today, it’s good that children/young people are being raised to talk, to discuss, to debate.

      We have to make sure that it doesn’t go too far the other way and we lose all our ability to conform. A balance is good, I think.

      Like

  13. I, the great Shukracharya, the one who’s penance to Lord Shiva sent shivers down the Deva’s spine, best of the Guru, stand today, defeated. I wanted to bring up the Asura’s from their lowly dwellings to the highest seat. I wanted to show how much they can achieve if they controlled their ludicrous behavior.
    What better qualities do the Devas have, they run around Apsara’s during times of peace and when war threatens them they run around Vishnu. A better stock of men were bound to rule Deva-loka. The worst among them is their leader Indra who will break any ethical rule to just be seated on his capacious throne.
    Many mighty Asura’s came along. I thought at-least one of them would bring glory to their Guru. But no, in one way or the other everyone had a failing which they could not overcome.
    Mahisha, the mightiest of the demon’s one could see, failed to think through his boon properly, his manly pride stomped all over him when he asked for his death by the hand of a woman.
    Hiranya, failed to make his son see what was right. He allowed him to be on his own during the formative years and what did he get in return, an enemy loving son.
    Ravana, the most learned of them all, fell for the pull of the basest vice. His desire to have one women resulted in the destruction of the great empire he had built.
    Finally, the greatest of them all, Bali, the most virtuous, the most powerful and one who’s reign outshone that of any Indra’s, fell due to his overzealous habit of giving. He was a Vishnu devotee, unlike the others but still I couldn’t see him rule the three worlds. The tiny feet of Vamana smashed the mighty desire of the greatest Guru.
    Now I stand defeated, still waiting for the Person who will remove the disgusting smirk off Indra’s face. The whole eternity has conspired against my disciples, I’m waiting, ever waiting for the time, the time when the wheel will turn and the Deva’s rot under the dungeons of hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mithun,

      Very nice post! I think what may have made this piece even better is if you’d included the story of Kacha and Devayani into this. Having Shukracharya mutter about how the son of Brihaspati (his counterpart) cheated him and got the Sanjivani out of him would have been nice to read.

      But as it stands also, it’s good. I thought there would be a lot of mythology-based entries this time – because the theme lends itself well to mythology – but yours is the first. I liked reading it. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  14. I waited with sanguine eyes,
    For the sight of her colorful drapes,
    When I was just out of toddler years,
    Mother was my world, my teacher beyond anything else.

    I became big with stars in my eyes,
    The world needed to have its dimensions,
    School and College put me through some years,
    Rote learning was my world, my teacher beyond anything else.

    Now, I see the world with my eyes,
    Trying to add more to its dimensions,
    One teacher has stood out in this quest over the years,
    The white google wall is my world, my teacher beyond anything else

    Like

    • I liked the first stanza the best, Mithun. I also liked the line ‘Rote learning was my world, my teacher beyond anything else’. Sometimes I think we don’t give rote learning all the credit it deserves. It makes us more disciplined, it equips us with techniques to remember things, probably expands our memories, and also makes our minds more resilient. There’s great value to all of these things, and we learn them purely by rote learning in schools and colleges.

      When I studied abroad, I saw that students in schools don’t know mathematical tables, trigonometric identities, and even the smallest facts. They got a ‘formula sheet’ with every exam. Though some may argue that facts aren’t important because they can be looked up, having them in the mind helps problem-solving enormously. Anyway, this is my pet subject, and I could go on. Thanks for the double-entry! 🙂

      Like

  15. Hi Sharath, my input is little verbose to fill in the comment column so here is the link to my entry.
    http://plinkyprompt.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/the-teacher-2/

    Like

    • Thanks for entering, Parwati. I loved the picture you painted of the Himalayan school where benches are shaky, the blackboards are cracked, and the students smile. It is probably the one profession that touches many, many lives, and yet doesn’t get money or fame. It should be one of the most thankless jobs ever, and yet probably one of the most important.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. “This “Teacher’s Day” wishing 3 teachers who taught me a lot…
    1. Google
    2. Time
    3. Love
    Keep Teaching Me..!!
    #hungami_halaat ”
    I am pretty sure that you all will agree to this post some way or the other. So here I am taking the liberty to elaborate about these three teachers who taught me a lot.

    1.Google:
    I still remember when I was in class 8. I had a computer at my place but Appa never allowed internet facility. People used to do their assignments using internet and whenever I asked how they found this data, unanimous answer was “Google.com”. Same year I got a Dial-up connection at my place. Each time, to check whether the net is working or not, I use to type “Google.com”. Till then it doesn’t mean much. Later in life, I made Computer Science Engineering as my stream and soon ended up doing MBA in Marketing and Operations. What I have learnt in those 6 years from Google was commendable. No doubt Google is teacher number 1.

    2.Time:
    I have learnt a few things the hard way. Lost a few dear ones and made many memories travelling around the world. I realized, time is the best teacher, healer and companion for everyone. Patience, endurance and persistence were the most important impacts this teacher made on me. The best part is, it never leaves you. And the moment it leaves you, it’s over.

    3.Love:
    Fell in love when I was 13. Failed, it still hurts. Fell again at an age of 16. Failed, it still hurts. In love with a girl today. She rejected me last year but I just could not move on. But in all the experiences I had with love I have learnt 2 things: “Trust on destiny” and “Wait for right time”.

    ARPIT KHANDELWAL

    Like

    • Hi Arpit,

      Thank you for sharing this. Now you’ve left us all wondering whether the girl has said yes or not! But even if she does reject you again, don’t worry, we get rejected more than we get accepted. As cliched as it sounds, time will heal this pain too.

      There is another kind of love that doesn’t tie itself to ‘rejection’ or failure. That is the open feeling of brotherhood that you feel for other human beings. You don’t need to take their permission. It doesn’t matter whether they ‘accept’ you or not. You can just go ahead and feel that love anyway, kind of like the love that you feel for your parents.

