Thursday, 7 June 2012
A walk back in Time
I went on a trip down memory lane to Pallakkad, a district in Kerala, sometime last week. This is the city where I spent 2 great years doing a post-graduation course. I did my MBA in Coimbatore and stayed at Palakkad. This was in the year 2001. With the exception of mobile numbers, anything to do with numbers, even today, makes me go crazy. Understandably so, Mathematics and Operations Research drove me nuts no end. Helpless and beaten down, I found refuge in well-taken tuitions at a sweet place called Tharekkattu Gramam by an even sweeter teacher. A group of us friends, we used to go for tuition classes after our full day classes back in college, and despite the drained out feeling at the end of the day, we religiously attended out tuitions primarily because our teacher was very caring and his classes were filled with endless portions of positive energy.
A staggering 11 years went by unnoticed until I called this teacher of mine. He answered the call and I introduced myself and requested to meet him. His voice boomed “you are most welcome, I am waiting here.” I went to his house along with my cousin to find no change at all. A decade had made no difference and I found myself transported to a magical time, when learning combined with youth and adventure ruled paramount in life. I knocked the door and his wife answered and invited us inside. 40 odd pairs of slippers greeted the entrance the house with no change of the interior.
And then entered our Guru. Time had not dared to scar him with the vagaries of age and he bore the same styles and mannerisms as before. Nothing had changed, not the warmth, nor the demeanour. I was certain he would not recognize me. He looked at me and then said “yes, I remember, back then you were thinner and clean shaven.” I thought the easiest way of showing familiarity was that. I was moved beyond words when he effortlessly recalled even the minutest details of those times.
We spoke for a while and I got to know that he still tutors a thousand kids during the season and he does not collect any fee from half of his lot. He says the energy he takes on 10 and 50 is the same and so believes he is serving the society his way. I marveled at the simplicity. He has been tutoring young minds from 1981 and now has a remarkable three decades to his credit. I owe my foundations of knowledge and value system to Srinivasan Sir, our dear teacher.
He recalled, with pride, about various students who were doing well and also of a student who was not doing well. He tried calling him twice when we were there but in vain. He wanted me to talk to him and help him settle into a good opportunity. I could see the parent in him at work. As we rose to leave he brought a handful of sweets and gave it to both of us blessing us and praying that our friendship lasts forever. I had tears in my eyes.
I was overjoyed when the student he wanted me to talk called me. Only a teacher with devotion and dedication can be so kind and prompt.
Even today I remember very well as we would go for our exams he, in his typical regional accent would say“Onnu Kondum Pedikkanda Ketolin” assuring us that all would be well and urging us to be courageous. It used to be so soothing to the mind to hear that from him.
Rarely does one find a blessed soul who is many a man rolled into one, from teacher, to parent to a citizen par excellence working tirelessly to see the fruit of his labour better the lives of his protégé!
I salute him and pay my respects humbly, as would all of my friends who have, like me, been in his tutelage and become better as a result.