Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Of little lessons from great people .............

"Because my Miss told me....." my nine year old whines when I ask her why she did something different from what I had asked her to do. The first time, it did come as a shock that she would take someone else's word against mine, but then I took a ride down memory lane, and discovered I was no different!

I realize now that I have been very fortunate with the kind of people that the Almighty has scattered all over my life, at various stages. This is an attempt to dig into memory and try to thank those 'teachers' I've had in my life.
  • The nurturer : My first day at formal school was in Dubai Indian High - a huge campus, with hundreds of classes, and thousands of students. My parents were paranoid, my mom was ready to cry at the drop of a hat, and I was equipped with brand new paraphernalia - all pink! Mrs. Simon, my class teacher for nursery and prep, was the sweetest little lady I had seen (as a 4 year old, that is) and she had a soothing tone to her voice, which put all my separation anxiety to rest. I was the topper in her class for two consecutive years - a performance which never repeated itself! She instilled the love of words and letters and crayons in me - Ma'am, thank you!
  • The tough coach : My sports coach, Mrs. Omana  - who made sure I didn't give up too early, and made sure I walked away when it was time to do so. All the basketball matches, the throwball matches and the badminton matches that she stood by me, in the hot sun, was the only reason I went on to become a house captain in the later years of my life. But the most important lesson I learnt was to be a team player. I was coaxed, warned, punished and rewarded to instill this life skill - thank you Ma'am.
  • The passionate artist: In middle school, habits are formed that change the way your life takes course. Kalpana Ma'am, who came by as my English teacher in the fifth, changed the way I looked at books, the way I approached stage fright, and started a saga of prizes for debates, extempores and poetry recitals that followed me all through high school. She would sit after class to get the right emotions into my recital - for many days, she would even call up Dad to let me stay longer. After this, I've always had, in every class I studied, someone who stacked books into my arms and forced me to read - this, I realize, is the only reason I am able to write what I do today. Prameela Ma'am, Rasika Ma'am..... thank you!
  • The mother figure : While struggling with a tragedy that affected my sister and me, Vasanthi Ma'am took us under her wing - like a mother hen. She never had a frown, never an impatient glance at the clock, never an irritated sound when I approached her with all the rebelliousness of a teen, and the grace of a hippo. A few years later, when my sister faced difficulties she stepped up and became a mentor to her as well. Thank you Ma'am!
  • The stern administrator : The principal of my high school is a lady of steel. She was the disciplinarian, and the very mention of her office made the worst of us behave. Yet, it was her that prodded me to work harder, push myself further - and a word of praise from her made my day! Thank you Sugeetha Ma'am!
The college mentors : I would rather call the faculty in college mentors, as they were more than just faculty - they sorted out so much of our confused minds, that in the span of 3 years, we were ready to take on the world. While there were so many faculty members who contributed to our lives, a quick mention of some here:
  • Mr. Prakash : Its tough being a disciplinarian. I realize that now, when I need to manage a team, and of course, manage my kids. Its tougher being a disciplinarian to a bunch of hormone crazed morons, who think they are adults. Its even tougher when you are also responsible for their careers - and he did it with aplomb. Whether it has to do with punctuality, or grooming, or attitude - he preferred to take on the tag of the 'bad guy' instead of going soft on us. Sir - thank you!
  • Mr. Ranjit Pillai : While preferring to take the back stage whenever there is any limelight, this person was, in my life (and many others who had him as a guide) a troubleshooter. Each time we were in trouble (and believe me when I say life or death situation) it was Mr.Pillai who swooped in with firm words and even firmer resolution to get us straightened out. Sir, thank you for all the trust you showed in us - even when we were complete idiots! 
  • Jolly Ma'am : ........Sigh!!!!!! That's the reaction you'll get from anyone she's taught. She was endearingly tough (am sure she still evokes shivers from the students now), and had taught us what "elbow grease" was all about! Eye for detail, and perfection in the smallest of task - these were essential skills that helped us advance in our careers - Thank you Ma'am.
  • Mr. Ivan Thomas : Organized, calm, witty and with a keen sense of responsibility towards the kitchen - that's Chef Ivan. We've been punished zillions of times (scrubbed the kitchen a million times myself), but the entire experience only left us happier and satisfied with a sparkling kitchen  -  how did you manage that Sir? His witty one liners are still told and retold in every get together. Thank you Chef!
  • Nirmala Ma'am : Yet another language specialist - the one who initiated the writing bug in me - my first (failed) attempt at managing hurt sentiments after an article saw me running to her for cover. And of course, how can we forget the French -Merci beaucoup Ma'am!