      I must share with you a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son about love. Apologies if you’ve already read it, but if you haven’t, I think it will give you some solace.

      http://www.rebellesociety.com/2012/09/22/john-steinbeck-on-love-a-letter-to-his-son/

      Like

  17. Singathi Upendar says:

    Rajaram , is my teacher, in an unrecognized private primary school in a remote village located in Adilabad District. He was very thin. Sometimes, I used to wonder what happens if a sudden strong wind blows him away with it.He used to put on a very loose shirt, probably,due to his hope that he might become fat one day. As he enters the school, he used to shout on top of his voice which used to send the chills down our spines.I never saw him sitting idly in the school.He ,alone, used to teach all the subjects for almost 100 students of various classes. There were no benches ,we used to sit cross legged on the floor in rows according to the class we were studying in.He began his teaching much before my entry into school in 1st class and he continued there for almost twenty years with the same income of 1500 rupees per month. He used to teach relentlessly,especially his special focus on English which helped us later.He was very particular about discipline , even playing cricket also used to come under violation of the discipline in his view. He provided his services to the village almost for 25 years,but he could not compete with the present commercialization of education.Many students who were trained by him became doctors, Engineers, government employees.He inculcated values among the students.He could educate a generation in the village.Every one in the village still praises the dedication of my teacher.I used to hate him but now i always realize that it is he who made me a civilized citizen in the society.Every student who have completed his primary education in his school settled well in his life.His qualification was only tenth class.But I am sure no corporate college or convent school can train a student like him.Now, our great teacher returned to his native place and became an agricultural labor in his village to run his family.He has no money ,no qualifications, but the smile on his face always with an immense satisfaction that he could change the lives of an entire village.His services , now giving fruits but the most unfortunate thing is ,he never benefited by them, of course,he never expected,
    Sir, now I became a teacher but i know i can never become as great as you.You proved that qualification doesn’t matter if you have a pure heart to teach.You proved bombastic words about facilities in the school may not be there for us, but,we sat in the lap of SARASWATHI GODDESS and got real education.From the bottom of my heart I am saying , you are the warrior who uprooted the ignorance, you are the creator who constructed a beautiful future for an entire generation.Finally ,you are a real teacher who kept his promises as a teacher.

    Like

    • Hi Upender,

      The love and respect you have for Rajaram comes through in this account. The story is sad, and from a material point of view, I think the stories of most teachers of the previous generation are sad. They only got into teaching as a last resort, and until recently, teaching didn’t pay very well at all. And many students don’t return to their school (life moves on) after they graduate. We only get together like this and reminisce about them. But very few of us go and meet them, tell them how we’re doing, how much they mean to us. You have to ask, what was in it for them? They didn’t get money. They didn’t get recognition. They didn’t get loyalty.

      I suppose they just did it because they had to.

      Like

  18. A week-long thought on the current topic finally made me to conclude that the title of ‘The Greatest Teacher’ in my life undoubtedly goes to Story Books! My early childhood had been influenced a lot by stories which I either heard from my bookworm brother or my parents or watched their visual representations on TV. The great Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata marvel me even today;the individual stories of the legendary characters collected together under the umbrella of Kurukshetra-a battle of good vs evil- give me goosebumps even today!
    If the epics are about the ethical values of life, Agatha Christie,Satyajit ray, Enid Blyton have taught me about how adventurous life may become. The professional or amateur sleuths in their works from the famous five down to Tommy and Tuppence, all hold a magnetic attraction for me and it is for countless times that I have ardently wished for a sleuth in my own family circle. Human life harbors both good and evil; the possible psychological complexities of a murderer,a thief, an abductor etc make for a fascinating read and are wholly responsible for my avid interest in books.
    As I grew up, works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Thomas hardy and many many others gradually began to shape my perspectives about the world and humanity. If Macbeth and Hamlet,the noblemen, are astonishingly humane in their sufferings, Elizabeth Bennet or Eustacia Vye or Sue Bridehead are stunning portrayals of women struggling under varied circumstances in life. Human life in its many colors is also revealed in the works of R K Narayan; termed as ‘serious comedies’ for their amazing blend of pathos and humor in their approach to the human universe,his works enrich my soul with each read.
    The list is endless as is the phenomenon of learning. Many other books are waiting to ‘teach’ and distribute their worldly treasures and I doubt that this lifetime is enough for all of them!!

    Like

    • I know how much you love your mysteries, Soumini. I remember the wonderful pieces you wrote for the ‘Detective’ contest. I also had this fascination to become a detective myself when I was a teen. My parents played along with it for a while until they realized I was serious. And then they took me into a room and told me real detectives didn’t exist. So I had to become an engineer. Not that it lasted too long. After six years, I decided made-up detectives were better than nothing at all, and starting making them up in my own head.

      So if no one in your family is a sleuth, I would suggest trying to become one yourself, or failing that, make up your own detective and write stories about him. You will have a blast! 🙂

      Like

  19. Human Digestive system
    He put down the duster and the ruler on the desk and they seem to land on the wooden bench like synchronized swimmers with a reverberating thud. The sound was not due to the impact but owing to the forced and sullen silence in the class.
    As he cleared his throat vocally and prepared himself to speak in the normal coherent, cohesive, inciting manner, from the third row notices the prominent grays along the chin and behind the ear. He did not flaunt the potbelly like the others including our PT Sir, who seemed to have the biggest abdominal sack.
    The biology special class for class ten was fixed at 8 AM on a Sunday- time was a non-negotiable instrument with NRR Sir even though classes on any regular day would begin at 11. He came in at 8.15 and the fine beads of sweat bore testimony to his brisk walk from the bus stand. “I apologize for being 15 minutes late… I missed the first bus” he said and his apologies were accepted with utmost silence.
    NRR was the mirror image of discipline and the cane ruler was used when the occasion demanded to enforce it. Our history madam admitted that he was follower of the RSS and we received this volley from her with high reverence.
    “Today we will discuss about the human digestive system” he stated and connected his personal tape recorder into the socket. His attempts at enforcing discipline were innovative too. He would let the tape recorder dictate notes while he would go on his “rounds” and catch unsuspecting culprits.
    The class lasted fifty minutes and if I counted right, there were not more than five sentences from the student section. NRR Sir was scheduled to take classes until 12 but he gave us a ten-minute breather- a rarity. May be, he felt we had earned it. Though our banter was mundane, the entire process of digestion was running at the back of my mind.

