Teacher's Day: 'He taught us to live right!'
We had invited you, our readers, to write about your favourite teachers and we've been inundated with your responses. Here is the second set:
First up, we have this response from Mrunmayee Nasery who recollects the time she would hate mathematics:
Mathematics was the only thing I used to hate till the fifth standard.
Our teacher was angry with me in my very first arithmetic class in Class Five and in the subsequent years my fear of the subject only got worse till my parents brought it to the attention of and she started paying attention to me.
She improved my maths to such a great extent that by the time I reached the sixth standard, I was a chapter or two ahead of the whole class. (In the coming years I even qualified for all mathematics examinations at the undergraduate level.) Mrs Lakhbir Suri, my maths teacher soon became my favourite teacher.
While I was still in sixth, my mother suffered from breast cancer.
As a child all I knew was that it was something very dreadful. Throughout the time she supported me, caring for me. Fortunately, my mother fully recovered eventually but had Ms Suri not been there, I would have never come out of it.
Later I started participating in various competitive exams and she was always there for me; taking extra classes after the school, arranging mock interviews and providing me the required books. Till date whenever I receive some award or pass with good marks in any exams, she is the first person I call up. Many a times I failed, became completely demoralised, as if it is the end of everything but she always made me feel that I can do it. She talks in such a motivating way that even a person who has completely lost his morale can get on to the right track.
Mrs Suri taught me from standard 5 till standard 10 and was a popular teacher so much so that in our last year, we threw her a huge birthday party.
Even though it has been three years has passed since I’ve competed school, I am in touch with her and share my deepest feelings.
Even after all these years she has never showed even a slightest hint of annoyance or irritation while listening to me or providing solutions to my woes. In all these years she has become a close friend, my mentor, motivator and one of the best people I have ever met.
Thank you, madam!
Mrunmayee Nasery also went on to remember her favourite mathematics professor Anil Kayande:
You are never too old to work. This argument does not hold good for a system which bids adieu to people who turn 60.
So retirement blues is a serious issue for those who feel strong and energetic even on the day when they officially hang their boots.
But this is not the case for Dr Anil Kayande.
His CV speaks of his brilliance. He has been the founder principal of an engineering college in the Nagpur.
He held various high faculty positions in Rhode Island, Nigeria, etc. He is best mathematics teacher in our city.
I first met him when I was in eighth standard.
Before I met him I had a distinct picture of him made in my mind: How will a 75 year old professor be?
I had heard a lot about him before -- that he puts up difficult questions and if you are able to answer them, only then you will get into his class.
But the experience was altogether different.
He had a great aura surrounding him. He treated me like his own granddaughter. Not only did I get into his class but in the subsequent years he induced a great love for mathematics in me.
His classes were more like a gurukul where we learnt not only to tackle mathematical challenges but also how to face challenges in life.
He always used a white slate to solve a problem. When I was young I always thought that if I solved problems on his slate, I could crack any difficult problem.
When he'd step out of the class to meet someone, I’d use his slate.
He would ask us to solve a problem for hours and days together until we found the solution.
In class 10, I cleared the Regional Mathematics Olympiad; it was always my dream to do so.
A few months later he gifted me a white slate to solve problems on.
My joy knew no bounds.
Even though he has a heart problem, and he is 80 now, he never misses a single class even today.
He always came up with different ways to solve the same problem.
I was trained under him till I completed class 12.
Today I am studying in one of the premier engineering institutes of India, and a lot of credit for that goes to him.
Almost all his students are at zenith of whichever field they have chosen.
He never asks for a single penny as his tuition fee.
It’s up to us to give him whatever amount we want to give. For him imparting his knowledge to us is his greatest reward.
All these years he treated me like his own granddaughter and we nurture a great bond.
An article was published in Times of India about him, where he said,"My effort is to put them on the right track so that they can learn to meet the challenges which come in the path of higher pursuits. My subject is mathematics and I guide them in this to follow the process of self learning. The truth is that these young students provide me a reason to live."
But I would like to say that it’s not only us, it’s his passion and compassion for mathematics and his thirst to provide knowledge to others which does wonders.
He is the person who has provided me the strength and knowledge to thrive in this world.
Do you have a favourite teacher? Tell us why he or she was special, and share your special story about your teacher with us. It can be an anecdote or a dedication. Or maybe an interesting, sentimental story.
Simply write in to us at email@example.com (subject line: 'To Teacher, with love') with your experience and, if possible, a photograph of your teacher and you. We'll be publishing the best entries right here on rediff.com!
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Image: Prof Anil Kayande
' I don't recollect him scolding anyone'
Next we have this response from Dr (Lt Col) Y N I Anand who offers this tribute to his teachers MN Siddhalingappa, MN Sitarama Rao and Dr N Sethuraman:
Undoubtedly, the top place goes to Late MN Siddalingappa who was my teacher when I was studying at the government middle school in Mandya, Karnataka in the late fifties.
Another teacher -- my high school head master from the same place -- Late MN Sitarama Rao very closely follows Shri Siddalingappa.
