Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Perils of Age – Perhaps

My flat mate, Rakesh and I were sitting over our breakfast coffee when an elderly colleague joined us. Around 65 may be, the obvious question from her was “ Son, can I order something for you.”  We said we were perfect and she pulled her plate and joined us. The conversation clicked off and then it came to the point of telling us she was going to resign. She said she was joining her daughter in a foreign country.

I was happy for her and I said “Ma’am that would be fun.” She looked at me and then to the plate and said, “Dear, at this age I don’t think it’s fun. I have become a mess. I need to get counseled before I go in with my daughter.” We were shocked. Rakesh exclaimed, “What?”  To which she said “I need to get counseled to stop lighting the lamp I lit all these years, I need to forget that my windows need to be opened. And the worst was this “Son, I feed birds every day in the morning. I am even expected to forget that.” The daughter had given clear instructions to the mother before she even went to her place.

I was thinking how many times our parents have sacrificed for us. The time they have spent for us, telling stories, preparing us for competitions, tucking us into bed. But somewhere don’t you think we are forgetting our parents' sacrifice? They taught us how to walk and now we tell them how to behave. Isn’t it a pain? Just imagine a few years from today we will also wear the same shoes. Imagine us being treated this way.

I can’t imagine.

When did we forget all the goodness taught to us during childhood?

Monday, 21 November 2011

An Autograph from a Teacher

Standing in a teacher’s shoes at a very young age has been an experience worth a life time of learning and good feelings. At age 22 I began my role as a teacher. Too young to know the seriousness of life, I entered my second job, as Faculty member of a B School , before which I was a Sales Officer in a Bank.  I was in the transition phase of my life and I was in the middle of the best of what life offers, college Life. I was out of my college life, experiencing others enjoying their college life. Imagine that you have a big pot of honey which you are not supposed to touch. Gosh!!!

The first day as a teacher I realized how good and diplomatic our teachers were. Standing on the other side of the classroom was an experience the first day. I saw myself sitting in their place. I could see everyone and everything they did. That’s when it struck me how my teachers tolerated us. But my dear friends, to be frank a teachers life is actually a very fulfilling one. Every student’s achievement becomes your achievement and every students fall becomes your pain. With the exams they write the tension is in the teacher’s heart. But yet all the missed heart beats and pains the teacher goes through get washed away in the process being friendly but not familiar or rather to make it simple being strict.

Here I would like to narrate a small incident of my life as a teacher which made me think a lot. Fortunate as a teacher I have always had very controllable batches, which has been also the reason why I have felt very close to many there. In my class I had a student named Kiran who was very shy and wanted to discontinue the post-graduation course halfway through. Not seeing him in class for a few days I called his parents and asked them to come over. The first shock the parent gets is the look of the teacher. He asked with the highest exclamation “are you the one teaching Kiran?” I answered yes, that’s me. I told him how it was important that Kiran needed to come back and how his parents needed to support us in the cause of getting him going well.

The initiative worked and the then Director of the institute, a walking encyclopedia said “Boss, I am not sure of what you are planning for.” Months passed by and one day the Director summoned me to his cabin. I was sure there was a mess and he asked me to sit with the most irritated look on his face. He extended his hand and said “Congratulations.” I was perplexed. He said “Kiran spoke to me with immense confidence, and it’s all your work.” I was lost and in the middle of nowhere. That was one appreciation I got which was an achievement. I take it as an achievement because it came from a knowledgeable man. Today Kiran is doing excellently well and I feel happy for him. When he said he was leaving the course I felt the pain and today I feel proud of my student and friend Kiran, who has since changed from being a chronic introvert into a confident young man.

Truly, nothing could be more rewarding than the life of a teacher to witness a transformation in the lives of his students.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tribute to a Teacher - My Blog Begins...

Teachers are a gift of a lifetime. They make us what we are today… I would like to begin blogging by a tribute to my teacher. I owe a lot to her for what I am today.

Back to my class 11 year 1996. An average student I must say, coming to a CBSE School from the state syllabus, with all the qualities of being a nut. The CBSE School was a cultural shock. Everyone was fast and   the only thing I was fast was with my chattering.  Being a Commerce guy I needed to be taking accounts sessions which was a hard spot. Even today let me confess, I go berserk with all numbers other than mobile numbers. So here comes in a very strict teacher into the class who was to instruct us accounts. Not joking friends she was a terror. We used to pray for her to be on leave. The minute she enters the class breaths go up and as she exits we all come back to normal. In the course of time my slowness got noticed and I had a privilege to sit on the teacher’s desk during her hours. It was stressful and the punishments were also bad. I used to think that Ma’am had some ill feeling towards me. Ok I thought.

It so happens that I sing, not very well but yes a bit. I got selected in the western music team for the year. School became enjoyable. Music was taking a lot of time. Michael Jackson’s Heal the world was in full swing practice for a month.  We decided the clothes to wear, the material selected and at one point a teacher comes in and changes the entire team structure and three of us saw us out of the team. At age 15 I don’t think I would have gone disheartened so much. My family was very very supportive. It was all through and I was cool.

The competition day came in. my dad and mom stood by me. I went to school on a cold Saturday morning in mid December. I could not function but I remember the words my dad said, "Son, this is just a small battle. Win it and you will grow." School was all usual tough Naveen was so unusual. As the schedule the accounts class came and we had a two hour schedule. Ma’m walked in and I walked to my special seat. She gave us some accounting problems and all of us were at work. I am not exaggerating I just wrote the date and sat on my seat. Ma’am came once saw my book no response. The second time also she came not a word, again a third, nothing happened. At this point one of my classmates who went for the programme came back and said they got the first prize. My eyes watered but I did not burst out. The so called strict, cruel teacher walked up to my desk and held me on my shoulder and patted me. I felt the love, the genuineness and care of a teacher flow in through the same hands she used to hit me. I changed. I changed from the slow, poor student category to one of the good students in class. From then I had had no looking back.

The word teacher if mis-spelt becomes a cheater. Even after 15 years of leaving school I still meet my mother at school my dear Teacher Ms Rajini Anoop. She is a true asset I earned over my years of being a student.