"TEACHING IS THE GREATEST ACT OF OPTIMISM " -Colleen Wilcox
Samod village, Chomu Tehsil, Jaipur district, Rajasthan, 2008.
Tears rolled down her cheeks, the little girl had just been denied an admission to the next class, by the only school in the village. The teacher stood there all alone and disappointed, knowing well that she did not have the means to help her.
THE FIRST DAY:
The first schooling day in India, in June 2020 is etched in living memory forever, the Covid - 19 pandemic had gripped the world in its throes. The students witnessed something revolutionary, teaching had commenced “On-Line”.
Amidst chaos, with an internet connection amiss, facing network connectivity issues, the mouse misbehaving, the camera not being in synch, with coming to terms with voice and sound, to the loss of emotional connect between teachers and students in a class room and finally grappling with electricity outages the teachers, despite all such gigantic odds never gave up or gave in.
The true spirt of teaching in all its vibrancy and glory was a sight to watch for all the connoisseurs. On-line schooling had arrived in India, the teachers had created history.
It goes without saying that, other than its parent, a child looks for an emotional connect elsewhere. As the child steps out to face the world, the very first person a child develops an emotional quotient with, is his or her teacher.
In a crowded market place, be assured, more often than not, one comes across shouts of “Miss, Miss, here miss, it’s me miss, and scenes of children dragging their parents towards their teacher. It is a wonderful sight to witness, and people around are happy to participate in the innocent child’s happiness. It is amazing to find children recognising their teachers at a longer distance. This relationship, between a student and a teacher is magical and certainly rewarding.
While at school, as children get promoted from one grade to the other, first and foremost among other things, a student is always eager to know who the next class teacher is, or which teacher has been assigned to a subject. This element of excitement was there during the time of our forefathers, during our parent’s time, during our time and continues to be in its element even to this day.
Chirapatla village, Chicholi Tehsil, Betul district, Madhya Pradesh, 2018.
The soft- spoken history teacher had an uncanny sense, the students of the 12th grade class, sat in rapt attention as he taught them about the Vedic Era. The students got involved in the subject in such a way that, the teacher’s inner vision proved to be a God given gift.
Day in and day out, he methodically negotiated obstacles with a stick in his hand.
He epitomised the adage that nothing is impossible if one is determined.
The teacher had triumphed over his greatest challenge against all odds, to mentor his students. Some of his students had gone ahead and joined the civil services too.
The teacher had lost his vision at the age of 19. He had cracked the preliminary examination of the Indian Administrative Services, and he intended to take up coaching for the main examination, but a coaching centre denied him an admission.
His eyes had given way, and he turned blind, he was however blessed with the three D’s, his dedication, discipline and determination helped him achieve the goal of teaching.
The people of Chirapatla, Chicholi and Betul continue to remember their teacher to this day, who is fondly called by the name Manoj Parmar.
Madanpur khadar Village, an hour away from Delhi, 1993.
The couple had just retired, a visit to Madanpur village was destined to change their lives for ever.
They had brought some biscuits for the boisterous children who were running about the village. This was when one woman complained “giving them to eat is all very well, but what you should do is teach them how to get their own food.”
The words stuck in the couple’s thoughts, and Guldasta was born. The school commenced with five students and one teacher on a bright sunny day in 1993.
However, the teacher left the village, and the couple decided to bring the students to Sarita Vihar, New Delhi.
The couple continued to focus on teaching the under privileged children of the society with the help of donations from friends and family, since education and all other services were provided to their students free of cost.
Guldasta School, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, June 2021
The Octogenarian goes about doing her daily chores. She still continues to learn and laugh and live every moment in exuberance.
Professor Hari Mohan Kaul’s presence is always felt around as Mrs. Vimla Kaul continues to nurture Guldasta, to this very da
Many years after schooling, having come thus far experiencing the vicissitudes of life, one always reminisces about many things, but the most common recollection across the world is the emotional quotient that one has had with the teachers.
So much is said, and so much is left un-said, so much is achieved, and so much is not, so much is gained and so much is lost, in so much of joy and in so much of sorrow, in so much of success and in so much of failure, each one of us in this world always remember our teachers at some point or the other as time goes by.
There is nothing which is perfect in this world, nothing will ever be, but what a teacher brings is a change for the better, a learning cure for progress, a nourishment for talent, striving towards the goal of educating, to create a future and a vibrant world to live in.
Samod village, Chomu tehsil, Jaipur district, Rajasthan, 6th day of June, 2021.
The bespectacled lady, could not recognise the person who had just walked in. A young girl had come to visit her, all the way from Alandur, Chennai.
“Remember me?” I am Vidya she said.
The young girl said, “You were my teacher, it was your dream to impart education to me by the means of a cell phone, years ago. Since you couldn’t arrange for two cell phones, due to the scarcity of means, since the only school in our village could not admit me in the next grade as a student, you arranged for my schooling in Chomu.
I am glad to inform you that I passed out of the Officers Training Academy, and I have joined the Indian army as a short service commissioned officer.
The teacher expressed joy and hugged Vidya, both of them shared a little banter.
Vidya brought out a gift-wrapped box and said “You were my teacher, you will always continue to be my teacher, this gift in essence, reflects what you really are, it is my tribute to you, I will be more than glad if you will accept it.”
The short service commissioned officer bid goodbye, and the teacher opened the gift box, after she had left. It was a plaque with a few words written on it.
She read it out aloud,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Shri Gurudeva Datta!
Chai, Biscuits & Blog.
Sunday, 6th day of June 2021