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We had invited you, our readers, to write about your favourite teachers and we've been inundated with your responses. Here is the first set:
Teachers' Day is around the corner and we are asking you to tell us about your favourite teacher, the one who changed your life and made a meaningful difference to it.
We start out with Shriniwas Indapurkar's tribute to his teacher:
This is a story of when I was in 5th standard in City High School of Chandrapur district of Maharashtra in 1975-1976. At that was where my teacher, Mr Bokare taught us science.
I still remember seeing him walk into the class, smiling and pleasant. He was carrying two plants with him. He asked us to observe the plant and went on to explain its various parts. It was a simple exercise but we learnt so much that day and didn't feel strained as we did usually.
As part of our homework, he asked us to write down what we had learnt in his class. But when he arrived the next day, he realised that only a few of us had indeed completed the task.
Rather than getting angry at us he tried to find out why. He learnt that many of my classmates didn't have a notebook to write in because their parents couldn't afford it.
To get around this problem, at the beginning of every new class, he would start revising lessons from the previous class rather than giving us homework.
It didn't take a lot of time for him to get popular in the school. He taught us for just about two years but he is remembered to this day.
Our school was in the tribal belt of Maharashtra where students were poor and people couldn't afford a lot of luxuries. He reached out to us and made us learn and want to learn more. So much so that even after 40 years I still remember him!
Note: All pictures used only for representational purposes
'He made my life easier'
Vivek Gupta writes about his teacher GVN Naidu
My teacher GVN Naidu taught us at Ramakrishna Public School in Visakhapatnam.
I was in my 10th standard and was very weak at Mathematics. But Naidu Sir turned things around as he made me understand concepts that made maths and my life easier. He did it without ever beating me our shouting at me.
I ended up getting 96/100 marks in the Board exams in 2005.
My parents also remember him because they know how bad I was at the subject.
It was pleasure to meet you and an honour to learn under your guidance sir. I am really looking forward to meeting you again and hope that day will come soon.
'I am today what you wanted me to be'
Nanjundi Karthick writes in:
As I think of what to write, I can almost start on each day I spent with him and have a zillions things to write about.
So let me start by paying tribute to the greatest quality he had as a teacher -- he taught me a lot of things without ever saying that this is learnings for life that you need to understand. It was almost always a subtle task or activity or word of encouragement or a scolding that in hindsight meant to teach me something about how to handle myself in a different situation.
To me that's why he was the greatest teacher I ever had and that is why my learning phase ended with his death. After his death, it has been just an application of what I learnt from him. And believe me, even today I relate back to something he must have told me long time back and go -- "Awwww...this is what he meant to instill in me… gosh... how great was he ?!?"
Let me start by enumerating some of his teachings. As I mentioned, he meant to preach but never said so. Hence, these are my interpretations of his wise actions (more than words)....
Learning 1: If there is one thing he taught me, it was to analyze and act RATIONALLY in any situation and may be that is why, even today I analyze his deeds and interpret the meaning to my life.
Learning 2: It is WORK and not BIRTH that governs the aristocracy of present times (ancient saying)... He was a role model for how dedicated he was to his job as an employee, as a manager, as a husband, as a brother, as a friend, as a father and as a teacher. Through his deeds he taught me the meaning of "Working to be someone" and not "Work towards something"...
Learning 3: Sports is the best addiction you could have ... because unlike movies or any other form of entertainment, in PURE sports there is always a battle between two or more, leading to a winner and one or many losers. No one wins all the time and none stops trying. By getting initiated to tennis, I not only built fitness, hand-eye coordination etc., I also built the ability to think on my feet, take winning and losing the same, remaining calm and knowing when to acknowledge and when and how to give back. No other form of entertainment does this to you.
Learning 4: Long before he was gone, he had instilled in me the power to think rationally and make pragmatic choices. Today, I am proud of how I supported my mother (widow) from the age of 9 and how over time I have comfortably moved to driving the family, allowing her to take an advisory role. Also, the choice of my wife being someone who could form a triangle (with my mom and me) and not split me into two parts resulted in a master stroke.
Today I live a content life with my mother, my wife and the new kid we are expecting in November. I have worked in the private sector for nine years and have an engineering degree (gold medal) and an MBA (IIM).
But I have realised that life is only worth it when you give back. So I have decided to give back to society and hence am pursuing a Masters in International Development / Policy at the world's best Policy school (SAIS, Johns Hopkins). A rational choice to make life meaningful for as many as you can.
And if my best teacher had ever thought of why he still stays with me in this journey, even though he is not here physically -- there is a reason. Because he was not just my teacher but a PROUD FATHER as well. Coincidentally he was born on Teacher's day (September 5, 1947) and I find it appropriate to SALUTE him and my many great teachers on this day compared to thinking of him on Father's day.
Dedicated to someone who was a Teacher first and a Father next! I am today what you wanted me to be. Bless us from wherever you are.
-- From a doting student and a humble son!
'He turned my life around completely!'
Debasish Das Roy writes about his teacher Tridiv Choudhury
Tridiv Babu -- that was the name was known by each and every student at Lumding, Assam. He is no more with us but I would like to take the pay my respect here.
The story goes back to the year 1972/1973. Due to frequent transfer of my father, I joined my uncle at Lumding and got admission in class IX at Lumding Railway High School. I was not doing well in my previous classes and was below average. I used to soil my pants before every maths exam.
Then at the insistence of my aunt, I had to undergo private coaching under Tridiv Sir.
Those days, private tuition was rare and in the beginning, Tridiv Babu did not agree for tuition. However, after much persuasion he agreed to coach us. That was the turning point in my life.
The coaching started from scratch and the development was visible in each examination. Then finally we sat for class X final exam. We were seven people in the batch. He started with mathematics and tutored us in all subjects.
After the final exam, I was back at Kolkata to join my parents. The result subsequently published. All seven of us passed in first division. My cousin stood third in the board.
Today, all seven are well settled in our life. Later someone told me that six of us wanted t to take a picture of them with sir but he declined because the group was incomplete (I wasn't there at the time).
He turned my life around completely and it is only because of him that I am here now. I can not forget him till my death and will respect him to the very end.
'She was kind and forthcoming'
C Rajendra Thilahar also writes about his maths teacher:
Mrs Thangammal who taught us at the Government Higher Secondary School in Kalugumalai (in Tamil Nadu) introduced me to mathematics when I was still in high school. She was kind and forthcoming and made maths my favourite subject.
'He taught me every good deed leads to God'
We end this edition with Nalini Kudalkar's response:
Teachers are the real shapers of a child's future! A mother is the first teacher of a child.
My favourite teacher was from our municipal school from where I did my tenth standard. Her principle is what I have followed all my life -- that every good deed leads to God.
Today I too do my bit of good work without worrying about the results and who I do it for!
That teacher's name was Mrs Shaikh! I remember her fondly on Teacher's Day.