For once, I have timed my post correctly. Although it could have been a week earlier, but I was too excited to put together my thoughts.
In our school days, we all have written essays on ‘My favourite teacher’ in English as well as Hindi. Interestingly our ‘favourite teacher’ changed with change in the subject and they say children are innocent, बच्चे मन के सच्चे , etc.
Today, I want to write about two of my favourite students. They are not favourites, because they were outstanding in their achievements. but becuse of their nature, the type of human beings that they are. Incidentally, I did not choose one each from boys and girls.
Meghna Singhee was my student for junior college. I just did not like her in the first instance. She ‘appeared’ to be a carefree girl with an attitude. What went against her was that she was the Principal’s pet and had the liberty to talk to the Principal as if she was her friend. All this, when not only the students, their parents as well as the general public, specially residents of the area were scared of the Principal. I was thankful that she did not study my subject. After about two weeks of the academic session in progress, she expressed her desire to study Economics. Since the school did not offer Economics, there was no teacher for the subject. The Principal asked me if I could teach Economics. Since I could, I said yes. How would I know that I had to teach Meghna!
Since, I could not find one book, which had all the subject matter in it, I would consult some books, make my own notes and teach. Meghna used to come for games (she was a perfect all rounder) in the morning before school. So invariably she was tired and hungry when she came to the class room. Since, she was the only student for the subject, I had to teach at her pace. I would stay up late in the night, making my notes for about two days of teaching. And this Meghna! She would say, “Miss, I am sleepy let me read the notes, otherwise I’ll fall asleep while you are explaining”. I asked her as to how will she understand if I didn’t explain. She assured me that she would ask for explanation, as and when she needed. I was surprised seeing her read so fast and she would not even stop for any explanation. Now, that was too much! Her arguement was that since the notes were so comprehensive, she was able to follow everything. Of course, her statement smelt of flattery. I asked her a few questions, which she answered correctly. Not to be defeated by a ‘mere Meghna’, I started making more notes, so that she was not able to finish them in a day. But her speed of comprehending the notes was more than my speed of making the notes. Later some more students joined Economics class (Thank God!) and we had to slow down our speed. But Meghna was impatient with my speed. She would put her head down on the table while I was teaching. Now tell me, which teacher will tolerate this! On being reprimanded, she rattled out whatever I had taught. I was stunned. For the first time I admired that girl. Earlier, since I disliked her , I only saw or tried to look for her negative side. And now when I started admiring her, I realised she was a carefree, down to earth person. I have yet to come across a more compassionate student. Then I saw her using her charm to support her classmates in front of the teachers and the Principal. She was amazing. Always ready to help anyone who required it. She passed out school in two years and went to college. We lost touch but I always remembered her. My students in the years to come were told about her. Most of the students I taught after she passed out, know about her. She was a complete student, taking part in all the co-curricular activities and did fairly well in academics also. She was the school Head Girl for three consecutive years. Never heard of such a distinction. In her last year of schooling, the Head Boy left the school and she shouldered all the responsibilities on her own with a grin on her face. Yes, grin not smile. She is constantly grinning. And now, I find her grin soothing and contagious. After about 12 years I found her on Facebook. Thank God! Her grin is intact. She is married and happy. God bless her.
Ashish Thakare His name raised eyebrows. He also, was my Economics student, like Meghna. And the similarity ends there. Instead of grinning like Meghna, he would laugh aloud. Since he joined Junior College after passing out from an outstation school, everything in the school was new to him. He would question everything in the school and we would have arguements over several policies of school. He was staying on his own in Pune, since his father was serving in Kolhapur and so, was quite independent. He found our concern for student’s behaviour or their mannerisms as ‘interfering’. Of course later, he understood our intentions. In fact, he admitted it also. This is something, I have always appreciated in him. He is an honest and straight forward person. So much so, that once he politely refused a teacher when he was asked to tell lies. Later, he confided in me, and wanted to know, if he was right. Of course he was. Since he would have had to go against his principles to oblige the teacher. It is amazing, that he was clear about his principles and goals since the time, he came into class 9. He wanted to be an IAS officer. And going towards his goal, he chose Humanities, even when the students were shying away from this stream of subjects. In Economics class, we would often land up debating. Neither of us wanted to give up. He thought, he was learning from me. Little did he know, that I was learning from him. It is very rare, that the students come out with their views and have healthy discussion/debate with teachers.
O yes! like Meghna, he is also available to anyone, anytime if one requires help. Unlike Meghna, we never lost touch. He was there to help me (even my famiy) whenever help was required. He reminds one, of those शिष्य one would find in गुरु-शिष्य परंपरा .
After graduation, he got down to serious preparation for his UPSC Examination. In the meanwhile, he took up teaching. I am sure his students found him as amazing as I did.
Now, I shall tell why this post now! One fine day, early in the morning I read about UPSC results in the newspaper. I decided to call him up later. As I sat checking my mail, I went on Facebook, and saw his status!!!! I was thrilled. I immediately updated my status with the thrilling news, that he had secured 98th position in UPSC Examination and called him to congratulate. As humble as he is, he gave credit to his teachers.
I am sure, he will remain as humble and as honest as he is today. Today’s students (not that he is old) can learn perseverance, determination self control and so on from him. I feel lucky as well as honoured that he has been my student.
This post is dedicated to Ashish Thakare’s success. May God always be on his side. I wish him success in life, in whatever he does and where ever he goes.