    Like

    • After reading this, Ajay, it almost feels as if the scene is part of a longer scene. I come away from it not really knowing much about NRR, and also wanting to learn more about him. The scene appears to begin and end without much movement in between, and I couldn’t latch on to any thread anywhere that kept me hooked.

      Maybe write out the whole scene and share it? Thanks for entering the contest. Do make it a habit from now on 🙂

      Like

  20. Below is a piece of poem on my experience being a teacher for a month, through YFS(Youth for Seva):

    The little shiny eyes, looked at me,
    Wondering and wording,
    “Who is she?”
    To teach you English, here I am!
    That and this, before I could mouth,
    “What is your name ma’am!!?”

    Some jumped here and there,
    Few ran to I know not where!
    The chalk fights I could barely stop,
    My first class was nearing a flop!

    Hard on the desk I did bang,
    Of being a teacher, now getting a hang!
    “Back to your desks, now you get
    Or to leave now, I am all set.”

    Ever unfailing trick this is,
    “Don’t go ma’am please!”
    Back they got, and then I taught,
    To those smarty naughty lot!

    Many a games we did play,
    Their favourite miss I became, yay!
    Making learning a splendid fun,
    Felt I, this is best job under the sun!

    To be strict when I must,
    To be one who they trust,
    To be one who makes impact,
    To be one with an ever-changing tact,
    A lot goes in, to be that one,
    Teaching is lot more than just having fun.

    A mental thank you, I then said,
    To all of my teachers, the good, the bad,
    The ones I dearly loved,
    And the ones I bitterly hated!

    A month flew by,
    It was time for bidding goodbye,
    The sweet faces I would surely miss,
    Time with them, was indeed bliss.

    “Please don’t go miss, we love you!”
    And a chorus of “Yes, we do!”
    The love and pride, which I then felt,
    Even today makes my heart melt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Aparna, this is a nice, fun poem. I noticed that you stuck to the rhyming structure throughout, and actually managed to tell a story through this. If I remember right, all your entries for these contests have been first-rate. So if we ever give away a life-achievement award, you’re one of the top contenders! 🙂

      I especially liked the stanza that ends with ‘A lot goes in, to be that one, Teaching is lot more than just having fun’.

      Like

  21. We are all, in unique ways, imparters of knowledge. No degree or qualification that can prevent our teaching. Syllables uttered, whether in moments of haste or insightful preaching, all met with learning minds. Even a yes and no inculcates an opinion within us. An opinion which soon grows to become information gleaned from others, i.e, a product of teaching. But there are some of us, better equipped to lead and carve great minds. Some who naturally have an affinity for inventing methods perfectly tailored to diverse individuals. Them, we call teachers. Teachers, who look forward to sharing knowledge. Who are in the profession for the learning and teaching rather than the earning.

    I’ve had the good fortune of knowing many such inspirational beings, who strive to make the world a better place. All through their wisdom and great expanse of information. As Sir Francis Bacon says, “Knowledge is Power.”. This world is filled with people who construct power, not by asserting their might but by recounting an incident, narrating a tale, divulging an explanation and satisfying our curiosities. But they too are helpless in the face of higher authorities. Every now and then, we see a little rebel peaking from under the spectacles, who wants to teach us more than we are meant to learn. There are no limits to learning. Teaching is a very selfless act, one that doesn’t entertain discriminations. One that allows another individual to have the same information you do, thereby elevating them to a higher position of bearing knowledge.
    So then why is the state of the world in such disarray? When is a good time to begin teaching, yourself and others, everything there is to learn? Here’s a shout out to everyone – don’t keep information to yourself, risking its possible decay. Share to ensure that life for everyone, will be as wholesome as possible through continual learning.

    Like

    • Hi Meera,

      Thanks for the thoughtful essay on knowledge on teaching. One thing I will add to this – and I can say from experience that it’s true – is that the more you teach, the more you learn. Not just about your students and yourself, but also about the subject. As you say, the ocean is truly infinite, and all we need to do in order to keep learning is to keep teaching. Keep giving, and you will keep receiving. And it doesn’t (have to) cost a thing.

      Like

  22. Anu Krishna says:

    Every post on social media had students paying tributes to their teachers and whatsapp had been bitten by the deadly bug too! Was I being a tad bit jealous about this? If I did allow my dark side to overcome my usual sense of sanity, yes I was battling a tribulation of not being able to express my gratitude to the one person who led me into the friendly world of numbers. Math, the horror gave me sleepless nights and each formula looked more bizarre than the other!

    The summer of 1991 enveloped me into warmth of understanding and guidance with humungous levels of patience. Never once was his temper out of control with my error in concept formation or my lacuna of being application-oriented!

    His words still echo, “You have not been taught Math the way it should, that’s all!”

    The onus always lay on him for my deficit at cracking a problem and all his spare time was spent in energising my mind to understand Calculus or Arithmetic Progression!

    I was numbed with disbelief and a strange joy clouded me over when I scored a 100% in Class XII.
    He just smiled and I knew that his faith in me had just shattered my self-prophesised theory which had led me to believe that I was just not intelligent as others to understand Math.

    Every Teachers Day I think of him with a warm feeling coupled with guilt! I had not thanked him enough; he had enabled me to thwart my belief system with his positivity. Today I can look at a child who struggles with numbers in a non-intimidating and compassionate manner and say, “You just need a teacher who can step up to your challenging mind!”

    Wherever you are, Sir, I thank you for believing in me!

    Like

    • Hi Anu,

      A fellow math struggler! 🙂 I understand both to your pain and to your relief. Isn’t it amazing how much teachers can achieve just by practicing compassion? I often used to think that people with a firm grasp of subject makes the best teachers, but now I think it’s more empathetic, more humane people that make the most inspiring teachers. Indeed, teachers to whom the subject comes easily can be bad teachers, whereas someone who has to struggle to himself learn the concepts he teaches – he will understand students better, and therefore become a better teacher. It’s almost twisted how that works, but I think it’s true. Do you agree?

