Saturday, September 5, 2009

To Sir with love.

Today is the teachers day. Wonder how many people remember that? Wouldn’t blame them though. Now we almost celebrate everyone’s day.

But push your valentine for a moment and give this soul some space.

The teacher leaves behind an indelible mark on us. ask me!I can slide my hand inside my pant and feel. The marks are no longer there. but I can still feel the pain!

We belong to the era when it was not fashionable to spare the rod.

Each teacher had his own school of thought. But they all agreed on one point. The only way these brats could be disciplined was by being generous with the cane.

Well all teachers weren’t so predictable. Some were quite innovative.

Some progressive and technologically advanced believed in missiles. My Maths teacher used to throw duster if he heard even a whisper from any direction. The students soon became adept in ducking. Some became good catchers too. Wish our cricket players had such teachers!

I did my initial schooling from St.Johns’. The father there was an environmentalist. He didn’t believe in tampering with nature. So the use of scale or duster was kind of anathema to him. He had , what then was called a ‘tappu’ a long swinging bulbous weapon which he tapped on the head leaving the victim teary eyed. Mother nature was a cohort too.

Then there was one sadist. He used to insert a pencil between two fingers and give the fingers a squeeze. The shrieks of the hapless student were enough to scare the day lights of the other students. No wonder, his assignments were always submitted on time.

I remember a pretty teacher who unfortunately had to teach our class as her first assignment. Bad luck for her. It was the most notorious class. She was a very sweet and kind hearted lady. Maybe she was warned in the teachers’ room to carry a scale.

But when the time came to use it, her hands faltered. She gave a kiss of the scale on one of our class mate’s hands leaving the class rolling on the floor. Soon this news spread in the school. Today I can imagine the torment she must have gone through. For once even our Principal couldn’t hide his smirk when he came to our class to advise us.

If someone thinks that these teachers were the watered version of Atilla the hun, you have another think coming. They were the most kind hearted and dedicated people I have ever seen. I can say they did a very good job. If there are some lacuna, the fault is totally ours.

I remember how when I had to return to my old school mid term and the new principal refused to accept my application asking me to return in the next year, my chemistry , English and biology teacher went in a delegation and convinced him. To top it, my chemistry teacher even got me scholarship so I didn’t pay any fees for the last two years of my school. Teachers , I bow my head.

I was away from home for my last two years of school. I was almost adopted by the teachers there. They were my parents, my guides my everything. Much to my embarrassment, the home science teacher often brought lunch for me and made me sit and eat in the teachers room. I used to shudder because it used to be followed by a lot of ragging from my class mates. Sissy boy!

I once met my vice principal after a span of almost ten years in a book store while I was buying books for my nephew. As I bent down and touched his feet , he was visibly moved. He wanted to say a lot, but just a few tears rolled. I too drove back home misty eyed.

The exigency of work , the pressures of modern life and sheer laziness; I have practically lost touch with my class mates. We didn’t have the benefit of internet then. No emails. It was still old fashioned post cards. We weren’t different than the youngsters of today. We never wrote to each other.

One old friend somehow reached me after almost twenty years! the first thing he shared was that our Physics teacher came to attend his wedding and he was the most important guest for him.

Immediately after my mother’s death, my sister was unable to teach her students. I taught them for a month. When I was leaving for USA, a shy teenager came and presented me a clock. It had four simple words. “ To Sir with love.”

That was the best gift anyone had ever given me. even today it sits proudly on my table.

I can never claim that I was as good a teacher as my teachers. But it still felt good.

Wish I could roll back the time and do the same for my teachers too. Tell them that our wickedness didn’t mean a thing and that you were the best thing that happened to us.

Alas! His clock has only one direction. It only moves forward.

All I can do is rub my seat and remember the indelible mark they left.

Teachers ! You are priceless. May you live long!

(Yes I know the Title says Sir but doris day looked so pretty.couldn't resist!)


  1. such a sweet touching post sudhir..taking us slowly from light humour to serious sentiments...
    students like u would be any teacher's pride yaar...u don't need to tell them a thing...i'm sure they knew...
    really enjoyed the read...
    made me smile:)))

  2. Thanks Suruchi. I am glad you enjoyed it. hope some of my teachers read it too. thanks very much indeed.