Friday, September 5, 2008

For Ma'am, on Teachers' Day

It has been thirty-one years since I left college. I'm one of the lucky few who has had a teacher who has been more than a friend, philosopher and guide, a teacher who has truly made a difference to my life.
The day of our orientation programme, when other teachers were telling us about how great an institution we were in and how fortunate we were to be part of it, Ma'am had a unique point of view. She just emphasised that our college had a wonderful location, with art galleries and theatres within an easy walking radius, and how enriching it would be for us to visit these marvellous places.
Although she taught post-graduate courses, she would always find the time to guide a fledgling, first year debater. She has this amazing ability to be genuinely interested in everything. Her friends come from all walks of life. Ma'am is one of the most large-hearted and inclusive people I've ever known.
Her classes were challenging, requiring your entire, unwavering attention. If, for some reason, like a heavy downpour, attendance was thin, she would take class for the benefit of those who had come. I see her with a colourful parasol, making her way through the puddles, a veritable peacock romancing the rain. Her passion for music has been infectious. Steaming coffee and the sounds of a maestro's recording in her apartment, a privilege indeed.
Academic excellence, integrity, a kind heart. Words just cannot say it all. A total commitment to her students. Sensible guidance in matters of the heart. A terrific photographer, good enough to exhibit. A way with words- she uses them with both precision and poetry, as required!
Her distinguished career continues years after her official retirement. She is still an intrepid traveller, with friends and students all over the globe. I cannot use the term 'former student', because I think we are all still learning from her.

She has been part of my family since its inception- approving of the SRE when he travelled in a truck to meet her, because of a public transport strike the day she was near his town.
She was the photographer at our wedding. She has been a most encouraging grandmother to all my children. It has been such a privilege and joy having her stay with us. Meeting her family has been wonderful, too. From Ma'am I have learned that age is just a state of mind. Her thinking is unhampered by chronology or any kind of negative mind set. Her clarity of thought has been a boon to many: she can cut through all the surrounding irrelevancies and get to the heart of the matter. This is one single quality which makes her advice and guidance invaluable. She has been a tower of strength in times of crisis.

Ma'am, these words are inadequate and cannot convey a fraction of what you mean to me.
There is still so much I need to learn from you.
This Teachers' Day, I want to thank you for being my teacher, for being part of my life.


Space Bar said...

is she the teacher i met?

Anonymous said...

Of all the people in the blogosphere, Dipali, I knew you'd be the one to do a Teacher post. :0) You have that kind of grateful heart. I hope everyone's been blessed with at least one teacher who has touched their lives positively and strive to be that teacher for my children.

Banno said...

Lucky you. I had a wonderful teacher in school too who impacted my life in so many ways for years. Unfortunately she passed away at a relatively young age.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

What a touching tribute! Your love for your Ma'am just comes shining through!

You are one of the lucky ones!

Anonymous said...

You're fortunate to have had such a wonderful friend, philosopher and guide in your teacher

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

This was such a wonderful post. Very inspiring...

Mampi said...

Now that is what a teacher should be, her impact is visible all through your life.
Wonderful tribute to someone who has dedicated her life to teaching.

Anonymous said...

this is one of the sweetest teacher's day post i ever read.:)

Sukhaloka said...

Gah, it's Teachers' Day! Must call up my class 9-10 class teacher.
Beautiful post, Dips :)

Rohini said...

That's the one thing I missed out on. Never stayed in any school for more than three years a a stretch so my teachers are mostly a blur.... :(

dipali said...

@space bar: Yes!
@orangejammies:You will, OJ.I know how committed you are to all the kids you teach.
@banno: I had some pretty good teachers in school. But Ma'am is special! Sorry to hear that your special teacher is no more.
@mamma mia!me a mamma?: Thank you.
@phoenixritu: I am truly blessed, I know!
@kbpm: Thanks. I bet you're a great teacher- have to find some of your students now!
@mampi: Thanks.
@churningthewordmill: Thanks!
@suki: Thanks. Did you call your teacher?
@rohini: You know, even though I was reasonably happy in school and had some good teachers, I think I actually found myself in college.
That's probably why I was so receptive to Ma'am's amazing influence.

Savani said...

I am envying you here. You are have been blessed to have a teacher like her (and I must say, she has been very fortunate to have a student like you). Wish there were more such teachers around, who truly made a difference!

Neera said...

Wow! To have such a great teacher as close as family. Knowing you, I have no doubt she cherishes you as much as u cherish her

Mystic Margarita said...

Such a beautiful post and personal tribute to a wonderful teacher! You are lucky to come across someone like her :)

bird's eye view said...

Lovely post. and yes, the 'inspirational' teachers we meet teach us so much more than just their subject.