      I hope you’re putting the proficiency in numbers to good use 🙂

      Like

  23. From the memoirs of my past, I have always been a keen learner. Have seen the world, the way I wished to. I never followed a ritual or a way of working, unless and until I feel it is fit from my point of view. They may call me radical, may be a bit obnoxious in their definition but all I believe, I was just being RATIONAL.

    It was never taught in school, nor did I hear it from any of my faculties. Yes FACULTIES. I do not mix a Teacher with a Faculty. If they lecture on a particular topic because they are being paid, it is their job and that is pretty much it.

    I have learnt early in life that this world is nothing but a mirror. At a later stage I found it to be a Logic Circuit, some kind of amplifier that gives you back just what you give in. And that too, at times it is inverted. All these facts were somehow present near me always. Education made me aware of what’s around and radical thinking made me cross the boundaries and think out of the box. The bridge which actually made it happen and linked these two loose ends was my Ammamma.

    She told me pretty clearly how this world functions, that we get what all we do. Deeds, good or bad, always return and are often amplified. Karma and Patience are not religion specific and are omnipresent in all non-commercial belief systems.

    Pretty much these learning make me the man I am today and so on teacher’s day, I wish my Ammamma, and thank her for being a terrific guide and support, which opened up this brain to an extent that it is no more afraid of any clogging.

    Arpit Khandelwal
    Twitter: @karpit3
    #hungami_halaat
    #rightfromleftside

    Like

    • Hey Arpit, great to learn about your grandmother. And she’s right too. As I was saying in response to Meera’s piece, with knowledge, as with just about anything else, you gain by giving. This is true of just about any non-material thing you can think of: joy, anger, jealousy, love – just about anything. You give some of it. You get more of it back.

      Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way for material things, like money. With these, the more you give, the more you lose. We just have to balance these two perspectives the best way we can.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  24. I want to go back to my previous teachers class ,tears rolled out from little daughters eyes who is 4 years and she was inconsolable.
    When asking her why she wants to go back her previous class, she said her previous teacher is sweet, she loves them.

    I asked this question to the previous teacher ,why do they love so much the children and the children expect the sweet behaviour from everyone.
    The teacher mentioned, this is how you bond and build the trust with child.
    It makes the child to come to school every day happy .
    Also it is easier to groom the child with good behaviour by practice.

    By this , I understood a teacher is a second parent to a student, whom they trust like a parent to take care.
    These beautiful memories remain with every child as they grow to recollect.

    Like

    • Totally agree with what you say, Sunitha. Teachers are no less than second parents, even in the current atmosphere of ‘many-to-one’ education systems. And yes, your daughter will definitely grow up to remember all her teachers. Heck, many of our teachers weren’t even good but we remember them all. They become part of our childhoods, and therefore part of us. Whether they were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ becomes not so relevant any more. They’re ‘ours’.

      Like

  25. The one thing I hate about our education system, straight off the bat, is that teachers expect a bunch of 30 odd kids to keep quiet even in between classes. They’re expected to maintain decorum. I’ve seen it happen in every school I’ve visited and it gets my goat. Look at any normal assembly of adults. Do they ever keep quiet? Company meetings, seminars and even funerals. Where do you see people shutting up? In the Army for starters. In prison and internment camps (In elevators but I won’t dissect that. It’s a special condition…closed spaces etc.) and maybe if you’re being hearded through a desert for execution by crazed terrorists. I’ve no evidence but I’m guessing they don’t discuss the weather in such situations.
    According to Indian tradition we go by a saying- “Guru devo-bhava”. It’s Sanskrit I think. Guru is teacher and the rest roughly translates to ‘the sun shines out of their ass’. More doctrine in an ancient tongue which, apparently was never spoken in the country. Respect to be given because the stone tablets said so in Sanskrit!
    So I’m going to draw up a distinction of my own. There are TEACHERS and there are LECTURERS a.k.a (“TEACHERS” with the “”) School is full of the latter. Anyone who believes in teaching and adheres to retarded ideas like keeping kids quite isn’t a teacher in my book. It’s an attitude that forces unnecessary control out of some sort of default divine right. Screw them.
    In college, I met a gentleman who I consider to be a teacher. I’ll refer to him here on as Mr X. Now, I’ll spare you details about how well he communicated, how well he knew his subjects, how much he knew. How he dealt with students on a personal level. These are valid yardsticks which many I’ve come across many “teachers” who fare well against some of these measures. But what stands out about MrX is his own ability to keep learning with the eagerness of a younger student. You see, anybody who’s been on the planet longer than you can tell you stuff you don’t know. This man builds on what he knows, interprets the new stuff in the light of the old and then gives it to me in chunks I can swallow. In his learning of new things, there are often times when he stumbled and he admitted he was wrong. He showed a lot of humility**.
    This makes learning under Mr.X engaging. Its demonstrative and on a level platform. He learns with you. He goofs up and he spends time fixing that goof up and tells you how to do the right and why it went wrong. Thus you see a process, you see its logic or language if you will and you learn to speak it. Then you can solve simple problems. Success makes you enjoy it, so you’re at it more often and you get better. With that your concepts grow stronger and your confidence builds up. Confidence lets to try bigger challenges. You understand the approach if not a solution. And in the process of refinement you see the need for and develop your own discipline and standards. You do it because you want to. Not because you’re told to. And out of the fondness and gratitude for the person who helps inspire you, you give them respect. It’s earned. Not given for granted.
    And if I ever have a doubt, I’ve never had to feel ashamed to ask him, for he’s shown me how he’s never been ashamed to ask me too. Result, fast, unhindered learning. After all, that is the point right?
    All too often, I’ve seen instances of “teachers” shaming students. This reverses all the helpful stuff mentioned above and is the first thing to be beaten out of our “teachers”. (The second thing is probably a straight forward beating.)