Shri Siddalingappa, fondly called MNS was an excellent human being and was much more than a teacher.
Although he was our English teacher, and did an excellent job as one, he laid the foundation in our minds for being good and responsible citizens of the future India.
He is the one who taught us to walk on the right side of the two lane road because according to him, that would enable us to see the traffic coming from the opposite side and move accordingly. He took us to the nearby printing press and taught us how to do bind books.
As the Scouts teacher, he taught us the value of discipline and managing responsibilities.
He taught us civic sense like, not littering or spitting on the road, how to keep one’s surroundings clean and so on.
He was a very informal person and loved his pupils immensely.
Ever smiling, I don't recollect him scolding anyone ever.
He taught us from the Wren & Martin English Grammar textbook. And as we grew up we realised the standard of English that we learnt from the government school under him was far superior to what was being taught in the convent schools even during the fifties.
My tributes to him for making me what I am today -- a doctor who is serving the Indian Army for almost a quarter of a century. I am currently engaged in service to the patients and the credit goes almost entirely to him and Late Sitarama Rao.
Not to forget another doctor and an excellent teacher of a different kind, Dr N Sethuraman, (in the photo) founder chairman, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai who taught us the meaning of empathy towards the poor and the downtrodden by leading from the front and how not to bother too much about money when you are busy serving the poor.
Vasanth Kalyan wrote about his favourite teacher Ramesh Babu and the values he taught:
Coming from a traditional South Indian background with so called pre-defined career plans and pre-painted picture of the world, it required us to have teachers like Ramesh Babu who truly deserve a humble bow.
They helped us see the true colours of the world and understand that there is pain as well as happiness. True meaning of "God" is to be able to see the person within you.
Coming from a very humble background, I should say he truly understood the meaning of kindness and humanity.
He was working (is still working) as an electrical engineer for one of leading blade manufacturers and was offering tuitions for school kids. I still find myself lucky to find him.
Through him, I've realised the importance of family and service to society.
It's from him that I knew most important lessons of life are taught from outside books.
While many teach you books, at the age of 14 not many would teach you what life is all about.
It's he who helped us open our minds, think beyond textbooks and to be empathetic towards others' feelings. It is he who taught us not to believe everything we see.
It is he who has taught us to live right!!! Thank you sir.
Today I do my part to the society and appreciate my life because of what he taught us: "It is not important you lived, it is important you helped."
Image: Prof DN Sethuraman
'He always wished the best for me'
Finally, we have this response from Manish who writes about his teacher Emerson Manoharan:
I would like to talk about our PT teacher Emerson Manoharan. It was probably 1993-1994 when I met him first. Our school was having hostel and students have to live in the same after the school over.
I was in eighth or ninth standard and still remember the first time we’d met.
He asked if I was a fool; I just stood there looking at him.
Then suddenly he stepped back and told me: You don't look like a fool.
Within few days he came to know that I was a brilliant student and he motivated me to move ahead.
I left school after completing my class 10 board exam but by then, he’d became my favourite teacher and still today is:
There are a couple of incidents I remember about him:
We used to live in hostel and I hated to eat lunch on Tuesdays because they served black grams which I wasn’t too fond of. Most of the times I used to skip lunch on Tuesdays.
But Emerson Sir used to wait outside our dormitory and as soon as I was there after the class got over, he used to take me with him and we’d have lunch together in the hostel mess.
When I was in class 10, he used to sit late night with me in the class where I used to prepare for exam.
He did that just to motivate me and tell me that there is someone, other than my parents, who cared for my studies.
He also ensured that I had adequate sleep and was not stressing myself.
There are bad days in everyone's life and one such incident happened when I was in my 10th grade.
I was appointed monitor of the class and somehow had an issue with one the teachers at school.
I was out for drinking water during that teacher's class and was not allowed to enter.
Another teacher who saw me outside the class questioned me and I don't know why this teacher thought about giving me more punishment -- I was asked to stay at the school grounds till the recess.
During recess, the second teacher who’d asked to stay at the school ground, brought me to the class and slapped me few times.
This was the only time I got slapped in my school life.
That day, after school I went to the dormitory and cried a lot.
My PT teacher came to know about this incident.
He spoke to all the teachers and warned them not to touch me again!!! He loved me as if I were his own kid.
I did exceptionally well in 10th board exam and stood first in the class.
I was confused whether to go for Science or Commerce stream.
Emerson Sir met my father and asked him: What is the next step?
My father told him that it was left to me to decide.
I still remember him looking in my eyes and warning me that if I opted for commerce, he is going to trace me and beat me.
He told me there is nothing better than Science for me.
He also asked me to leave the school after class 10 as he wanted me to get the best coaching for class 12 and college.
Today I am married and working in very reputed software company in USA.
He teaches PT in a school in Kerala. I am still in touch with him through a social networking site, we also speak over the phone.
I don't have any picture of his with me but he lives in my heart and I cherish those school memories always.
Image: For representational purposes only