Tag Archive | teacher

Guiding Light

ID-100249237I moved about the alumni meet, a nod here a hello there. It feels good that your students have done well. Yes, that day I was proud. Proud that in some way I had been able to help these young men and women.

A young woman just came a nd hugged me, ‘Meghana’. I said. How did you know it is me’, she said, moving back and looking at my face.

‘Because you were the only one who were not afraid of the strict Mrs. Koshy.’ I said with a smile. Also if I remember correctly the whole of fifth grade you were in tears and would hug me every other minute.’

‘And that was because I was shifted to a new school in the middle of the school year….Otherwise crying and me……nah’, she said with a twinkle in her eye.

‘Tell me what are you doing now’, I asked

‘Oh me, I am a mom, a wife, a daughter …..’, she went on saying

‘Career?’, I asked.

‘I used to work in IT but then quit. The stress was just not worth it’, she said with a smile.

I patted her affectionately. Meghana had always been like that. Confident and clear. I always knew that she would follow her heart.

Have you met the others of my batch Arindam, Dilip. Swasti….’, she asked

I saw them but haven’t spoken yet’, I replied.

‘Come then’, she said, held my hand and took me where the others stood.

‘Teacher’, said Swasti

‘How are you Swasti’, I asked.

‘You remember ME’, she said in joy.

‘How can I not’, I said, ‘And moreover, I see you everyday in all the channels.

‘Huh’, grimaced Dilip

She beamed in joy. ‘You must be surprised to see me successful today isn’t it. Considering I was so hopeless in studies’.

I remembered all those years. Of Swasti failing in Maths, losing her books, not completing her homework.

‘Not really, I always knew you would be successful in your calling’, I said with a smile

‘Really’, she beamed.

‘How can you say that. I mean a ‘failure’ can be successful. And here are people like me who have to struggle throughout our life’, it was Dilip.

‘I said I knew she would be good in her calling and her calling was politics’, I said.

Dilip grunted, Meghana was uncomfortable, Swasti beamed, Arindam looked serene.

And you Arindam’, I asked.

‘Oh I am FCMA ie a Fellow of….’

‘CIMA’ I completed.

“Tell me teacher did you ever envisage that I would be an Accountant’, he asked.

‘I had thought that you would be…..spiritual’, I asked and stopped as I saw his jaw drop. ‘What happened’, I asked.

‘Accounting is something which i do to feed me and my family. The rest of my time I spend researching and lecturing on scriptures,’ he said, ‘but how did you know then’.

‘I knew’, I smiled. ‘You had this inherent quest. You were never satisfied with superficial knowledge. And look at you now the peace that I see in your face, I don’t see in anyones face’.

Arindam just bowed graciously.

‘That is the quality of a good teacher, she KNOWS her students’, chipped in Meghana.

Dilip just grunted.

And so Meghana took me to one and all. The last one was Dilip. When I came to meet him, Meghana left me saying that she did not like to be in the company of negative people.

Dilip just gave a wry smile.

‘So Dilip, what do you do for a living’, I asked.

‘I am a teacher’, he said

‘Oh so you are one of my kind’, I said

He just stood.

‘Why so much bitterness, Dilip?’, I asked.

‘I was good in studies Teacher. I had worked so hard throughout my life but what happened? I am a teacher today because my parents could not afford to put me for engineering or medical or any business school. And while that dimwit, cheater, manipulative Swasti is an MP today I am a teacher with a measly salary who has to take tuitions of rich kids to make ends meet’, he said emotionally.

He was right Swasti had been a cheater, manipulative. She was someone who had to be taught a lesson at least five times to understand.

‘Aren’t you happy to be a teacher. Isn’t it wonderful to touch so many young and fresh kids and help shape their future’, i said.

Dilip after his outburst had calmed down a lot. ‘It does Teacher but when you have to do a tightrope walk balancing the finances….’, he said.

‘You know Dilip, ultimately one becomes what he is good for and what he wants to do. Meghana was always a family person, Arindam always had this quest for perfection, Swasthi was manipulative and you, you were always good in teaching. I remember you used to help out everyone with Maths after school hours and all had got good marks.’ I said.

Dilip had visibly calmed down by now.

I continued., ‘Money, power can’t buy you peace or happiness Dilip but doing your job well, brings happiness in others’ life does’.

He nodded with a smile.

The felicitations started and we all moved towards the stage.

Many were felicitated that day and in the end my name was called. Dilip came on stage and it was announced that Dilip would do the honours, ‘from one teacher to another’

‘To a teacher who has been our guiding light’, he said while giving me the memento. ‘I hope I can be a guiding light to others, as you have been to us all’, he added in private with a smile that came from his heart.