    Anyhoo, here’s a story Mr.X narrated to me. I forgot the details but the gist is in the dialogue.
    “I’ve had 30 years of experience” said some self important Doctor.
    “No, you’ve had 1 days experience for 30 years” said the guy we’re supposed to root for.

    Now all this is half the story.

    For all of you writing about these god-sends who inspired your lives, you must pat yourselves on the back too. Like they say about the proverbial tree which fell in the forest without anyone to hear it fall. A book doesn’t exist without a reader and a good teacher certainly doesn’t exist without a good student. I’m not saying one begets the other does. That’s not entirely true. Just that, you’re part of the equation too. Mr.X can talk as engagingly as ever but if the guy listening just isn’t interested, he may as well lecture frogs on dining etiquette.

    **Now I have said this man showed humility. In some respects yes. In other areas, he’s been a egotistical prick and caused me and a few others quite a lot of grief. Hence, I refer to him here as Mr.X.

    Like

    • Hey Hemanth,

      I loved parts of this piece, especially where you point out that we always want kids to be quiet when adults themselves cannot be quiet for any length of time. I also liked the ‘other half’ of the story that cared to mention, the ‘student’ part, but maybe we should get to that more fully in the Children’s Day contest? 🙂

      About the short stub of dialogue you shared, I heard a cricketing equivalent. When someone said Monty Panesar, the English spinner, has had 50 tests of experience, Shane Warne said, ‘But he’s been playing the same test 50 times.’ The message, of course, is that unless you’re consciously, deliberately thinking about your work, it doesn’t matter how many years you do it because you will not grow or improve.

      Thank you for telling us about Mr X.

      Like

  26. Who is a teacher?
    The one who teaches you,
    To add two and two equals four,
    Or the one who teaches you,
    The alphabets from A to Z,
    And any regional language,
    That’s your second language at school.

    Of getting scolded,
    For failing to grasp,
    The intricacies of calculus and trigonometry,
    Of realising that chemical formulae,
    Would never be my cup of tea.
    The theories of Physics,
    Were way too convoluted,
    To be interpreted by a lay-man like me.

    No one seemed to deem,
    That I would even clear,
    My high-school exams,
    As panic and fear,
    Began gripping me,
    And classmates taunted me.
    I wondered what-
    Life would make of me,
    Or I would make of life!

    Somewhere deep down,
    I can only thank,
    My teachers of English,
    From schools across cities,
    I could never figure out clauses,
    In college make no sense of phonetics,
    But somehow enjoyed Shakespeare and Wordsworth,
    Tagore, Karnad and Laxman.

    I have a job,
    A salary to pay the bills,
    Doing something,
    Related to what I studied.
    I am happy for that-
    And I thank all my English teachers,
    Who taught me!
    Thanks 🙂

    Like

  27. Pankaj Singla says:

    “The sand there is so white, the water so sweet and so clear, that you can’t really blame the Spaniards for not wanting to leave.”
    It’s ironic, when you try to look at life that way- as a random chain of co-incidences. I remember when I was in my first year of college, many of my seniors used to share anecdotes related to him. From the way they’d talk about him, I was already in awe of him even before having met him once. One day, we organized a panel discussion. ‘We’ is the literary and cinema society of our college. He too, was a part of the panel and gave a talk on ‘The Treacherous Terrain of Translation’. Quoting extensively from old manuscripts, reading stuff out in I don’t know how many languages and in the end, almost justifying the translator being called as a traitor, he was an intellectual giant if ever I had seen one. I had never thought it possible that I would get to experience something like that during college. I had always wanted to be a part of intellectual discussions like these and finally, I had seen in flesh and blood what legends looked like. Needless to say, I enrolled for the course he was going to teach next semester. Modern History.
    I guess it doesn’t make much sense to say clichéd stuff, when you know that however hard you may try, you won’t be able to express what you want to.
    For the class at 9am in the morning, he would wake up at 2am, come all the way to his office and spend the whole time fine tuning what he was going to say in the class. Each and every word of what he said, he’d measure carefully before saying it. For me, that was something entirely unheard of. I never knew that someone could be so passionate about one’s subject. I hadn’t seen any other teacher work that hard for students who would usually arrive late, all sleepy eyed and not having read a word of what they were supposed to. Somehow, even that didn’t deter him.
    But what I really can’t thank him enough for are not the life lessons he taught me or the history I learned from him. It was this statement, this remark, uttered ever so casually, that gave more sleepless nights than I care to remember. Till then, I had considered myself well read and well informed about the events of history. And when I got to know the tragedy of the Red Indians of America, I just couldn’t comprehend how it was possible for something like that to not just happen, but to be completely ignored and forgotten in such a small time span. I was doing an assignment on it and things were beginning to look quite different from what they did before. I was trying hard to unlearn the history I had learned in school. Once, as I stayed up all night reading about it, I came across something that just made my heart cry. It was the plea of a Native American tribal leader to an English general, imploring him to stop the ongoing violence and to let the Natives live in peace. 5am in the morning, an event that happened some 500 years ago, and here I was, crying like a little girl, crying like I had lost a dear one. I did my assignment and I gave my presentation. It was nowhere near perfect; in fact, it was miles behind what could be called a decent one. I was much too sentimental to have delved on the finer aspects of a presentation. Yet somehow, I sensed that he liked it and he could connect to it in some way. For he himself had spent years researching the same subject. After it was over, we talked about it, and it was then that I realized how much I was going to miss his classes.
    It’s been a few months since I did that course. I still go to meet him sometimes. We talk. About literature. About history. About life.
    P.S. I ended up being the course topper for that course.

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    • This brought a smile to my face, Pankaj. I will tell you a small story about a teacher I know. His name is Lakshmana Murthy. He retired as the head of the English Department in Kakatiya University, Warangal (my hometown). He speaks three languages very well: English, Telugu and Sanskrit. Not only does he speak them, he can quote poetry as a matter of course in all three languages. Often, to make a point, he quotes this writer from this century in English, relates that to a Sanskrit verse from the Rig Veda, and provides a counter point from a Telugu novel. And so on.