To all my inspirations : Happy Teachers Day .... and thank you for all that you've done for us!

30 comments:

  1. Nice tribute to your teachers...I remember my school teachers the most..Especially my class teacher in UKG.She used to pamper her students.Even now when I meet her,her opening line is,"Mole,you were such a tiny one and look how you have grown up!" That "Mole" has the honey of a hundred honeycombs...Haa

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    1. hehehe.... 'mole' has grown indeed! It is so overwhelming when someone remembers you after so many years! Thanks for coming by!

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  2. You're lucky to have so many wonderful teachers. When I look back, I just had a handful. Or maybe, I never bothered to look beyond the strict mask they wore.

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    1. Nisha, actually, I think there may be a generation gap here. You see, I was in school nearly two decades ago - I am guessing all of us who passed out so many years ago had a different experience. There was no internet, no mobile, no dish TV... so I think we had so much more time to connect with people.....

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  3. Glad to see we share the same teachers :) I bet a generation down has also enjoyed the same.
    And yes, they were truly wonderful instilling the right principles in us.

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    1. Yes, we do share a few common teachers (come to rhink of it, I do remember a scawny kid in my sister's class :-))

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    2. sniff sniff... oh these arent tears of sadness or gratitude or anything. Just tears of joy that once upon a time i used to be considered scrawny :))

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    3. hehehe.......COMPLETELY relate to that myself!

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  4. You had some great teachers .. WE learn so much from them , I am deeply indebted to my tachers for the pain the ytook to make me learn .. I am now here thanks to them all

    Bikram's

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    1. Yes, Bikram - I had fantastic teachers - and I completely agree that their influences are what made us who we are! Thanks for coming by.

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  5. wonderful tribute!! Glad you had such wonderful teachers!

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    1. Thanks Roshni..... Cherish the memories so much.

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  6. Good one... enjoyed reading your blog post... keep them coming

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  7. A perfect way to rewind and see what some perfect people taught you unknowingly!! ::)

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    1. Yeah.... its only on occasions such as this that one actually puts life on pause to think of the years that went by... thanks!

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  8. Lovely post! This reminded me of one of my favorite teachers in school. We "feared" her because she was a very strict disciplinarian, but now I look back and realize that her classes were some of the best we ever had.

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    1. Thank you, foodie - we all have those kind of tough people in our lives, who made us stronger in character! Thank you for coming by!

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  9. Lucky you found these teachers! And so nice you remember them all so well!

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  10. You are lucky to have such good teachers :D

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    1. Thank you Ghazala - yes, I do have a lot to be thankful about.

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  11. Nirvana
    That was a beautiful writeup---I too have had a set of teachers just as those you have mentioned above and am grateful to them for everything I have achieved in my life AND also for the values they have instilled in me ---Because I personally feel that we always give more importance to what our teachers say than to anyone else---like the first line of your post ----lovely write up

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    1. Thank you so much Rajni .... completely agree - we need to remember them once in a while!!!

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  12. It feels so nice to have so many wonderful teachers/mentors in your life...so true as a kid we generally consider every word from them as concrete notes :-)

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    1. @NBose.....Absolutely!! I now have a battle every time I refute anything the 'Ma'am' has told my kids :-)

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