As we all posed for a photograph, I felt at peace.

Picture courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblace to any person living or dead is inintentional.

Sir

I was asking questions. Little Adi now in second standard had lots to study but would he ever be serious, no. I kept on prodding him and he kept on playing with his toy truck, answering me as and when he pleased.

‘Adi’, I screamed and took the truck, ‘let us read the book’.

We began reading it and he kept dozing off. If I had allowed him to sleep he would have played for another hour before sleeping. So I just glared at him.

When I started asking him questions, he slid off to sit on the floor.

I kept an eye on the textbook and occasionally glanced at Adi. Surprisingly he answered quite well. After about five questions I got suspicious and bent down. There he was sitting with his class book open below the desk.

 

What happened next was pandemonium. I screamed he ran, I ran behind him and so on till the lady living below our flat, knocked our door and asked if everything was fine. Her two-year old daughter was trying to sleep and the noise was disturbing her.

I went into withdrawal mood and became silent. Adi meanwhile cried himself to sleep.

Old memories came to mind. A ten-year old me who knew her lessons and was yet influenced by those who took the easy way out.

I remembered an exam where I knew the answers and yet when some of my classmates copied from their notebooks, I too was influenced. I took out my class notes, kept it on my lap and copied.

The others were smart. They sensed that our class teacher Mr Shrivastav was coming near us and hid their books. I had not been seasoned yet. I was caught. But he did not say anything, just took the notebook and left. Later he did call me to the staffroom and said, ‘What was the need to copy? Are you finding studies difficult. Am I not able to teach you properly’….and then after some time, “I know it is me, I have not been able to teach properly otherwise why an intelligent girl like you will copy’.

 

I had tears in my eyes. ‘It is not you but me Sir’,  I said. Some others do it and I wanted to do the same’,

He looked at me and then very slowly said, ‘Good habits should be copied not these. Following someone who is worth following is good but not such who have low morals’.

He spoke a lot. And my ten-year old mind could not understand it all but I understood that blind following is not good.

From then on he became my mentor and we stayed in touch till the time I started working. After that we lost touch. I remembered his teachings and how his teachings had molded me.

I had this urge to meet him again. I opened my laptop and began searching for him in different social networks. I couldn’t locate him anywhere and that upset me.

Anshuman, my husband had meanwhile returned from office and was having dinner. ‘What happened?’, he asked.

I told him the events of the evening.

‘My God, Adi is growing fast, from where does he learn these tricks?’, he said. And then looking at my sad face he added, ‘You are going to meet your parents in ten days,  so you can search for Shrivastav teacher, can’t you?’

Now that was a good idea and I had happy dreams of meeting Sir.

**************

I spoke excitedly about meeting Shrivastav Sir and of how I had to catch up with him. I failed to see the nervous glances that my parents gave each other.

‘Err’, dad said, ‘Things may not be the same as they were you know’.

‘Huh…meaning’, I said.

They exchanged glances and then mom said, ‘Shyamali sit down, it may be hard to you’.

I sat and then mom started.

Shrivastav Sir had retired about seven years back. His wife had died some years prior to that. But he had no worries, his children cared for him and he was happy’.

He had decided that he would be going to the slums to teach. He wanted to be free of any troubles and so he distribute all his savings to his children keeping a little for himself  for his necessities. He wanted to save his energy to teaching the slum folks.

Once the money was in their names. the children started showing their true colors.

‘We don’t like the stench when you come home, why do you have to teach those people’, one said.

‘Can’t you just stay at home and help with the house work. You are always away and expect the others to do your work’, the other said.

Slowly within a year all his kids had disowned him. My dad on his usual social work had discovered him in the very slum where he had wanted to teach in a very sad condition.

He had become frail and whether it was by shock or some chemical process, Sir had Alzheimer’s. The slum people fed him, clothed him but it was clear that he needed medical attention. And so my father had got him admitted in a medical center.

I had tears in my eyes. Shrivastav Sir must have been the role model of so many. He had given such strong values to his students but alas it seems that his children failed to imbibe it in their life.

I went to meet him. He failed to recognize me but he took Adi with him and started telling him stories. It was strange that he did not remember people but he remembered his famed stories. Stories of value, stories with morals.

 

I wanted to slam a legal notice on Sir’s children. But I did not. They had lost a lot already by disowning their father.

I took Sir with me. Keeping him home would be difficult, he would be lost and disoriented. I would be keeping him in a facility close to my home where I could meet him regularly.

Anshuman smiled at me when we came out of the airport. One hand holding Adi’s hand, other Sir’s.

Some people were to be treasured and Sir was definitely one amongst them.

*fiction