      They call him ‘Saraswati’s son’ in Warangal. He speaks slowly, in measured tones, and clearly. When you described the man in your piece, I got constantly reminded of Lakshmana Murthy sir. Just awesome, some people are. No other word for it.

      Like

  28. As usual late and long. Apologies. 🙂
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    I am Preethi, married, with two children. This incident happened during my school days when I met Srivastava. I was in 11th Standard, and he was our teacher. 11th standard is like a students heaven period. We have proved our mettle in the 10th board exams and yet do not have the pressure of the 12th board exams. Thus being the senior most with the maximum free time. With great power comes great responsibility 😉 well great thoughts, ideas, stories, gossips too.

    On the opening day after annual holiday, “Hai Preethi, Awesome. You are late on the day one?” It was my friend Julie. “What to do. Until my father gets me a new scooty I have to pet this Lady Bird and its weak tyre” “Ok. Come soon after parking it. I will wait for you” The morning prayer was about to start. So I rushed to the parking lot parked my cycle and was jogging back to the corridor. Thats when I noticed him for the first time. He was talking to Julie. As I reached near her, he started to walk toward the Staff room. “Put your backpack and lunch bag near the watchman room. You can pick it up once the prayer is over” advised Julie. “Ramaiya, please take care of my bags” I requested our watchman “Ok amma” he replied with a pleasing smile. We now joined the line which was moving toward the prayer hall. Julie in front of me. “Who is this new guy you were talking to?” “Who?” “The one with white shirt with blue stripes.” “Oh. He is our new Physics teacher. He too was late. He was asking for the Staff Room.” “Oh” “I do not know how many people were benefited from me today” Julie started to brag. “This was the one day you came came before me. Just for that I have to hear all this. Cha. Just keep moving we are already late.” “Fine. I will stop.” Julie smiled “What is his name?” “He introduced himself as Srivastava. The name sounds old unlike him. Why do you ask?” “Since I did not know it” “Oh. I thought since he looked smart and young” “Cha. cha. nothing like that but on second thought, he was more like our senior” True. it was odd in those days to find a teacher who has a inviting happy face and well, wearing jeans to school. Probably he was warned for it because I did not see him wear it after that day.

    We did not have Physics for the first few days, but being a young, smart teacher Srivastava was a instant hit among girls. “You know, he just finished B.Sc Physics last year. This is his first job” remarked Rathi. “How do you know?” “I overheard it when he was introducing himself to our Maths teacher” “His home town is Salem but he moved to Chennai SRM for his degree” “The kind of shirts he chooses, the colors, the way he combs his hair. He is so cute.” “He looks like Ajit” These became our lunchtime discussions. It is hard to not notice him when he enthusiastically walked around the corridors wishing everyone “Good Morning” among the others who crawl their way to class room.

    “Hi friends. Myself Srivastava. You could call me by my name, if you wish. I am probably some three-four years older to you. I would like to have as small a barrier between students and teachers as possible. You can talk to me about anything, anytime and if I know about it I will always help you. Since this is our first day, I would like to know your names and if you want to know anything about me, you could ask me” I loved the way he was jovial with us. He was frank and had quirky answers to our tricky questions. His classes use to be pretty open with people talking about politics, cinema to physics. It was enjoyable and you did not notice that you were learning physics without effort.

    With exams coming closer, it was time for xeroxing notes. I had borrowed notes from Julie. she had a beautiful handwriting. Since the shop was crowded, I was waiting for my turn to give my 100 page copy. Thats when Srivastava walked in with a two pages. “Hi sir” “Hi Preethi” “What are the two pages?” “Nothing it just my phone bill. Hope these are not my notes” With a smile “No. Its maths, since it is the first exam. FCFS. Give your page too, I would add it to mine” “Thanks” replied Srivastava. “Ram Anna, Can you xerox this next please?” I handed over my set of notes with the two pages. “It will take some 15 mins to start. There is some other notes I have to finish, first” replied the Ram from Xerox. “Ok, we will wait. Xerox these two pages first” and I gave him my set. With 15 mins to wait

    “Where do you stay?” enquired Srivastava “Near the schools back gate” I replied “Oh. I stay in the adjoining street, 15th cross. What do you do in your past time? other than xeroxing notes” we started to chit chat “Watching TV, movies, hearing to songs. also I read novels, fiction” “Have you read LOTR – Lord of the Rings” “Its was too big, not yet. I used to read Nancy drew, now into Jeffrey Archer, Agatha cristie” “Good authors. I have read As the crow Flies, Not a penny more Not a penny less” “I loved Not a Penny more Not a Penny less” “You should try his short stories, he is known for his last line twists” “I had tried a Quiver full of arrows, especially the story where a rail passenger mistakes his neighbors cigarette box for his own and worries because he is emptying it without his permission” “Nice story” . “Preethi amma, your xerox is done” shouted Ram. “Well Preethi, it was nice chatting with you. We should meet up sometime like this. Thanks for the xerox. See you in school” Srivastava departed shaking my hands. Its hard to express the feeling.

    The day before the physics exam, I had been struggling to understand Kinetic energy and Potential energy. I visited him in the staff room. “Hi Preethi. Come sit.” He was busy arranging papers “What is it?” “I have a doubt” “Can you give me some five minutes? I have to arrange this 10th answers sheets by roll number” I waited till he arranged it neatly and kept it aside “Tell me” “Sir this PE and KE is not so clear” “It pretty simple. Assume you are carrying a ball from the ground to ….” and he explained it with diagrams and dropping notebooks. “… and thats how the entire PE gets converted to KE when it hits the ground. Understood” “Now it is clear” “BTW how is you book reading going on” “I wanted to try some new authors but with these exams I have put a pause” “Tell me when you are free. I have a huge collection. I can share some with you, if you want” “Sure would do. Thanks” I said. Lucky for me the exam paper had a problem on PE and KE. Well, I could crack it with ease. Julie, Rathi and myself were leaving school after the exam and Srivastava saw me near the parking lot. He was taking out his bike. “Hai Preethi, Lucky you. You got a question on PE/KE” “thanks Sir. I solved it with ease” I replied “Hi girls hope you all did your exams well” “yes sir” we sung in chorus. I felt good when he addressed me individually in the group.

