Milestones play a very vital role in our journey, they show us the distance and the route and you confidently surge ahead caring little about the milestone that showed us the road. They remain there, static and patient, guiding other fellow travellers the road ahead. The comparison with these milestones came to my mind today when i was invited to deliver a talk on the eve of teachers day.
Our teachers too, are like our milestones, right from the days of tentativeness in our kindergarten age to the days of our youth these teachers are with us, but how do we care for them? Teachers just like milestones remain there and see their wards grow from a child to a man, a responsible man. Many teachers claim with sense of pride the fact that the kids whom they tutored are now doctors, engineers and scientists of repute, only to end up with a tinge of hurt that they remained.. the same old teacher.
Whenever i remember teachers i am able to stretch my memories till 1979, when i got admitted in the junior kg at St.Xaviers High School. That first day in my school, the teacher, i am unable to recall her name, was an old Christian lady, full of love, she cared a lot and treated me with very care, i was her favorite kid and she always pampered me. She was one who comforted me and i could adjust myself from a very conservative marathi background to a top convent school.
Another teacher, whom i can just never forget was our lovable and affable Vasant Kelkar Sir, We all used to call him Vashya, now grown up kids we were, I was a favorite kid of Kelkar Sir and he gave me a “guru mantra” which i find to be very correct and effective even after 15 years after my academic career. He said in plain marathi, that “you choose any vocation, even that of a sweeper, no matter, but ensure that whatever you do, you be number one, for nobody cares or remembers number two”.. how true Sir was, my efforts since that day were always in that direction, and i am proud that I am able to implement what Sir expected from me..
Another teacher whom i remember, obviously not for all that good reasons was our class teacher in our College. Her name was Mrs.Natarajan (every collegian termed her as “Nattu”). She was a no-nonsense, serious lady, may be she had forgotten to laugh for years, for during those two years of my Junior College, I never saw her split into a laughter or even a wry smile. But she meant business and was always strict for the good of the students. She rarely remembered Students name but never forgot their roll number. She used to teach us Book Keeping & Accountancy and Roll number 337 (that was mine) was one pet number she used to call often to solve the problems or to fire on things i did or did not do. Such was the impact of her fear on me that till my graduation, i found it difficult to tally even a single balance sheet !!!
Teaching, we call a noble profession, but unlike other ‘noble’ profession like doctor for example, a teacher’s earning is meagre, notwithstanding current pay hike after VIth Pay Commission. For teachers are the potters who shape a man out of a child and give him a direction to fight the battles ahead. Teachers are always blamed for not teaching properly in schools and taking tuitions. Some teachers also indulge in some other malpractices. But the entire fraternity should not be blamed for vices of fewer people. I remember in 1982 when i was in my Second Standard there used to be a teacher who frequently used to complain about my weaknesses in grasping, used to scare my parents, and mom in particular that I would fail, she had an easy solution ready, she used to tell my parents to send me for tuition in the evening at her place. No, my parents did not oblige, nor did i fail, i passed with flying colors and stood second or third that year.
Very few institutions in our country are responsible for whatever good that is being seen. Our Army, Our Judiciary and my be Our Teachers are some of these Institutions. All other professions get good respect and remunerations, but only for our teachers though.. for afterall they are treated as a cornerstone of a milestone only to be forgotten after reaching the destination. Isnt It?