Teachers’ Day Special!

It’s been a looooong while since my last post, and the half-dozen faithful readers of this blog have long since given up on me, but Gautham Shenoy wanted me to write a blog post remembering my most memorable encounter with a teacher. (A true incident, somewhat on the lines of what is narrated brilliantly here.) I decided to randomly designate it a Teachers’ Day Special post.

I am about to narrate to you my encounter with my Botany teacher, Mr. R, in Standard 12 (or was it Standard 11?—I forget!), regarding my quarterly examination marks (or was it a “monthly test”?—I forget!) all those years ago (21 or 22?—I forget!). In the memorable words of the Biscuit,

it’s a long story and reflects a good deal of discredit on some of the parties concerned.

On with it! It was yet another typical day in Mr. R’s exemplary teaching career. He had graded the exam papers on time (this is already much more than I can claim for myself as a teacher). Priding himself on a job well done, he handed it out to the students, told them to Summa irungada! (“Keep quiet!”), sat in his chair, and dozed off. (I can hear you say “Let’s get to the nub of the matter I say! How much did you score?” Patience! We’ll get there in a while. After all, I’ve promised that there is a good deal of discredit, and I don’t plan to disappoint you!)

Only to be rudely awakened by incessant chatter in my neighborhood! He woke up, caught sight of me, and said “What rot is all this, I say? Hey you, get up!” Of course nobody got up, neither me (because I was innocent) nor anyone else (because they were smart). At which point he decided do give decency the go-by and name names! “Dei kannaadi! Ezhundhiruda!” (roughly: “Hey you bespectacled nincompoop! Get up!”). I had no option but to stand up, burning with righteous indignation!

Ennada side la thirumbi pechu!” (“What’s with all this talk turning sideways?”) Why is it significant that it was “sideways”? Point to ponder!

Me: …

Peru ennada?” (“Name?”)

“Suresh sir”

Ennada roll number?

I was resigned to whatever terrible fate awaited me now. I told him, mechanically.

Now we arrive at the climactic moment in the whole episode. He wanted to totally spring a surprise on me, so without letting on anything to anyone in the class, but wearing a triumphant look on his face (in addition to the silly smirk), he took out his pen with great deliberation, unscrewed it and poised it carefully over his notepad. It was plain as daylight to all of us that I was going to be penalized for chatting in class by getting my marks reduced. Sympathetic glances directed themselves at me from all corners. But I was already resigned, as I said, and decided to stoically take it on my chin. Mr. R was about to utterly crush me!

Providence struck! By some quirk, he chose to pose the next question. “Evvaloda markku?” (“How many have you scored?”). I remember thinking to myself what on earth he needed to know that for. Perhaps he was the kind to let people off if their academic performance was good?

Me: “Zero sir!”

Mr. R: …

He exploded with impotent rage! “What!!! You’ve scored zero. And you see it fit to turn sideways and talk! Useless idiot! Go and do research on how you got the zero! Maybe you’ll get a PhD!”

There ended the episode. And look where I am now!

I’ve always felt for the past eight years that I should go meet him when I visit my hometown, but have never gotten around to doing it. Don’t know where he is, or how he is, but I do hope he is doing quite fine wherever he is! After all, even in his wrath he said something good to me, and it came out almost as a blessing!

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