    Days passed. It was our mid term holidays. I used to meet Srivastava on the road and we had coffee once or twice chit chatting about books movies etc. Once he met my parents too. I introduced my Father and Mother while he told how good I was at studies and how he liked my interest in reading. He became a friend.

    Julie dropped a birthday card on my table “Next time I am not giving it to you” The cover said it was from “Sri..” “Is it from Srivastava?” I blurted “What?” exclaimed Julie with surprise “Its from Sridevi. What’s going on Madam?” “No julie. I saw only the first three letters and rushed to a conclusion …” I tried to talk my way out of the situation in vain. Julie started to pull my leg from that day. Poking me whenever he comes to class. Signalling to me whenever he crosses us in the corridor. I too started to develop a feeling for him. thought I should convey it to him. He looks good. Is fun to be around and intelligent. But how was a big question?

    Should I write a letter and keep it in a book he reads. Write is as answer for a detail question. Submit it as a essay along with my homework. Make it a project. Finally decided to KISS [Keep It Simple Silly]. I walked to his staff room after school. He was busy talking to our English Madam. I was waiting near the door. “Hi Preethi give us a minute” I waited for our Mam to leave and entered the room.
    Even Though, I was confident about it, I was lost of words once I saw him “Sir..” “Tell me Preethi any doubts” “No sir …” “Actually, I just finished correcting your papers. You have all done pretty well. I would distribute it tomm. in class” “Thanks sir. But …” “What is it? Is it the novels? Probably you can drop in to my home sometime. I do not have all the names of the books …” “Not that sir …” “Oh. Ok. what else do you want?” “Sir, I think I am in love with you” His face broke into a smile. He put a hand on my shoulder and said “I respect your thought. Go home. We would talk about this later”

    Next day in class, “The world we live in has infinite possibilities. However, the number of possibilities one realises that he can do is restricted by the number of experiences he is subject to. Until I know that there is a subject called Electronics, I would assume I have only maths, physics, chemistry. Until I visit Japan, I would assume all humans would look like Indians. Until I eat a Andhra meal, I would assume all my meals taste like Chettinadu style. Education in that sense is like a compendium of all such experiences collected by many people over the years in various fields and stages of human life. It shows you the infinite possibilities and gives you a basic guideline on what has been right and what has been wrong in these options in the past. It said earth was flat, until someone questioned it why and proved it wrong. It said Fever is incurable until Penicillin was found. It said electrons and protons where the smallest of particles until quarks were found. It prepares you for the world you are going to live in. But the world has a lot in store for you. Like the way you take a small drop of sambhar to test its taste before the meal, you have been given the taste of all the possible things you could possibly taste but the meal is yet to be savoured. Do not think the world stops here. This age is tender. You have not experienced many things. this is the time to experiment, fail, learn and repeat it again. there is nothing to lose. The faster you try whether it fails or not, the more you experience and the more options you have. Its fun. ”

    This was like he talking to me directly. I realised that with the limited exposure of school, relatives and friends, the small circle I am bound to now I made a decision to live my life with a particular person. I did not think about what I would be doing in another 5 years. would I like to lead a life like my mother, getting up, making everybody ready for their respective jobs, prepare lunch, prepare dinner and sleep? or Would I like to explore different fields, travel to different places, experience different cultures. Would I feel the same toward Srivastava after five years. After I experience these different experiences. I paused myself, thought about it. After few days, I met Srivastava and said “Thanks” He smiled back and asked me to drop by to pick up novels.

    I completed my Engineering in Bio-mechnics and travelled to Europe for my masters, met my husband during that time and happily married now. “Sir, I still love you”

    Like

    • Great story, Nitthilan. Thank you for sharing. It’s probably a bit too long, in the sense that most of the first few paragraphs don’t get to the point. But once it begins, it describes probably an all-too-common occurrence between students and teachers. Of course we look up to our teachers. We idolize them. We admire them for their knowledge. And if they’re young and attractive, of course we develop crushes on them.

      The Hindi teacher in our school was a very beautiful mother of one. She got at least one love letter from every outgoing class at the end of every academic year. And she would fold it up, tear it, call the boy to the staff room, and talk to him.

      I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a crush on her myself. I was hoping that someone would touch upon this subject, and I am glad you have. Thanks again.

      Like

  29. Adarsh’s Diary: Day Minus(-) 652
    I did what everybody around me was doing-dropped my head, closed my eyes and prayed to god. A short pause that seemed like eternity and she had chosen her prey. “You”, she said. Yes, me, fuck.
    It wasnt the spark in her eyes which had me all figured out or the derision in her smile that mocked my obvious fear or the serenity in her face that offered a beacon of hope; it was the duster she was brandishing with the top of her fingers. Deception notwithstanding, she was no guardian angel, and I’d meet my fate-a whack on the knuckles with the duster. So much for my first class in this school, and so much for my new uniform.
    Physical education was not really my forte but after the last class I was hoping it would be a welcome relief. It had a sinister twinge from the very beginning, especially the sight of students with sports paraphernalia as opposed to books. I decided I wasnt going to succumb to peer pressure this time. Surely students werent allowed to “play” in one of Bangalore’s most successful schools. I was wrong, second time in as many classes. Five minutes later I crashed to the ground face-first. What triggered it I could really tell-perhaps it was my new nickname, Nancy Drew, or perhaps the canning of my unsuspecting buttocks or perhaps the impending 5 rounds around the school which I couldnt even start to imagine. So there I was, being carried away having lasted two classes of the first day. With shiny clothes I came, and now only had soiled bloody clothes to show for them. I was lost, as lost of Don Quixote in La Mancha
    Home wasnt any help either. My parents said they were disappointed; their prodigious son had gone prodigal

    Mom’s Diary: Day Minus(-) 652
    A promise I had made,
    To a farewell I rather forbade

    My son was bartered away,
    Lest my love lead him astray

    A lesson in penance was to follow,
    An onslaught that had preconditioned my wallow

    How I loved my boy, his features so fair
    I had to trade them to make a man ever so rare

    I see him now, broken of what I made
    I am moved but of no apparent aide

    It is his destiny now, to shatter to a thousand pieces
    I will have him back only when the process ceases

    Many a good men have walked the same way
    I hold my heart in my hand lest it sway

    Adarsh’s Diary: Present Day
    Going home, cant wait to play cricket again!

