I remember the first day she entered the class—her long saree rippling behind her, her face lively and utter pleasantness etched on her face…ah, you should have seen her then. She looked like the teacher. Meera mam—lovely memories of my best school year cloud my mind when I speak of her. That was in fifth standard, and I still haven’t forgotten her. Obviously, we don’t forget our best teachers. There was initial reluctance, you see—she was new, and she taught boring science, and she was our class teacher. No one knew her, and everyone thought ‘new’ teacher meant an outsider. But her winning smile and her passion for teaching won us over. She was something apart from a teacher—she was someone who understood. She was someone who taught the joy of sharing, of the values of friendship….she was different, and all of us loved her.
Meera Mam had strange ways. For example, if you didn’t finish your lunch, she would sit with you, with your spoon in her hand, and feed you the old curd rice your mom had packed!
“You should not waste what your parents send you,” she used to say. Now, if Meera Mam fed you, she would do it in front of the entire class, and it was something of an embarrassment to be fed, so we used to finish our entire lunch. That was a clever plan of hers, so ingeniously designed, yet so simple.
Did I mention she had the greatest handwriting on earth? I have tried to imitate her long slender l’s and curvy g’s but it was never possible to get it right. I remember one day when she was particularly strained, and she arrived to class quite late and started off on something. Now, the backbenches were creating quite a racket, yelling and shouting and she repeatedly asked them to stop. I was a backbencher then too---but I was the meekest girl in class, you wouldn’t find me talking for anything. Finally, Meera mam decided to punish us.
“The last two benches will stand up and remain standing until the end of the period.”
Others obliged quite cheerfully, but I was shocked. I had never been punished before—I was the perfect student. I stood up on wobbly legs, tears clouding my eyes—I had not talked, I had not done anything wrong.
“Keep quiet, Lakshmi, don’t be such a cry-baby,” Sharanya jabbed me, which made me cry further. By then, Meera Mam was staring at me, “ It’s all right, dear. That was my mistake. You haven’t done anything wrong, you can sit down.”
I sat down gratefully, I remember how regretful Meera Mam seemed that day.
Two years later, Meera Mam left school to care for her newly adopted son. I just felt like I should dedicate this blog to her on teacher’s day, to my best teacher. To meera mam with love. …
And if there are any teachers here today, I would like to wish them a Happy Teacher’s Day too, including my mom. My mom is a commerce lecturer, and although I have heard she is one of the greatest teachers at PES, I don’t really know how she teaches, I have never attended her class, sometimes I wish I could. But at home, mom has been a great teacher, tenderly teaching life-lessons, and I realize I ought not to be angry with her, for her lessons will ultimately help me in life.
(I would like it if some of you could talk of your favorite teachers—teachers day, after all is for honoring and respecting them)