    Mom’s Diary: Present Day
    I could have very easily been a usual affair-kids breaking a window and fleeing the scene of crime, just that it wasnt. All the kids were running away, while Adarsh drifted towards Mr. Verma, the bearer of the broken window. Why couldnt he do what everybody else was doing? Why did he have to stop forward, why did he have to take the blame? I stood their overwhelmed by incomprehension and appalled by his obvious audacity. “Smack”, Adarsh was slapped. He took the hit, I took the brunt. Tears in my eyes, sweat on my face, whimper in my words and a chill down my spine. Yet another slap and I sunk to the ground. A moment of despair, and a teary-eyed kid blurted to Mr. Verma,”It is my fault, dont hit him. Hit me”. How I wish Adarsh had retaliated, cursed at the very least but all he did was apologize and walk away. I dint see tears in his eyes, or insult in his face; only the composure of a righteous man. The school had kept it’s side of promise, as had I. They had killed my boy, and had delivered a man. It wasnt the education he wanted, it was the education he ned.

    Like

    • What I liked about this story was the epistolary nature of it. It took me a while to catch on to what was happening, but in the end it all made sense. It’s always interesting to read journal entries, and stories that are made up on journal entries. I would like to read more of Adarsh and his mother’s journals, especially because there are 650 days to cover. That may be pushing it a bit, but I think if you can write maybe three more entries each, you can write a very good, complete story.

      Thanks, Ashish 🙂

      Like

  30. Dark emotions and a salute to a teacher.

    I’ve a very unusual teacher who taught me through demonstration and failure. Failing is usually demonized by the public and many (except writers and proponents of motivational books and the like) don’t see it as a valuable form of learning. I had a friend who went by many monikers in different circles, best remembered as Puff Daddy (PDD for short). He was the only friend I had at my apartment when I moved there years ago. I was 11. Specifics aside, PDD came from a troubled home. And he did a lot of things any decent parent would forbid. He started small and made it look cool. Tricking shop keepers, exacting petty revenge on friends and on one occasion talking down a really obnoxious middle aged woman (remember we were 11). Not knowing better I continued hanging out with him. I was subtly discouraged now and then and got ‘the look’ for being his friend. PDD scaled up his antics over time and got into more trouble. We went to a public ground (PPEC) in the evenings to play football. Whilst I migrated to basketball he migrated to the post game ganja ritual with some older incorrigible fellows (who’d later become the chain gang). He went on to do a lot of things wrong and I got a front row seat to witness the consequences. One of the most troubling memories I have of him, was when he got into a little argument with some dweeb who came by to buy drugs I’m told. The argument was petty but PDD was so incensed he began beating the guy. PDD was about 6″ shorter than the guy he pummeled but that didn’t stop him. Motivated by whatever he was on and the cheer of his gang he did quite a number of the sod. The guy was later taken away by a scared friend of his. PDD saw me looking and later came to give me a sermon on how respect must be given and other fancy sounding egotistical crap. He had inferred that he was belittled by the chap. What followed was an attack in retribution. PDD got beaten up. His friends returned the favour and the back and forth continued. I think they gave the local doctor a lot of business. The back and forth went on for a few months if my memory serves me right. And in that I learn’t some very valuable lessons. Why you mustn’t lie, steal or cheat. What happens in gangs. Why it’s best to avoid needless fights. PDD spent a long time looking over his shoulder. What a real no-holds barred scrap looks like. Regardless of what techniques I learn’t in kickboxing class years later, unlike my other class mates, I never deluded myself into believing I could take on a bunch of thugs like they do in the movies. One of the guys there, well didn’t fight a thug but got his arse handed to him when he tried to go all Bruce Lee with some locals. Acting on rage or extreme emotion has un-forseen consequences. In the heat of the moment especially when you’re young and stupid, you believe you’re unstoppable. PDD showed me what happens when you get carried away. Witnessing it is often far more powerful than being told about it. When I was 17 wooing a girl, the police showed up at my house one day asking if I knew PDD’s whereabouts. He had apparently run off with some girl. Her parents had lodged a complaint. Again the fallout was dramatic. At one point, the story became he had kidnapped her. In my +2 days at the zoo (St. Joseph’s PU) I saw all manner of kids who were just initiates in the path PDD adopted. There, where you have more freedom, more encouragement and a greater desire to look cool, sense rarely prevails. You’re older, stronger and bolder to challenge authority and bend the rules. I managed to steer clear of a lot of that trouble because I knew what would happen in the long run. Some of my faculty said I was more mature or sensible and asked me to set some misguided peers my pal ‘Gay Bandicoot’. But I was not mature or sensible. I only knew through second hand experience the trouble you could get into. PDD died of a drug over dose a few years ago. I’m not the overtly sentimental kind so I can’t say I mourn him or miss him. I perhaps do what needs doing in acknowledging his role in teaching me things I may have learn’t the hard way.

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    • Ah, this is a very interesting point of view, one that we rarely touch upon. A lot of times we say things like we learn from failure, but we usually mean our own. The fact that you can learn a lot from other people’s failures is not focused upon much, I think. At least we didn’t focus on that part on this page. So I’m glad you brought it up, Hemanth. Sometimes you may feel bad that you’re talking about your ‘friend’ this way, and also maybe sad that he taught you so much and yet never had the sense to learn himself. Maybe this is where what you said in your other comment comes in. It’s not just about the teacher. It’s as much about the student too.

      Thank you for the comment 🙂

      Like

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